Tenzan Japanese CedarCryptomeria japonica 'Tenzan'
View more from Dwarf Evergreens
30 day - ARRIVE AND THRIVE™ guaranteeLearn more
Cryptomeria japonica 'Tenzan'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Tenzan Japanese Cedar is a remarkable miniature plant, and the smallest form of Japanese cedar in the world. It grows into a very dense, green mound of tiny branches and needles, just 6 inches tall and 8 inches wide after 10 years. This jewel deserves a special place – perhaps in a pocket among rocks, or in a trough or planter with other miniature bushes. You don’t even need a garden, since plants like this can be grown in window boxes and on balconies in a pot. Create a miniature garden in a tray or box, using other small plants, rocks, ornaments and gravel, perhaps to display in your Japanese courtyard.
The Tenzan Japanese Cedar should be grown in full sun, but with some shelter from the hottest sun in summer. It will grow in zone 7, and in zone 6 with a little winter protection. It grows best in moist, well-drained soil, and in pots in a mixture of one-half garden soil and one-half acid-plant potting soil, with some added sand or gravel. Although small, this plant is not very hard to grow, and it is unlikely to be bothered by pests or diseases.
Here at the Tree Center we love being able to offer the special and unique – plants of great garden value that are hard to find, but very desirable. So when we found a very limited supply of the smallest Japanese Cedar in the world, we couldn’t wait to make them available. Small perhaps, but precious, and this is the perfect plant for a trough or box of small plants, or treasured in a pot, to admire as it grows to maturity.
The Tenzan Japanese Cedar is a very rare miniature plant, which grows into a dense, tightly branched ball of branches and foliage, slightly wider than it is tall. It grows slowly, adding about ½ an inch of new growth a year. In ten years’ time it will be about 6 inches tall and 8 inches across, a glowing green gem of a plant that is absolutely adorable. The foliage is dense and compact, with short, prickly needles packed along the tiny stems. The color is dark green, with lighter leaves in spring creating a subtle transition.
This is not a plant to put out in the rough and tumble of an ordinary garden, but one to grow in a sheltered pocket of a rock garden, in a planter or trough dedicated to tiny shrubs and plants, in a special container to be admired, or perhaps grown in a dish along side bonsai plants for an Asian garden. A wonderful way to grow special plants like this is to create a window box or planter box for a collection of plants like this one. It could, for example, share the space with the Chirimen Hinoki Cypress, another jewel-like miniature form of a different Japanese tree. In a larger planter you could use the best of our slower-growing evergreens – browse our collections – and with some stones and gravel you have an enchanted miniature garden.
Grow the Tenzan Japanese Cedar in full morning sun, with some shade in the hottest parts of the day, as the needles can scorch in very hot sun. It is not quite as hardy as other Japanese cedar varieties, and it is reliably hardy in zone 7, 8 and 9. In Zone 6 it would be a relatively easy matter, if it was in a trough or pot, to give some shelter on cold winter nights, so it can also be grown in that zone, with some care. It does best in moist, well-drained soil, and in pots and planters the soil should be a blend of one-half potting soil for acid-loving plants, and one-half garden soil, with some coarse river sand added. Water only when the top ½ inch of the soil is dry, but water thoroughly when you do. Some ½-strength liquid evergreen fertilizer can be used in spring and early summer. Pests and diseases should not be problems, and patience is the secret to growing this precious plant.
It is always amazing how different a selected form of a plant can be from its wild beginnings. When we think that the Japanese Cedar (cryptomeria japonica), is a large forest tree with a straight, soaring trunk rising over 100 feet into the air, it is hard to see the connection between the tiny Kenzan Japanese Cedar, the smallest of all the special forms of this plant, and that huge tree – but connected they are. The Japanese Cedar grows in forests throughout Japan, and it is the National Tree of Japan. Its Japanese name is sugi. This sacred tree has aromatic wood, like American Cedar, and it is used in the construction of temples, and for trunks and other kinds of furniture. Special forms have been cultivated in Japan and China for centuries, and they have been making their way to the West since the 19th century.
Other forms have been found outside Japan, and the form known as ‘Tenzan’ was found in the mid-1970s at the Nelis Kools nursery in Duerne, The Netherlands. Sometimes conifers produce dense clusters of tiny branches on the stems of larger trees. These are called ‘witch’s brooms’, and it was one of these that became ‘Tenzan’. It was found growing as a dense cluster of tiny branches near the base of a young seedling tree. This smallest of all Japanese cedars is a true garden jewel, to be treasured and valued for its unique miniature form.
These slow-growing plants are difficult to propagate, because so little new growth is produced, so they are always rare and difficult to find for sale. We searched hard, and we now have a very limited stock of this plant. Its value is known to collectors and enthusiastic gardeners, and our plants will soon be gone. To have this treasure in your collection, order now.