Hinoki-cypress is a graceful spreading tree with branches that droop at the tips. The small cones and attractive, red peeling bark add winter interest. There are a number of dwarf and compact cultivars available that add a nice accent to the garden.
Size and Form:
The species is a 50 to 75 feet high and 10 to 20 feet wide tree with a pyramidal form. Cultivars vary in shape and size.
Native geographic location and habitat:
Hinoki-cypress is native to Japan.
Bark color and texture:
The reddish-brown bark peels and sheds in narrow strips.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:
There are two distinct types of needles. Juvenile plants have scale-like needles while mature plants have flattened branchlets. The alternately arranged needles are dark green in color, with a white X-like line on the underside. The foliage is aromatic when crushed.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size:
The male and female flowers are not showy. The female flowers are located on the tips of the branches.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:
The small, rounded (globose) brown cones are on short stalks.
Unique textures and an array of foliage colors make cultivars of this species excellent accents in the garden. It does best in full sun to part shade in a sheltered area, away from high winds. It is tolerant of most soil pH, but prefers a moist, fertile soil. Avoid wet, poorly-drained soils. It may be difficult to transplant.
List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:
Hinoki-cypress has no serious problems. Root rots may occur when conditions are too wet.
Blue Feathers Hinoki-cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Blue Feathers’):
A short, narrow cultivar reaching 12 feet high and 4 feet wide with blue-green needles. It has a twisted growth habit.
Compact Hinoki-cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Compacta’):
This cultivar is 6 to 8 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide with an upright form.
Dwarf Hinoki-cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana’):
A cultivar reaching only 1 to 2 feet high and wide. It is irregularly rounded with dark green needles..
Dwarf slender Hinoki-cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’):
A 4 to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide cultivar. It has an irregular shape when young, becoming upright with age.