Content Detail

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. 

  • Family (English) Cypress
  • Family (botanic) Cupressaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
  • Foliage Evergreen (foliage year-round)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet), Small shrub (3-5 feet), Medium shrub (5-8 feet), Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Compact tree (10-15 feet), Small tree (15-25 feet), Medium tree (25-40 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter, early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Irregular, Pyramidal, Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate

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.

Plant care: 

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.


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