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CHAMAECYPARIS lawsoniana

Image of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

Family

Cupressaceae

Botanical Name

CHAMAECYPARIS lawsoniana

Plant Common Name

Lawson's Falsecypress, Port Orfordcedar

General Description

Elegant, flattened, fan-like sprays of foliage clothe the drooping branches of this noble evergreen conifer from the far western United States. In the wild it forms a majestic conical tree with a massive buttressed trunk and thick shredding silver-brown to red-brown bark. In gardens it is mostly known by its numerous cultivars, which come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.

The tiny, scale-like, green to blue-green leaves clasp and overlap along flexuous branchlets, forming ferny growths. The drooping sprays of foliage have white streaks underneath. Bruised leaves emit a pungent resinous odor. In summer the branches bear small, round, blue-green cones with shield-like scales. The cones ripen to orange-brown in fall, the scales splitting outwards to expel seeds.

Numerous cultivars of Lawson cypress are available. Most are compact and slow growing, suiting them for a wide variety of garden uses. Selection 'Alumii' has blue-green foliage and is tall but narrow; 'Lutea' and 'Lane' are medium-sized, columnar trees with gold foliage; and 'Gnome', 'Nana', 'Lutea Nana' and 'Minima' are dwarf.

Grow Lawson's falsecypress in full to partial sun and moist well-drained soil. It will fail in soggy or clay soil. It tolerates cold winters and dislikes hot parched conditions. Full-sized Lawson cypress is striking as a specimen in a broad lawn, or grouped as a grove or hedge. Cultivars work well in many settings including foundation plantings, shrub borders, and containers. This tree also makes a wonderful bonsai plant.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A3, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Needled or Scaled Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    40'-65' / 12.2m - 19.8m (60)

  • Width

    10'-20' / 3.0m - 6.1m

  • Native To

    Northwestern United States, California

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Brown, Sienna

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Sienna

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Rock Garden / Wall, Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No