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CHAMAECYPARIS pisifera

Image of Chamaecyparis pisifera

James H. Schutte

Family

Cupressaceae

Botanical Name

CHAMAECYPARIS pisifera

Plant Common Name

Japanese Falsecypress, Sawara Falsecypress

General Description

Japanese falsecypress is a hardy evergreen conifer best known for its legions of interesting cultivated varieties. Wild-type specimens in Japan become large trees, but most cultivated forms are far more compact and have foliage in an array of textures and colors. In fact, garden varieties have been separated into three groups that differ in their foliage textures. These include the Filifera Group, with scale-like leaves held in cascading, rope-like branchlets; the Plumosa Group, with feathery masses of soft, awl-shaped leaves; and the Squarrosa Group, with dense, mossy tufts of stiff, spreading, juniper-like needles.

The foliage of wild-type Japanese falsecypress is needle-like when plants are young and develops into flattened sprays of dark green, scale-like leaves as plants age. The needles line horizontal branches that are denser in young plants and more open in mature. Spherical, green, pea-sized cones develop in spring and turn dry and brown with age. The seasoned bark is reddish brown and peels off in strips.

Sun-loving and easy to grow, this favorite landscape plant thrives in moist, acid, organic-rich soil with good drainage. It performs best where winters and cold and summers moderate. All varieties should be protected from harsh, drying winds. Use dwarf and compact cultivars of Japanese falsecypress in foundation plantings, mixed borders, and containers, reserving larger cultivars for less restricted spaces.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A3, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Needled or Scaled Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    2'-70' / 0.6m - 21.3m

  • Width

    3'-20' / 0.9m - 6.1m

  • Native To

    Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Blue Green, Dark Green, Gold

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green, Dark Green, Gold

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Blue Green, Dark Green, Gold

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Blue Green, Dark Green, Gold

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Sienna

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

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

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No