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CRYPTOMERIA japonica 'Ben Franklin'

Image of Cryptomeria japonica 'Ben Franklin'

James Burghardt

Family

Cupressaceae

Botanical Name

CRYPTOMERIA japonica 'Ben Franklin'

Plant Common Name

Ben Franklin Japanese Cedar, Japanese Cryptomeria

General Description

The vigorous Japanese cedar, 'Ben Franklin', is a fast-growing evergreen tree with needles of bluish green. Unlike other selections, it retains its green color through winter. This cultivar is a large tree but still smaller than wild-type forms.

The coarse, spirally arranged needles of this Japanese cedar are green dusted with blue-gray. Its clusters of small male, or pollen, cones are borne along the axils of the second year branchlet tips and pendulous reddish brown female, or seed, cones are borne singly along the branch tips. The pretty exfoliating reddish brown bark is most conspicuous on the trunks of older trees but typically obscured by the dense canopy of younger specimens.

Japanese cedar tolerates most well-drained, slightly acid, fertile soils and prefers full sun but will withstand partial shade. This is not a tree for dry or windy spots. When subjected to these stresses specimens look puny and spindly. Large forms such as this are excellent evergreens for large-scale screening or massing. Fungal blight is a common disease problem that can cause branch dieback.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 4

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    30'-40' / 9.1m - 12.2m

  • Width

    14'-18' / 4.3m - 5.5m

  • Native To

    China, Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Bronze

  • Bark Color

    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

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No