Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Chamaecyparis pisifera (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)
Chamaecyparis pisifera (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)

Click to Enlarge

Zone
Zones A3, 2B, 3-6, 15-17, 32, 34, 39
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Chamaecyparis pisifera

Sawara False Cypress
Cupressaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees

CHAMAECYPARIS

Conifers ranging from rock garden shrublets to timber trees. Sometimes mistaken for arborvitae (Thuja), but arborvitae’s leaves are entirely green, while false cypresses have white lines on leaf undersides. Most have two distinct types of foliage: juvenile and mature. Juvenile leaves are short, needlelike, soft but often prickly; they appear on young plants and some new growth of larger trees. Mature foliage consists of tiny, scalelike, overlapping leaves. Cones are small and round.

All of the many varieties sold are forms of five species—two from the western U.S., two from Japan, one from the eastern U.S. New varieties appear each year, while older ones lose market share. Mislabeling is common, since many of these plants closely resemble one another. Numerous dwarf and variegated kinds are available, providing a rich array of choices for bonsai and rock gardens.

Pinch out or cut back tips of new growth to control size and shape; don’t cut back into old, leafless wood. All types, including trees, can be sheared into hedges. All need good drainage and protection from wind.

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Cyano-Viridis’ (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Cyano-Viridis’ (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

Click to Enlarge

Chamaecyparis pisifera

Japanese native to 20–30 ft., rarely seen except in its garden varieties. Silvery blue-green ‘Cyano-Viridis’ (‘Boulevard’) is a dense, slow-growing bush to 6–8 ft. tall and wide. ‘Filifera’, a dense mound to 8 ft., has drooping, threadlike branchlets; ‘Filifera Aurea’ has similar branchlets in yellow. ‘Mops’ has threadlike branchlets, forms a 1–2-ft. mound.

You Might Also Like...

Chamaecyparis pisifera

Japanese native to 20–30 ft., rarely seen except in its garden varieties. Silvery blue-green &ls...

Primula japonica

Grows to 2 1/2 ft. high and 1 1/2 ft. wide. Spoon-shaped, light green leaves to 9 in. long. ...

Galium odoratum

Native to Europe, North Africa, and Siberia. Attractive low spreader that brings to mind deep, shady w...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More

Advertisement