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Cunninghamia lanceolata (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Cunninghamia lanceolata (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Zones 4-6, 14-21
Full Sun
Regular Water

Cunninghamia lanceolata

China Fir
Evergreen, Trees

This picturesque conifer from China has a heavy trunk; stout, whorled branches; and drooping branchlets. It grows at a moderate rate to 30 ft. tall with a 20-ft. spread. Stiff, needlelike, sharp-pointed leaves are 1 1/2–2 1/2 in. long, green above and whitish beneath. Its brown, 1–2-in. cones are interesting but not profuse. Among the palest of needled evergreens in spring and summer, China fir turns red-bronze in cold winters. ‘Glauca’, with striking gray-blue foliage, is more widely grown and hardier than the species. The dwarf ‘Little Leo’ slowly forms a flattened mound of bright green foliage that turns bronze to purple in winter.

Needs protection from hot, dry wind in summer and cold wind in winter. Becomes less attractive as it ages. Prune out dead branchlets.

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