HINOKI CYPRESS (Chamaecyparis sp.)
Also known as, the False Cypress, this evergreen conifer displays flat, deep
green foliage that fans out beautifully. The edges of the leaves have blue
coloring and the tree when mature will produce miniature cones, typically the
size of a pea.
The smallest of all cypress, this tree makes a great choice for bonsai growers,
reaching heights between 10 and 12 inches. However, when grown in the wild, the
cypress can easily reach upwards to 75 feet! Keep in mind that this type of tree
has foliage that can be challenging for bonsai but not impossible.
The Hinoki Cypress loves full sun with warm climates. If this bonsai is not
provided adequate sun, the lower and inner branches with turn brown and
eventually die. As a hardy tree, the Hinoki Cypress does well in most
conditions, with the exception of cold, drying winds. You also want to provide
good protection from frost or direct heat sources when grown indoors.
For watering, the Hinoki Cypress is vulnerable to root rot, along with most
Cypress species. The challenge is that this tree needs a lot of water,
especially during an active growth season. Therefore, make sure the soil never
dries out but that it is also never waterlogged. To supplement the ongoing need
for water, you can mist the foliage, allowing it to dry between watering. Most
bonsai professionals recommend the Hinoki Cypress be watered in the morning to
early afternoon, thus allowing the tree to stand in the water overnight, which
seems to be the best solution.
The Hinoki Cypress needs to be fed biweekly from early spring to mid fall. Be
sure to use soil without lime. If necessary, you can add one teaspoon of Epsom
salts to the water every three months to provide the foliate needed magnesium.
The result will be vibrant blue foliate. For pruning, again with the fan-like
foliate and rapid growth, this becomes somewhat of a challenge. Therefore, you
will need to constantly, reshape the tree by pinching off any new foliage.
Always use your hands, never scissors, which will cause the foliage to turn
As far as wiring, the Hinoki Cypress is generally easy to work with. Just
remember that it usually takes some time for the branches to set. Because of
this, you will likely have to rewire more than once to avoid cutting deep into
the tree. You can wire the Hinoki Cypress throughout the year but a common
problem is wiring takes the energy out of the tree. Therefore, wait about three
to four months to report after you have wired the tree.
To repot your Hinoki Cypress bonsai, this should be done every three to four
years in mid spring for younger trees and then three to five years for the
mature trees. When repotting, choose a richer mix if you grow your bonsai in a
hot region, which will help keep the soil from drying out.
Now, since this tree is fast growing it is possible that you might need to repot
every other year, often removing about one-third to one-half the root mass. You
will need to determine the repotting schedule based on your specific tree. In
any case, make sure the container used is not too big, which would cause
problems with the soil remaining too wet.
The Hinoki Cypress can have problems with juniper scale. However, a good,
organic pesticide will generally keep things under control. Another problem is
the bagworm, which will create webs in the dead foliage. Therefore, make sure
you use the right product to kill the worm and remove any dead foliage.