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 Bonsai >> Tree Types and General Care Guides >> HINOKI CYPRESS (Chamaecyparis sp.)




 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.

Proper Care

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 brown.

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.

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