TREES & plants


Hinoki-cypress has dark green needles on graceful spreading branches that droop at the ends and attractive red peeling bark.  A number of dwarf and compact cultivars add accent in the garden.

Botanical name: 
Chamaecyparis obtusa
All Common Names: 
Hinoki-cypress, Hinoki falsecypress, Japanese cypress
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Tree
  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Growth Rate: 
  • Medium
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Occasional drought
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Size Range: 
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Pyramidal
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
Time of Year: 
  • Early winter
  • Mid winter
  • Late winter
More Information: 

Size and Form

50 to 75 feet high and 10 to 20 feet wide; pyramidal form; cultivars vary in shape and size.

Tree & Plant Care

Unique textures and array of foliage colors make cultivars of this species excellent accents in the garden.
Keep soil moist; protect from wind.

Disease, pests and problems

No serious problems

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Japan.

Bark color and texture 

Reddish-brown and sheds in narrow strips.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate,  two needle types, flattened stems, dark green in color with a white X-like line on underside.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size


Hinoki-cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa)Hinoki-cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa)photo: John Hagstrom

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small orange-brown cones, on short stalks.

Cultivars and their differences 

Compact hinoki-cypress  (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Compacta’)6 to 8 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide; upright form

Dwarf hinoki-cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana'):  1 to 2 feet high and wide; irregularly rounded, dark green

Dwarf slender hinoki-cypress  (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’): 4  to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide; irregular when young, becoming upright with age