Its pyramidal habit, loose open branching and scale-like, dark green foliage make the sawara-cypress a notable option for specimen plantings or in groups in a large landscape. Besides its remarkable foliage, this evergreen has handsome reddish-brown bark that peels off in strips and tiny, reddish-brown cones on short stalks.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Medium tree (25-40 feet)
- Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Compact tree (10-15 feet)
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Zone 8
- Acid soil
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Evergreen (foliage year-round)
- Early winter
- Mid winter
- Late winter
- Early spring
- Mid spring
- Late spring
- Early summer
- Mid summer
- Late summer
- Early fall
- Mid fall
- Late fall
Size and Form
50 to 60 feet high and 10 to 20 feet wide; pyramidal form
Cultivars vary in size and form.
Tree & Plant Care
This tree grows best when sheltered from winter winds.
Needs a humid climate.
Disease, pests and problems
This tree does not tolerate high pH.
No serious pests.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Japan.
Bark color and texture
Handsome, reddish-brown, peels off into thin strips.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate, flattened, scale-like needles on horizontal branchlets.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Tiny, 5/16 inch reddish-brown cones appear on short stalks.
Cultivars and their differences
Boulevard (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’): 12 to 15 feet high and 8 to 10 feet wide; silvery-blue foliage, narrow dwarf form.
Cream Ball (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Cream Ball’): 2 to 3 feet high and wide; rounded, compact, evergreen shrub with dense, soft, light-green foliage that occurs as flattened sprays tipped in creamy white.
Golden Mop (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’): 2 to 3 feet high and wide; low, mounded evergreen shrub with dense, soft, yellow scale-like foliage in thread-like sprays.
Golden Thread-leaved Sarawa-Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’): 15 to 20 feet high and 8 to 12 feet wide; densely mounded; golden yellow, fine-textured foliage.
Plume Sawara-Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Plumosa’): 30 to 50 feet high and 10 to 20 feet wide; pyramidal, with a soft airy texture.
Thread-leaved Sarawa-Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera’): 8 to 15 feet high and 8 to 12 feet wide; upright to mounded form; pendulous, thread-like, narrow foliage.