Sawara Falsecypress

Chamaecyparis pisifera

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Plant type: conifer
USDA Zone: 4 to 8 (several cultivars are quite heat sensitive)

The species is typically a pyramidal tree that grows up to 70 feet tall and 20 feet wide, but it's the cultivars of the species — typically smaller shrubs — that mostly find their way into today's landscapes. Treated as accent plants or specimens, the cultivars come in a wide range of colors, forms and shapes, and just about all offer interesting textural elements. Give these plants a sunny location and moist, well-drained loam, preferably acidic.

Selected cultivars

'Curly Tops'. Bluish-gray foliage with a twisted look. Mature size is about five feet high and four to five feet wide.

'Filifera'. The branches are string-like and droopy and offer a soft, fine-textured effect. Usually forms a dense mound six to eight feet tall. Doesn't do well in heat, so can be problematic in Zone 8.

'Filifera Aurea'. Similar to 'Filifera' except the foliage is yellow and the height is taller (15 to 20 feet).

'Plumosa Aurea'. Fine-textured, golden-yellow foliage. Grows to 20 to 30 feet tall. Heat hardy to Zone 7b.

'Squarrosa'. Very fine-textured, grayish-green foliage. Mature size is 30 to 40 feet tall.

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