Hinoki Cypress Bonsai Information


The Hinoki cypress (chamaecyparis) is also known as the false cypress. It is a cone-shaped evergreen conifer with fernlike branches, and is the smallest of all cypress trees, making it a reasonable size for bonsai trees. When grown in the wild, it can grow as high as 75 feet, but when grown as a bonsai, it only reaches 10 to 12 inches. The Hinoki cypress works as a bonsai tree, but due to the foliage is challenging to shape.

Sun and Temperature

The Hinoki cypress thrives in warm climates. It require full sun, except in extremely hot climates. If sun is inadequate, the branches at the bottom and inner branches of the tree will turn brown and die. This tree is hardy and though it doesn't thrive, it can survive in all but cold and windy conditions. It should be protected from frost and shielded from direct heat if grown indoors.


As is true with most cypresses, the Hinoki cypress is susceptible to root rot. The tricky thing is that the plant requires a lot of water, yet if the roots stand in water, root rot occurs. To provide adequate water without the roots rotting, water in the morning or early afternoon so the water drains before nightfall. Planting in soil that drains well and misting the plant with water in between regular watering ensures that the plant gets enough water without the roots standing in water.


Between early spring and the middle of autumn, feed the Hinoki cypress every other week. The soil should be lime free; therefore, Miracid is an acceptable option. Feeding the plan 1 tsp. of Epsom salts added to 1 gallon of water once every three months provides a reliable source of magnesium. The magnesium turns the foliage a pleasant blue color.


The Hinoki cypress is a fast-growing tree. Young trees need to be repotted every two to four years. Older ones need to be repotted every three to five years. Early to midspring is the ideal time to repot a Hinoki cypress. A rich soil mix should be used for repotting, especially if located in an intensely hot region. Remove between one-third and one-half the root mass when repotting. Pots that are too large should be avoided since the plant is prone to root rot and the soil may not drain as well if the pot is too large.

Wiring and Pruning

The Hinoki cypress can be wired any time of the year, but since wiring saps the tree of energy, it is best to wait three months after repotting before wiring. Since it takes time for the branches to solidify in a specific shape, the plant may need to be rewired several times to prevent the wires from cutting into the tree. It will not bud on old wood, so it's essential to prune the tree frequently by pinching off new foliage.

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About this Author

Rebecca Moore has been a writer since 1994. She has been published on Associated Content, Suite101, eHow and numerous print magazines. Moore attended Living Word Bible College and Leeward Community College. Moore enjoys spending time at garden shops and botanical gardens and experimenting with hydroponics and square foot gardening.