Cryptomeria makes up the genus of both conical and evergreen trees that hail from the forests of China and Japan. Oftentimes, cryptomeria trees have a conical growth habit and red to brown bark that create a striking display. They grow best in well-drained, deep soil that is moist but tolerate a wide range of soil types. Cryptomeria makes for ideal screening and specimen trees because of their year-round and dense foliage.
The evergreen Taiwan cryptomeria (Taiwania cryptomerioides) has a medium texture and moderate growth rate. It has a conical crown with outspreading branches and grows 25 to 50 feet tall, creating a commanding landscape presence. The blue to green, ½-inch needles on Taiwan cryptomeria are triangular in shape and the cones grow ½ inch wide. Taiwan cryptomeria grows best in full sun and deep, well-drained soil. Plant Taiwan Cryptomeria in USDA Hardiness Zone 9.
Cryptomeria ‘Sekkan-sugi’ (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Sekkan-sugi’) is a conical evergreen tree that grows best in USDA zones 6 to 9. It grows over 30 feet tall and has a spread of 15 to 30 feet wide. Cryptomeria ‘Sekkan-sugi’ has a clumping growth habit and open branch structure with gracefully shaped branches that are more pendant than most cryptomeria species. (See References 2) The spring-emerging foliage on cryptomeria ‘Sekkan-sugi’ starts off as a pale shade of yellow with a herringbone pattern to turn deep green as the needles age by summer. The crinkled brown, fall-emerging, dangling cones suspend from the ends of each branch and are followed by new cones in winter. Cryptomeria ‘Sekkan-sugi’ grows best in full sun to part shade and deep soils that are slightly acidic. They require protection from high winds.
Cryptomeria ‘Black Dragon’
Cryptomeria ‘Black Dragon’ is an evergreen tree that grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9. It grows up to 12 feet tall and has a spread of 6 feet, creating an accent plant within the garden. Cryptomeria ‘Black Dragon’ has an irregular pyramidal-growth habit that is compact. The branchlets on cryptomeria ‘Black Dragon’ hold the dark green needles. As an evergreen, Cryptomeria ‘Black Dragon’ retains its foliage and color all year-round providing a burst of warmth to the landscape. Cryptomeria ‘Black Dragon’ grows best in full sun and well-drained soil.