Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in part shade. Prefers moist, fertile soils. Avoid wet, poorly-drained soils. Shelter from strong winds. Pruning is rarely needed.
Chamaecyparis pisifera, commonly known as Sawara cypress, is a large, pyramidal, evergreen conifer that grows in the wild to 50-70’ (infrequently to 150') tall with a trunk diameter to 5'. In cultivation, it more typically matures to a much smaller 20-30' tall. It is naive to the Japanese islands of Honshu and Kyushu. Fine-textured medium green needles are tinted white beneath. Cones are small (1/4" across) and ornamentally insignificant, appearing glaucous green during summer before turning black-brown when ripe. Reddish brown bark peels in strips. Species plants are rarely sold in commerce, but a large number of more compact cultivars including some dwarfs are available for purchase.
Genus name comes from the Greek words chamai meaning low growing and kyparissos meaing cypress in reference to the botanical relationship and growth habit of some genus members.
Specific epithet comes from the Latin word pissum meaing pea and ferre meaing to bear in reference to the very small rounded cones.
Three well known forms of C. pisifera are: (1) C. pisifera f. filifera (threadbranch sawara cypress featuring drooping, whip or cord-like branches covered primarily with scale-like adult leaves), (2) C. pisifera f. plumosa (plume sawara cypress featuring feathery, airy and ferny branches covered with part adult/part juvenile leaves) and (3) C. pisifera f. squarrosa (moss sawara cypress featuring branches with soft, needle-like juvenile leaves).
‘Tsukumo’ is an extremely slow-growing, globose, dwarf shrub that typically grows to only 10” tall over the first 20 years. Plant habit is that of an irregular flat-topped bun. Fine-textured medium green needles are tinted blue beneath.
No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to juniper blight, root rot and certain insect pests such as bagworms.
Rock gardens, foundation plantings or other small areas. Good bonsai plant.