Larix kaempferi 'Stiff Weeping'
Common Name: Japanese larch 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 5.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Good Fall


Best grown in rich, moist, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Intolerant of full shade, dry soils and most city pollutants. Best performance is in temperature conditions that mirror its native habitat, namely, cool summers and cold winters. Plants typically do not perform well in hot and humid summers south of USDA Zone 7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Larix kaempferi, commonly called Japanese larch, is a deciduous conifer that is native to Japan. Bright green needles turn yellow in fall before falling to the ground in winter. In the wild, this larch species grows to 70-90' (less frequently to as much as 150') tall with a broad conical crown and horizontal branches. Green needles (to 1 1/2" long), each with two stomatal bands underneath, appear in brush-like clusters at the ends of spur-like shoots along the branches. Cones (to 1 1/2" long) with reflexed scales mature to brown. Bark is gray with rusty-brown inner bark. Needles turn gold in fall. Forestry tree in Japan and Europe.

Genus name is the classical name for larch trees.

Specific epithet honors Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716), German botanist and plant collector who visited Japan in the late 1600s.

'Stiff Weeping' is a small, compact tree with a strongly downwards habit. Its needles are a soft green in spring and summer, turning golden yellow before they drop in fall. ‘Stiff Weeping’ grows 5 to 6 ft. tall and 3 to 6 ft. wide but if desired, a single leader can be trained up a support to the preferred height and then allowed to weep downward.


Potential insect pests include larch case-bearer, larch sawfly, larch looper, tussock moth, Japanese beetle and woolly aphids. Potential disease problems include needle cast, needle rust and canker.


Japanese larch is a large tree that should be planted in a sunny location with plenty of growing space. Good fall color. Bonsai.

'Stiff Weeping' is a compact tree suitable for small gardens, patios and containers.