Virtues: Hinoki falsecypress is an evergreen shrub that adds fine texture to the garden all year. Several excellent dwarf and gold-foliage varieties exist, and these bring an extra burst of color to beds and borders.
Common name: Hinoki cypress, hinoki falsecypress
Botanical name:Chamaecyparis obtusa
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Season: All year long, for foliage
Foliage: Threadlike leaves are held in a fanlike arrangement. Color ranges from dark green to bright gold, depending on the variety. Favorite gold falsecypress include ‘Butter Ball’ (2 feet tall and wide); ‘Crippsii’ (10 feet tall, 4 feet wide); ‘Nana Lutea’ (5 feet tall, 3 feet wide); ‘Fernspray Gold’ (6 feet tall, 4 feet wide).
Habit: The species can grow over 50 feet tall, but many dwarf garden varieties exist. ‘Nana Gracilis’ is one example, a deep green cultivar that slowly grows to 6 feet tall at the most; another is ’Nana’, which grows to just 2 feet.
Origins: The species Chamaecyparis obtusa is native to Japan.
How to grow hinoki falsecypress: Site in full sun or part shade, in fertile, well-drained soils that do not completely dry out. Provide even moisture; supplemental watering may be needed in times of drought. Avoid exposure to drying winter winds. Full sun will bring out the brightest color in the gold cultivars, but the strong sun of southern regions may scorch the foliage, so some afternoon shade is a good idea in the South. USDA Zones 4–8.