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Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Gracilis' and 'Nana Gracilis')

Quick facts and care essentials

Shrubs

• Evergreen
• Climate zones 4-6, 15-17, 32-34, 36-41
• Full sun or partial shade
• Moderate watering

Of the many available Hinoki cypress cultivars, 'Gracilis' and 'Nana Gracilis' are the favorites of many gardeners. Both are deep green, with flat, feathery-looking foliage sprays. Thanks to their narrow habit, they provide a contrast in form to many other shrubs ― and they add year-round greenery to the garden without taking up much space. 'Gracilis' can reach 20 feet high, 5 feet wide. 'Nana Gracilis' grows to 5 feet tall and just 1 ½ feet wide; it's good in rock gardens, containers, or wherever a low-growing conifer is useful. Similar to 'Nana Gracilis' in size and shape is 'Nana Aurea', with brilliant yellow foliage.

These plants grow slowly, so purchase them in 15- or 5-gallon containers. They prefer sun but will take partial shade. Well-amended, well-drained soil is best, but ordinary garden soil will do. In the first year or two after planting, you may need to make some thinning cuts to direct growth; otherwise, leave plants unpruned.