Lawson Cypress

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

Native to California, it’s a giant evergreen conifer that was introduced to the UK in 1854. Conical in shape the Lawson Cypress grows to about 60 meters tall. Its wood is highly sought after as it is light and durable and water-resistant. The Lawson Cypress is commonly cultivated not just for its timber but also as an architectural plant informal gardens.

Lawson Cypress, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Bonsai
Lawson Cypress, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Bonsai

Styles and Sizes: Lawson Cypress is ideally suited to medium to large-sized Formal Upright Bonsai.

Position: Need a full sun aspect as the Cypress is not very shade tolerant and if grown in a semi-shade area lower and inner branches tend to die off. This is a significant problem as Hinoki do not grow back on old wood.

Watering: Water thoroughly early in the morning as the Cypress need a lot of water, likes to have a moist soil but is prone to root rot if left standing in water overnight.

Feeding: Apply a balanced organic feed, if using a liquid feed apply every two weeks, if using a granular version apply once every couple of months. Apply from spring to mid-summer and then again from the end of summer to end of autumn. The Lawson likes acidic soil, so it appreciates a couple of application of Miracid. A dose of Epsom salts in Midsummer will help enrich the leaf colour.

Repotting: Cypress like a humus rich well-draining soil and younger plants need to repotted every year, while older one as an when the pots become root-bound. Prune as much as a third of the root ball but do not bare root the Hinoki. Use a mix of loam, well-mulched bark and sharp sand in equal parts by volume. Alternatively, you can use Akadama and Pumice and well-mulched bark in equal parts too.

Pruning: Prune Cypress lead tip regularly, this allows for the shoot tips to lignify and at the same time let light to reach deeper into the crown.

Wiring: The styling of the Lawson is best carried out with the clip and grow method. If needed you can wire the lignified branches in Autumn but remove before growth starts in spring.


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