Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro' / Wissel's Saguaro Lawson cypress

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro' is a moderately fast growing, narrow upright selection of Lawson cypress with fastigiate branching that can twist and produce arms that resemble the Saguaro cactus. Foliage is thick, contorted and blue-green in color. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 6 feet (2 m) tall and 2 feet (60 cm) wide, an annual growth rate of 6 to 8 inches (15 - 20 cm).

This cultivar originated as a witch's broom found in the early 1960s on a specimen of C. Lawsoniana 'Wisselii' by J.B.A. Dekker, of Mijdrecht The Netherlands. A short time later, K.A. Koemans Nursery of Boskoop introduced it to the nursery trade.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro' — a young specimen in an unidentified private garden.
Photo by anonymous
a row of 'Wissel's Saguaro'
Photo by anonymous
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by unknown


Irene Herman

what fertilizer does it need and when.

Maxwell Cohn

never fertilize a tree unless a soil test says that there is a deficiency. If you're going to grow it in a pot for a while, then Osmocote (slow-release pellets), once a year, fairly early in the spring.

Beverly Luther

Will it grow in shady areas?

Maxwell Cohn

it may survive, but it won't grow very well and will be prone to disease. After a few years, it will probably not be very attractive.


Will it survive in hardiness 10 zone? I have see a lot of plants rated at 9s that do well here, but I've seen variable ratings on this tree, from 8-9b. Thanks.

Maxwell Cohn

Hi Catherine. It's unfortunately not about USDA Hardiness Zones. Zone 10 in California is way different that Zone 10 in Florida.

This species works well in Mediterranean climate, but will fail miserably in a Tropical climate.


Perfect, thanks. Was hoping that would be the case.

Web Editor

Catherine, not sure where you are, but here in 9b Sonoma County CA they do very well. One of my favorites, in fact. I have found that most Chamaecyparis really appreciate some afternoon shade and regular water, though.


I planted one in zone 8 in the Pacific Northwest. It has grown to about 15 feet in 10 years, rather taller than expected. It has also turned out to be deer resistant, a nice surprise.


I put mine in a pot that gets watered regularly and it is turning brown all over. It is planted with 2 small 'Kohouts Icebreakers' and 2 other plants that are doing great. What am I doing wrong?

Maxwell Cohn

Hi Susan, you're probably trying to grow a Lawson cypress in a pot and watering too much. They don't like that.

Shirley Ross

Hi. I planted my trees in May. Until now they've received up to five hours of sun a day, which is quickly becoming less (they are under the eaves of my house). By the end of September they will be in full shade until spring. Do you think they'll survive, or should I replant them in a sunnier place? They have done real well this summer, gaining about 8" in height and about a foot in width.