Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Aurea' / dwarf golden Hinoki cypress

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Aurea' is a dwarf, loose, pyramidal, very slow growing selection of Hinoki cypress with dense, irregular, compact, golden-yellow foliage, mixed with creamy yellow and some green. After 10 years of growth, a specimen will be considered mature at 3 to 4 feet (1 - 1.3 m) tall and 2-thirds as wide, a growth rate of 3 to 4 inches (7.5 - 10 cm) per year.

This is a very old cultivar that originated in Japan long ago. French botanist, Élie-Abel Carrière, Paris, first described it in botanical literature in the mid-1860s. In the Latin language, nana aurea translates into "dwarf gold."

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Aurea' in the Harper Collection of Dwarf & Rare Conifers, at Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan, August 2005.
Photo by Dax Herbst
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Aurea' — Green Industry Images; copyrighted photo; donated by Ernie Wiegand.
Photo by Ernie Wiegand
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Aurea' in the Harper Collection, Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan; photo from July 2016.
Photo by William Dunagin


Carolyn Masiello

Purchased this shrub in the spring of this year. now we are seeing so, so much dead inner sections and spreading throughout the tree -it looks like it is dying

Maxwell Cohn

Hi Carolyn, since you didn't say where you live; and whether or not your plant is planted in the ground, or if it's still in the pot, it's very difficult to say what's going to. Here are some things for you to consider:

► most conifers will shed up to 30% of their interior foliage every year.
► in most parts of the world, spring is a horrible time to add a tree to the landscape. It really stresses them out.
► if the parts that are still gold / green appear muted rather than vibrant, it's likely the entire tree is already gone. Sometimes these things take up to 2-3 years to totally turn brown.

good luck.

Tami Meyers

I live in Sacramento California. I purchased the shrub to plant last fall but didn't get it done. Will it be okay to plant into a larger pot until this fall and transplant to garden then or will too much transplanting stress the plant? Also, does this shrub like sun, shade or sun/shade. Our summers are in mostly mid - upper 90* to low 100*.

Maxwell Cohn

Hi Tami ... you'll do no harm by up-potting now, then waiting until fall to plant it out into the landscape.

In California, this plant would probably do best with 3 hrs and 20 minutes of morning sun, then shade through the hottest part of the day. Too much shade and it'll be green; too much sun and it'll burn. Golden conifers are always a little tricky.