Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis' / graceful dwarf Hinoki cypress

[ Excerpt from Gardening with Conifers, Adrian Bloom ©2002, Firefly ] The dwarf Hinoki cypress is one of the most popular dwarf conifers, with good reason. It forms a dense, often globe-like bush when young, becoming more broadly conical with age; its glossy, dark green foliage is held in thick bunches of shell-shaped sprays with silvery markings beneath. Growth will be slower in plants that are rooted from cuttings, but these are to be preferred over those that are grafted as the latter often produce more open bushes with vigorous shoots that distort the shape.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis' is a very attractive selection of Hinoki cypress that has stood the test of time for well over a century. Shell-like sprays of dark green foliage form an irregularly globose specimen that becomes broadly conical with age. Quite slow growing when grown as a rooted, but is often grafted which accelerates its growth rate considerably. Typical rate of growth in most areas is 3 to 6 inches (7.5 - 15 cm) a year depending on the vigor of the understock, resulting in a 4 to 5 foot (1.3 to 1.6 m) tall tree after 10 years in the landscape.

This is a very old cultivar, introduced to the nursery trade in 1867 by R. Smith at H. Rogers & Son Nurseries, Chandler Ford, United Kingdom.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis' — a magnificent, ancient specimen at Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Great River, New York; a 1974 gift from ACS legend, Joe Cesarini.
Photo by Heather Coste
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis' — the most popular dwarf Hinoki. Irregularly globose, developing an upright habit with age. Dark-green, compact foliage. Partial shade or full sun.
Photo by Iseli Nursery, Inc.
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis' at Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio; a large specimen of about 14 feet tall.
Photo by Bill Barger
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis' — a closeup of foliage that forms small, shell-shaped whorls.
Photo by Bill Barger
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis' hedge, courtesy of Green Industry Images / copyrighted photo.
Photo by Ernie Wiegand


Charlyne Steele

I'm looking for 2 dwarf hinoki cypress bushes for a container on my front porch. Where can I buy one? I live in North Georgia so would need them to be shipped. Thank you!

David Olszyk

We can't select a preferred nursery for you. You're welcome to peruse the vendors listed in our Nursery Discount Program, many of which will do mail order and offer discounts to ACS members. Good luck.

Steve Maynard

Our hinoki has brown foliage in places. We had to replace another one that looked the same and finally died. We thought it was fall foliage in the beginning eventually but the brown took over. Now another of our 13 year old plants is beginning to look the same. Can you possibly advise me of treatment.

David Olszyk

do your plants get adequate irrigation? Hot and dry will create the condition you describe.

13 years? Inspect the root zone. Girdled root strangulation? Planted too deep? It often takes 10-15 years for a poorly planted conifer to finally decline and die.

Joel Simon

Will the Dwarf Hinoki Cypress grow in Denver Colorado region?

Janis Boehme

is nana gracilis deer resistant?

David Olszyk

it depends. If your local deer are starving, anything green is fair game. Hinoki cypress is not toxic, so it's fair game. Be aware that deer will browse anything that's novel in their neighborhood.


Willll the Nana Lutea Hinoki Dwarf Cyrpress grow in Sourhtern California (Zone 9-10b)?

David Olszyk

I'm not going to say impossible, just that it will be extremely difficult. Don't spend a lot of money.

Daniel Spear

Sydney, I had was able to grow one in Orange for about seven years before moving out of state. My success included planting it in a large pot with an acid, well draining potting medium and dappled sunlight. No hot afternoon sun. Your alkaline soil and water will be a challenge. As will the lack of winter chill. Maybe your garden has a good microclimate that will provide more chill? Watch those Santa Ana winds. They could kill it in a day. Good luck! It is a gorgeous plant.

Patricia Adams

Will this do will in Northern California? I'm 55 miles north of SF and 15 miles from the coast.

Sara Malone

hi Patricia I am in Sonoma County and they do fine here. However, they do seem to do best with a bit of afternoon shade and they are not what I would consider drought tolerant. They are lovely plants though, so worth a little trouble in getting them sited correctly.

Joan Brainard

Can you suggest a mail order source for a tree standard Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Lutea'?
I have located one on Wilson Bros. Gardens...However, they only have a 1 gallon and my preference would be for a 5 gallon.
Thanking you