Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana' / dwarf Hinoki cypress

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana' is the very desirable class of dwarf Hinoki cypress that is actually harder to locate in the nursery trade than one would think. Over the decades, nurseries have taken the strongest cuttings for propagation essentially creating a faster growing clone that they market under the same name.

A proper Ch. obtusa 'Nana' is a true dwarf with dense, dark, blackish-green cup-shaped sprays of foliage growing with tight, narrowly globose form that over time will "open up," becoming more conical with age. After 10 years, a mature specimen will measure 6 to 8 inches (15 - 20 cm) tall and 5 - 6 inches (12 - 15 cm) wide, an annual growth rate of only about 0.5 inch (less than 1 cm).

This is a very old cultivar that originated in Japan long ago. P.F. van Siebold is credited for introducing the plant to Europe via Leiden, The Netherlands in the 1860s.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana' — an ancient specimen in an arboretum setting.
Photo by Bill Barger
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana' — an older specimen with a lot of character.
Photo by Bill Barger
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana' Approximately 30 year old speciman of Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana'. Located on North side of house has survived Michigan winter with no damage.
Photo by Dennis Groh
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana' — young plants are striking when grafted high on a standard.
Photo by Bill Barger
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana' — a 1941 accession at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; photo from 2020.
Photo by Katherine Wagner-Reiss
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana' — Green Industry Images; copyrighted photo; donated by Ernie Wiegand.
Photo by Ernie Wiegand
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana' — a young specimen in a private garden.
Photo by Don Levesque


Nancy Eisnaugle

My dwarf chamaecyparis obtuse "Nana" is planted in a bed which gets sun from dawn until about 1 pm (EST zone) and got "nipped" last winter by the cold weather. Columbus, Ohio often gets slightly below zero but not for long. Over the summer, the brown spots died out and the shrub is mainly green again. Question: how to protect it this coming winter?

Maxwell Cohn

Hi Nancy ... this species is extremely hardy (to at least -20ºF). Internally browning by early fall is part of the normal growth cycle. Some people in zones 2 and 3 try to push the limits by wrapping their plants in burlap and tucking in a heat lamp, but I'm not sure that's the issue if you're only getting slightly sub-zero.

Quendy Veatch

How does this do in extreme heat? I live in OK where temps can be over 100F. I had planned to pot them on my patio which gets about 6 to 7 hrs of direct & partial sun from S & E.Will that will that work for this little tree?