Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Spiralis' / Spiralis Hinoki cypress

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Spiralis' is a very slow growing, narrow, irregular upright growing selection of Hinoki cypress with distinctive and desirable twisted branches holding shell-like, dark-green sprays of foliage. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 2.5 feet (80 cm) tall and 1 foot (30 cm) wide, an annual growth rate of 2 to 3 inches (5 - 7.5 cm).

This cultivar originated as a seedling introduced in 1930 by W. H. Rogers & Sons Nursery, Chandler Ford, United Kingdom. It was one of many distinctive dwarf Hinoki seedlings selected in the early 1900s by George Gardiner, who at the time was nursery manager at Rogers & Sons.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Spiralis' — a perfect specimen at the Jean Iseli Memorial Garden, Boring, Oregon. Spectacular probably due to a single-leader plant.
Photo by Iseli Nursery, Inc.
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Spiralis' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Sandra McLean Cutler
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Spiralis' in the Gotelli Collection at the U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, D.C., May 2006.
Photo by Dax Herbst



Hey there,

Wanted to see if y’all had more information on the obtusa spiralis hinoki, it’s difficult to find information on this plant. Would you have a more detailed care description and info on how to prune or trim to keep that beautiful twisting shape? I’ve got some sprigs that I’m not sure if I should let them be or snip them. Any help is appreciated, thanks!

David Olszyk

Hi Mary ... those long whips of foliage are quite common to Hinokis. This is how these plants increase in height and breadth. If you snip them off, the plant will respond by tightening up the secondary foliage, becoming more dense in texture. If you let them go, the plant will become looser and less attractive in my opinion.


Thank you David! I agree I love the density of ours right now and want to make sure it doesn’t get too leggy. Is there a certain season/time to snip them? Or any specific way I’d have to snip at the nodes? Never worked with them before so wasn’t sure how finicky they are

David Olszyk

I preferably do this kind of work during daylight hours. Time of year doesn't seem to matter as plants in the Cupressaceae family grow throughout the growing season as opposed to a single main push as in Pinaceae. This also makes the plants very forgiving of such treatment.

Good luck!