The Complete Guide for Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’) Care


The Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress, otherwise known as the Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’ or Hinoki Cypress ‘Nana Gracilis’, ‘Nana Gracilis’ Hinoki Cypress, Chamaecyparis ‘Nana Gracilis’, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and slow growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its yellow colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, taking care of your Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress are the following:

  • Water: The Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.
  • Light: Keep your Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’ in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Lutea' plants

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress belongs to the Cupressaceae family, the genus Chamaecyparis and the species Obtusa, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’ (kam-e-SIP-a-ris ob-tu-SA).

As with other Chamaecyparis’s, the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 8 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a and the ideal climate zone is between 2, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17, A3.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But, what size of Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

The Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’ can grow up to 3′ – 6′ (90cm – 180cm) in 3′ – 6′ (90cm – 180cm) and 2′ – 4′ (60cm – 120cm) in 2′ – 4′ (60cm – 120cm). 

These dimensions make the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress a relatively large shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful compact shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 60″ (150cm) free so the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress can spread to its best extent.

Water

In terms of watering, the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’ needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Lutea' branchy

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and moist properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress prefers to have soil with good drainage, and moist properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress requires soil with clay, high organic matter, loam (silt), and sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’ in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being an evergreen plant, the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress will be present year round in your garden.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.

Foliage

The leaves from the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress have a beautiful yellow color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a needles arrangement in its leaves.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Lutea' fruits

Garden

How should you then organize your garden to include your new Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’ owners agree that this shrub will look great in most cottage, asian/zen and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, gravel and rock garden, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress’s best location within your garden is in patio and containers, beds and borders, and in small gardens, others use it for landscaping in a border, or a rock garden.

Conclusion

And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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