Cryptomeria japonica is an evergreen conifer forming a cone of bright green foliage, which emerges yellow in spring and takes on bluer tons in winter. Cryptomeria is a very large evergreen tree, reaching up to 70 m tall and 4 m trunk diameter, with red-brown bark which peels in vertical strips. The leaves are arranged spirally, needle-like, 0.5 – 1 cm long and the seed cones globular. Cryptomeria japonica grow well in a sheltered position in moist but well-drained soil in full sun.
The cultivar 'Elegans' is notable for retaining juvenile foliage throughout its life, instead of developing normal adult foliage when one year old. It makes a small, shrubby tree 5–10 m tall. There are numerous dwarf cultivars that are widely used in rock gardens and for bonsai, including 'Tansu', 'Koshyi', 'Little Diamond', 'Yokohama' and 'Kilmacurragh.'
Continual and regular pinching is essential throughout the growing season if the tree is to stay in shape. Cryptomeria will back bud very readily from points all over the tree. However if you use scissors to cut foliage this will cause the cut edges to brown; pinching is far preferable but hard on the fingers. If you do it frequently enough the foliage will remain soft and the damage to your fingers far less. Hard pruning can be carried out in the spring; however care must be taken to produce a clean cut as the wood splits if you use blunt tools.
Wiring should be done between April and July to allow time for branches to heal before the winter. The branches, although very supple, can separate easily at their junctions so care must be taken. Heavy bending will cause branch splitting. It is possible to prevent this by binding with raffia before the applying wire.
Most commonly styled as, a formal upright with single or multiple trunk styles. Branches are presented as slightly drooping with the foliage trained up above; the branch structure is then revealed, hence regular removal of downward growth is needed.
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