Common name/s ?

Dwarf Gracilis Hanoki false cypress, false cypress nana gracilis and Hinoki Cypress.

Skill rating




Type of plant ?

Evergreen, perennial conifer tree.

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone


EGF zone


USDA zone


Eventual size

Ultimately grows to 4m height and 2m spread.

Growth rate ?

Very slow, reaches its full height in 20 to 50 years.

Shape it grows into

Conical shaped tree.

Season/s of interest

Year round interest.

Where to grow it

Happiest in full sun.
Prefers well drained to moist soil.

Prefers slightly acidic soil, but will tolerate other soil types.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis'


Dark green, glossy foliage in sprays which appear to form waves or shell shapes at their tips.

What to use it for

It can provide evergreen interest in borders featuring conifers or mixed planting. Due to its slow growth rate, it could also be used in containers or rock gardens to good effect.

How to look after it

Generally these conifers do not require a lot of looking after.

Any splayed out growth which is undamaged should be tied back into a main stem using a soft material such as soft twine, a rubber tree tie or even some stockings! Equally, any bare patches can be covered by tying healthy growth across the bare patch in the same way.

How to prune it

One important thing to remember when pruning this plant is that new growth will not come from older wood. So if you have a big Chamaecyparis in your garden and chop it back, all those patches of bare, old wood will remain bare. If you have a tree which is already too big, you need to remove it and start again.

If you are intending to retain this plant once it’s grown to a larger size, early training will give you a better chance of having a well-shaped tree, although this isn’t a necessary task.

Any conifer pruning should ideally be done in autumn to midwinter – many conifers bleed sap and resins profusely from early spring to midsummer and this can weaken the plant.

Pruning should focus on removing any damaged, diseased, dead or congested growth from the base of the affected stem. Other than that, you shouldn’t find it needs pruning at all.

How to propagate it

Easiest done by cuttings, which can be taken at almost any time. The best time to take them is as semi-ripe cuttings (so long as they are not too woody at the base) from late summer to mid autumn. The cuttings should be kept humid (eg under plastic film) with bottom heat of up to 20˚C. They will take 6 to 9 months to root.

Seeds can also be extracted in the spring from female cones which are one year old. Store them in the fridge, then sow them with a bottom heat of 15˚C, transplanting the seedlings into pots to grow on in midsummer. However, it is unlikely that the seeds will come true to the cultivar’s form.

Common problems

Can be susceptible to honey fungus and Phytophthora root diseases. May also be attacked by aphids (which cause die back).

Other useful information

Foliage may cause a mild skin irritation.

Has received the Royal Horticultural SocietyAward of Garden Merit‘.

This cultivar is a popular subject for the Japanese art of Bonsai, due to its naturally compact growth habit.