Cryptomeria trees, or Japanese Cedar, are renowned for their colour changing with the seasons and make wonderful evergreen specimen trees that provide interest all year round. Ranging from blues, greens and creamy yellows in Spring and Summer, Japanese Cedar adopts shades of copper, purple and bronze in Autumn.
Cryptomeria is a genus of only one tree - Cryptomeria japonica. it is native to Japan although actually thought to have first been cultivated in China. In these countries it is known as "Sugi". Many cultivars which have derived from the generic Cryptomeria japonica are smaller in scale and have a slower growth rate than it, so tend to be used widely for ornamental purposes. Cryptomeria japonica 'Sekkan-sugi' is the smallest cultivar we offer, growing to 4 metres in height.
The evergreen foliage is made up of 4 angled awl-shaped needles which curve inwards with a slight twist, arranged spirally round the branches. Ornamental Cryptomeria trees are extremely dense when young, though tend to develop slightly more clustered, tiered branching with age, creating a graceful and elegant feel. Foliage changes colour throughout the seasons, with Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans' displaying the most dramatic colour changes.
Their fibrous brown bark displaying subtle yet rich tones of red and pink is another highlight, although it is often hidden by the masses of foliage. The cones are spherical or globe-shaped, rather than conical like those on most Conifers.
Japanese Cedar trees are fairly versatile so can be planted in chalky, sandy, loamy or clay soils, and soils that are acidic, alkaline or neutral. They will fare well in a position of either full sun or partial shade and their colours are at their best when the tree has at least 3 hours of sunlight per day. They prefer a deep, fertile soil, one that is moist but well drained.
Cryptomeria - or Sugi - is the national tree of Japan, and can be found at many sacred sites across the country.
The fragrant red-brown wood of these trees is lightweight, strong and waterproof and is often used in construction, particularly in Japan, where is it used to build houses, ships, bridges and furniture. The leaves are widely used in the production of incense.