Bonsai Training Information

Chamaecyparis obtusa Nana
Dwarf Hinoki Cypress

A slow-growing conifer with distinctive tiny fans of golden foliage on a somewhat irregular-shaped bush. Its ideal for a small garden or rockery or patio where it can be grown on in pots for many years. They make ideal small to medium sized bonsai.


Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Literate, Twin-trunk, Saikei




In the UK Full sun is highly recommended as without proper lighting, lower and inner branches brown and die, which is a serious problem because Chamaecyparis will not bud back on old wood.


Water well and keep soil moist. Do not let soil dry out or water log as the Hinoki can suffer from root rot. As with all trees that are prone to root rot - best to water in the early morning, so as to ensure that the roots do not stand in water overnight.


Use a balanced feed, feeding every two weeks, from early spring to midsummer. Then again late-summer to mid-autumn. If using a slow release fertiliser then apply early spring and early autumn. An application or two of Miracid will correct pH levels as Hinoki prefer a lime free soil. Use Epsom salt to improve the green colour of the foliage.

Leaf and Branch Pruning:

Cypress need to be constantly pruned to allow light into the deeper reaches of the tree, otherwise die back occurs and no re-growth will occur, which can be a major bonsai headache. The tree is best shaped through constant pinching of new foliage. Many book advocate not to use scissors as brown tips can occur were the leafs are cut. I don't seem to have much problem where I am - perhaps because there is high humidity around.

Re-potting & Growing Medium:

Younger trees should be re-potted every 2-3 years, while older ones can be repotted every 4-6 years. You can remove as much as a third of the roots mass, best not to bare root. Use a well draining mix, 1 part sharp sand, 1 part grit (6-10 mm), 1 part loam. The loam will keep the potting medium from completely drying out, while the sand and grit will allow for good draining and air circulation essential to fight root rot. Alternatively you can use 1 Part Akadama and 1 Part Fuji Grit.


While the preferred method of shaping a cypress is pruning and pinching, wiring can be carried out most any time of the year, but branches take a while to set. To avoid wire scars it is best to repeat wiring a few times leaving the wire on for no more then 3-4 months at a time. Allow at least as long between wiring. Best to avoid wiring during the high growth seasons.


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