Cryptomeria: Growing Guide

Little known, but very beautiful conifers; they require a sheltered position.


Growth is relatively slow and they are therefore suitable for quite small gardens, especially the dwarf forms. These conifers require sun or partial shade and must be planted out of the wind.


Acid, humus-rich soil.


The species from seed, hybrids from cuttings taken in early autumn.

Cryptomeria japonica: Maximum height 40 m; a tree with a feathery oval crown. The needles are small and sickle-shaped and grow close to the twigs. ‘Compacta’ has blue-green needles; it does not grow beyond 15 m; in ‘Cristata’, the twigs are flattened at the tip; ‘Elegans’ has a spreading habit, the foliage turning bronze green in winter; ‘Vilmo-riniana’ is spherical, to 80 cm, with brown foliage in winter, grey green at other times. broad oval, with 3-5 short pointed lobes. The berries contain 2-3 pips. There are many garden varieties of which the best known form is ‘Paul’s Scarlet’, a tree with double crimson flowers. ‘Alboplena’ has double white flowers and ‘Punicea’ is a cultivar with single white flowers. There are also ornamental forms with variegated foliage. Crataegus X lavallei: Height to 5 m; large white flowers in late spring and early summer, followed by large, orange berries. Elongated oval leaves, 5-10 cm, dark green and glossy; up to 5 cm thorns.

Crataegus monogyna, common, one-styled hawthorn: Tree or shrub, height to 10 m; flowering season late spring and early summer, two weeks later than the multi-styled hawthorn. Leaves incised pinnate or pinnately divided, with 3-7 smooth-edged, or slightly toothed lobes. The berries contain only one pip. There are a number of garden forms of this species as well; most of them have white flowers, occasionally the flowers are pink or bicoloured. Crataegus X prunifolia: Shrub or small tree to 5 m; white flowers in felty racemes in late spring and early summer. Broad oval leaves, olive-brown twigs; bright-red berries in the autumn. The most popular form is ‘Splendens’, with a very spreading crown.

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