The Q&A Archives: What Is This Plant?

Question: My son gave me a small, fuzzy plant for Mother's Day that has no care instructions included in it. The place where he bought it could not help.

The label has two names on it -- chamaecyparis pisifera and squarrosa intermedia.

How do I care for this plant? Is it OK to plant outside? How large will it get?

Answer: The tongue twisting botanical name of your plant is best replaced with the more common name: False Cypress. To be concise, Sawara False Cypress. The cultivar 'squarrosa', coupled with 'intermedia' means that your plant will eventually be a 30'-40' evergreen tree with juvenile needles that are soft and fluffy, silvery blue-green in color, forming dense, billowy looking plumes on the branches. As the tree matures the needles will look more like needles. Your plant will grow well in a sunny site, in average garden soil. Plant by digging a hole larger than the rootmass of the tree, backfilling with native soil, and poking the roots into the ground so the tree is growing at the same level it was growing in the pot. Water your tree well and plan to water it thoroughly once each week throughout the growing season. When it becomes established in the landscape it should get along with just natural rainfall.

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