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Can a Hinoki Cypress Grow in the Shade?

Can a Hinoki Cypress Grow in the Shade?

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Willie Moore
Latest posts by Willie Moore (see all)

Plants have different needs when it comes to sun exposure and water. In the case of the Hinoki Cypress, you may wonder if they have specific sunlight needs. Can a Hinoki Cypress grow in the shade?

The Hinoki cypress does not grow well in the shade. The cypress needs full sun to be a happy and healthy plant, even though it can survive with some shade for short periods.

In this article, I will discuss the sun exposure needs of a Hinoki Cypress, plus some other requirements and care tips for these trees. Let’s get started!

Best Location for a Hinoki Cypress

The best location for a Hinoki Cypress is somewhere they can get full sun. This cypress plant is a beautiful addition to any yard or building border.

The Hinoki Cypress also needs the same amount of light during the winter months. They don’t always like the cold, so full, direct sunlight helps them thrive when it’s cooler.

For instance, the Hinoki Cypress would do really well in front of your house where the sun can get to it. However, putting it in your backyard means it might get too much shade. While it will happily tolerate some shade, direct sunlight is essential most of the time. 

Another important thing is that the Hinoki Cypress doesn’t do well in harsh winds, so planting it somewhere it’s protected from the elements will help it grow and thrive.

When choosing a location for your Hinoki Cypress, you need to remember that it prefers to grow in moist, clay soil. However, it can grow in other soils just fine if the soil is well-draining and has adequate nutrients (source).

It’s best to water the plant when the soil has dried out because the Hinoki Cypress doesn’t like to have saturated roots. This could cause root rot, so ensure you only water the plant when the topsoil feels dry.

With the Hinoki Cypress needing full sun, it will dry out quicker in the summer months. Therefore, you should monitor how quickly the soil gets dry to prevent underwatering. 

Additional Care Tips

To keep your Hinoki Cypress happy, you’ll need to provide it with more than just full sun. Protecting it from pests and the elements and maintaining a well-balanced soil is essential. 

Bagworms Infestation

One unfortunate thing to look out for when growing a Hinoki Cypress is bagworms. These worms can quickly destroy your cypress. 

The time to start looking out for bagworms is in May and June because these are the primary months where they feed and will thus be most noticeable. 

Bagworms use the wind to transfer themselves to different places. Once they land somewhere, they mainly target new growth but will also eat other parts of the plant. 

These worms begin munching on the needles until there is nothing left. This can severely damage the whole plant, especially when a significant amount of the cypress is affected. 

Bagworms can lay 400 to 1000 eggs, so if you notice what is referred to as its “bag” or “home,” dispose of it immediately to destroy all the eggs that could hatch the following season (source). If you merely remove it, the bagworms will undoubtedly return to your cypress.

It can be challenging to dispose of bagworms on a significantly large tree, but on a Hinoki Cypress, it should be doable. Thankfully, these bagworms can be dealt with using insecticides such as Bacillus Thuringiensis. If you spray this on the entire tree, it will kill the bagworms once ingested. 

A great affordable option is the Bonide Caterpillar and Worm Killer (link to Amazon). This insecticide works great on lots of garden pests and works quickly to protect your plants from damage.

Leaves Changing Colors 

Like any other plant or tree, the leaves of your Hinoki Cypress will change color from time to time. This is sometimes normal, but it could also signify something is wrong.

If you notice your cypress is brown on the inside but a healthy green at the tips, this is not a cause for concern. These are old needles that are no longer needed, and the new growth is at the tip of the branches. 

However, if the new needles begin turning yellow, this is a problem. 

Tip Blight is a fungal disease that attacks new growth on cypress and can eventually lead to dead branches. This fungal disease usually occurs in cold and wet weather conditions. 

One way to prevent this disease is by spraying a fungicide on the new growth as you notice it come in, including during the warmer months. Doing this every time you encounter new growth is a surefire way to prevent tip blight. 

A good product that gets the job done is the Bonide 775 Copper Fungicide (link to Amazon). This fungicide is easy to use and will prevent blight. It is also cheap, so you won’t spend much money when using this product. 

Root Rot

Another disease that can attack your Hinoki Cypress is root rot. It comes from phytophthora fungus, which grows within the soil and attacks the roots of your cypress. When this occurs, the cypress’ nutrients are cut off, and they will eventually die.

It can be hard to tell if your cypress has root rot because the physical signs are under the soil. However, as it progresses, your Hinoki Cypress’ needles will become pale yellow, and the cypress will shortly wilt and die. 

See our guide to 5 Problems With Slender Hinoki Cypress Trees.

Final Thoughts

A Hinoki Cypress prefers to grow in full sun to remain healthy but will be fine in some shade for short periods. Make sure you pick a location where full sun is possible. It’s also essential to ensure your cypress is protected from harsh winds. 

When caring for a Hinoki Cypress, it’s essential to know that brown needles towards the inside of the plant are normal. However, if you notice yellow needles on the ends of the branches, this is a cause for concern. 

Fungicides and insecticides help keep away tip blight and bagworms, which will keep your cypress healthy.

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