How to grow Chamaecyparis
The Chamaecyparis (Chamaecyparis Spach, 1841) are a genus of plants of the Cupressaceae family which, improperly called cypresses, originate from the western and eastern coasts of North America, and from the eastern coasts of Asia. These are plants that in their natural habitats can reach heights over 50 m.In this sheet we will see how to grow Chamaecyparis, following the most appropriate agronomic tricks and techniques.
The Chamaecyparis are rustic plants, less demanding and easy to grow and represent a category of plants of great utility and ornamental value, both for the persistent foliage and for the range of colors, size and posture that distinguish the different species and varieties.
The Chamaecyparis are plants that lend themselves to creating hedges, windbreaks or groups of plants, to be used as a background to other shrubs, such as ground cover or in rock gardens.
For the choice of the best growing conditions we remind you that the Chamaecyparis prefer areas with humid and cool climate and sheltered from dry winds.
The most suitable exposure for these plants is that of slight shading, with the exception of the varieties with golden foliage, such as C. pisifera “Aurea” and C. “Plumosa aurea nana”, which produce a greater number of yellow pigments and preserve its own characteristic color, if grown in full sun.
As far as the pedological characteristics are concerned, they adapt to almost all the soils provided they are well drained, since they are conditions of water stagnation, they favor radical rot, caused by pathogenic fungi that can lead to the death of the affected plants.
To choose the most appropriate time for the planting of these species is preferable to October-November, especially in areas with light soils and not too harsh winter.
In other cases it is better to wait for the beginning of spring, to give plants the chance to take root and strengthen themselves before the bad season arrives.
Instead, the propagation technique is a bit more delicate. To obtain seedlings similar to mother plants, multiplication by cuttings must be used. To do this, we need to take shoots about ten centimeters long, in the period of January, if we have a box heated to 15-18 ° C, or otherwise in the May period. After the rooting, which must take place in a substrate composed of peat and sand in equal parts, it is transplanted into jars 7-8 cm in diameter, filled with garden soil made more permeable by the addition of sand. It is placed outdoors, better if buried to ensure more constant humidity; in autumn the new plants are transplanted in an area of the garden used as a nursery: in order to place them, in fact, it is necessary to wait another 3 years.
Another propagation technique can be that for seed; one operates by opening the galbuli, that is, the globose and woody fruits. Then the seeds are placed in the seedbed between March and April, without the need for cover. As soon as the seedlings are ten centimeters high, they can be transplanted into a special flowerbed, where they will remain for two years. Obviously in the gamica reproduction (by seed) the daughter plants have a more or less variable genetic variability compared to the mother plants.
With reference to fertilizing it is always advisable to intervene with organic fertilizer even with products based on bone meal or cornunghia, at the beginning of spring. Obviously the fertilization should always be carried out, if you do not have an experience on the subject behind chemical analysis to detect the true characteristics of the soil and the needs of the plant.
For the pruning technique it is evident that for Chamaecyparis there is no need for regular pruning, also because, where small plants are required, it is sufficient to choose the varieties with dwarf and compact growth and very slow growth.
Furthermore, with pruning carried out to reduce the height of adult plants, on the other hand, there is the risk of causing irreparable damage: in fact, like almost all other conifers, they do not easily reject the stem and mature branches, as they possess only a few dormant buds. In adult plants it is therefore limited to eliminate dead or perished branches. Young plants, on the other hand, may require pruning to adjust their shape, especially in the case of compact varieties and hedges: branches that are too developed or disordered are then cut in spring.
A peculiarity there are some varieties such as C. lawsoniana and C. pisifera, whose stem tends to fork at the apex, even at a certain height, with very bad consequences on the posture and on the future stability and health of the plant: in in these cases it becomes necessary, in the period of March, to cut off one of the two branches of the bifurcation at the base.
Finally, as regards phytopathological aspects, Chamaecyparis are plants that are not very sensitive to animal and vegetable parasites. The only adversities that can cause some problems are represented by radical rots, which must be avoided with very draining soils and by aphids which unfortunately occur when nitrogen fertilizers are administered.
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