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Golden threadleaf sawara cypress

CAROLINA GROWN

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Golden threadleaf sawara cypress
Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’

Photos: Dr. Robert Polomski


Before the Daffodils ...

I’ve made it clear in this column that winter is my least favorite season. I always seek winter-blooming flowers to raise my spirits. However, before the yellow-flowered daffodils bloom to give me hope that spring is coming, I rely on the soft-textured floppy drooping gold threadlike leaves of golden threadleaf sawara cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’).

Like the golden locks of Rapunzel’s long hair, golden threadleaf sawara cypress draws attention in the winter landscape. Golden threadleaf sawara cypress can reach a height of 18 to 20 ft. and maintain its attractive broad, conical shape. If you prefer smaller versions, consider ‘Golden Mop’ and ‘Filifera Aurea Nana,’ ‘Lemon Yellow,’ and ‘Paul’s Gold,’ which produce equally gorgeous foliage, but in smaller packages.

To maintain its golden color, site golden threadleaf sawara cypress in full sun. Golden threadleaf sawara cypress is not finicky about soil: expect performances in heavy clay, sandy and moist loamy soils. Avoid “hog wallows” or poorly drained areas in your landscape. When it receives too much shade, the golden color recedes and gives rise to green. Use golden threadleaf sawara cypress as a stand-alone focal point or accent in the landscape. It partners well with other shrubs or small trees and punctuates evergreen screens with pops of gold.

Some garden design critics consider golden threadleaf sawara cypress to be gaudy or visually offensive. I disagree. I find its brilliant, year-round eye-catching look appealing. For me, happiness resides in the tightly woven gold threads of golden threadleaf sawara cypress.