Cryptomeria japonica, commonly called Japanese cedar or sugi, is a slender, pyramidal, evergreen conifer with tiered horizontal branching, which is slightly pendulous at the tips. It is native to forested areas in Japan and China where it typically grows as a single trunk tree to 150’ tall (infrequently taller) with an 8’ trunk diameter. It is the national tree of Japan where it is often planted at temples and shrines. In cultivation in the U.S., it grows much smaller, more typically to 50-60’ tall. Sharply-pointed, awl-shaped, fragrant, green to blue-green needles (to 3/4” long) are spirally arranged. Foliage is soft to the touch. Foliage may bronze in cold winters. Spherical fruiting cones (to 1” diameter) appear at the shoot ends. Reddish-brown bark exfoliates in strips. It has a fast growth rate. The timber is extremely fragrant, weather and insect resistant, soft, and with a low density. It is a prized timber tree in its native habitat.
Growing Instructions for the Japanese Cedar
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. The seeds are stored in a refrigerator so they have already been stratified. The seeds need to be planted when received or stored in a refrigerator until they are planted. 1. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Fill a pot with a mixture of half potting soil and half sand or vermiculite. 2. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet. 3. Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. 4. Water the container and leave it to drain. 5. Put the pot in a warm, sunny area. 6. Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet. The seeds take several weeks to germinate. 7. The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.