Bonsai Training Information

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana
Lawson Cypress, Port Orford cedar

Largely conical in shape the Lawson Cypress lend them self naturally to creating elegant Formal Upright Bonsai. Its deep green leaves and reddish brown bark form a striking contrast adding to its elegance and character.


Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Literate, Twin-trunk, Saikei




In the UK Full sun is highly recommended as without proper lighting, lower and inner branches brown and die, which is a serious problem because Chamaecyparis will not bud back on old wood.


Water well and keep soil moist. Do not let soil dry out or water log as the lawsoniana can suffer from root rot. As with all trees that are prone to root rot - best to water in the early morning, so as to ensure that the root logged conditions.


Use a balanced feed, feeding every two weeks, from early spring to midsummer. Then again late-summer to mid-autumn. If using a slow release fertiliser then apply early spring and early autumn. As lawsoniana prefer a lime free soil use Miracid to correct pH Levels. Use Epsom salt to improve the green color of the foliage.

Leaf and Branch Pruning:

Cypress need to be constantly pruned to allow light into the deeper reaches of the tree, otherwise die back occurs and no re-growth will occur, which can be a major bonsai headache. The tree is best shaped through constant pinching of new foliage. Many book advocate not to use scissors as brown tips can occur were the leafs are cut. I don't seem to have much problem where I am - perhaps because there is high humidity around.

Re-potting & Growing Medium:

Younger tree roots grow very fast and should be re-potted every 2-3 years, older ones repot every 4-6 years. You can remove as much as a third of the roots mass. Use a well draining mix, 1 part sharp sand, 1 part grit (6-10 mm), 1 part loam. The loam will keep the potting medium from completely drying out, while the sand and grit will allow for good draining and air circulation essential to fight root rot. Alternatively you can use Akadama by itself.


While the preferred method of shaping a cypress is pruning and pinching, wiring can be carried out most any time of the year, but branches take a while to set. To avoid wire scars it is best to repeat wiring a few times leaving the wire on for no more then 3-4 months at a time. Allow at least as long between wiring. Best to avoid wiring during the high growth seasons.


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