Eazy Gardening

Golden Mop Sawara Cypress: A Unique and Toxic Beauty

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’: A Unique and Attractive Sawara Cypress for Your Garden

Are you looking for a unique and attractive shrub for your garden? Look no further than Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop,’ a cultivar of the Sawara cypress that is loved for its ornamental value and ease of care.

In this article, we will dive into the details of this plant, from its common names and description to its cultivation and care. So, let’s get started!

Overview of the Plant

Common Names: Sawara cypress ‘Golden Mop,’ Japanese False Cypress, Golden Japanese threadleaf Cypress

Vernacular Names: Hinoki False Cypress, Shatamomi Sugi (Japanese)

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is a cultivar of the Sawara cypress, native to Japan. It is a slow-growing, evergreen shrub that typically reaches a height of 35 feet and a spread of 24 feet.

This plant is popular for its attractive golden foliage, which is feathery and delicate. The twigs are also golden-yellow in color, adding to the plant’s ornamental appeal.

The plant has an upright, compact habit, with a spread that is smaller than the height. Its branches grow in a loose, irregular pattern, giving the plant a unique and visually appealing appearance.

Although it is primarily grown for its foliage, the plant can also produce small, round cones. Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is a great addition to any garden as it not only adds an aesthetic value but also benefits wildlife by providing shelter and breeding ground for birds.

Plant Cultivation and Care

Preferred Growing Conditions

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is a low maintenance plant that is easy to grow. It thrives in full sun to partial shade and prefers well-draining, slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. The plant is also tolerant of a wide range of soil types, including sandy and clay soils.

This shrub is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8, making it suitable for a wide range of climates.

Potential Pest and Disease Issues

Although Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is relatively disease-resistant, there are a few issues that can arise if the plant’s growing conditions are not ideal. The plant is susceptible to fungal diseases such as twig blight and root rot if the soil does not drain well.

To prevent this, ensure that the soil is well-draining and avoid overwatering. The plant is also susceptible to pests such as spider mites and scale insects.

Monitor the plant regularly and treat any infestations promptly with neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Planting and Maintenance Tips

When planting Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop,’ ensure that the soil is well-draining and add organic matter such as compost to improve soil quality. Water the plant regularly the first year to help it establish roots and survive dry periods.

Once established, the plant is relatively drought-tolerant, but it may need occasional watering during periods of prolonged dryness. The plant may benefit from a slow-release fertilizer once a year in the spring to promote healthy growth.

Prune the plant lightly in late winter to early spring to shape it and encourage new growth. Avoid over-pruning as it may damage the plant’s structure.



Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is a unique and attractive plant that can be a great addition to any garden. Follow the recommended growing conditions and keep an eye out for any potential pest and disease issues to ensure this plant thrives in your garden.

Its ornamental value and ability to provide shelter for birds make it an excellent choice for gardeners who appreciate both aesthetic beauty and environmental responsibility.

Plant Propagation Methods – Sexual and

Asexual Reproduction

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ propagates through both sexual and asexual methods. Sexual reproduction is the process where the plant produces seeds, which germinate and grow into new plants.

In contrast, asexual reproduction involves cloning the plant by taking stem cuttings or using the layering method. Let’s explore each process in detail.

Sexual Reproduction

The Sawara cypress ‘Golden Mop’ produces male and female cones on separate plants. The male cones are small and brown, whereas the female cones are larger and rounder, starting green, then turning brown when the fertilization process is complete.

To propagate Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ through sexual reproduction, collect the brown mature female cones and store them in a cool and dry place. Once they’ve dried, break them open, and extract the seeds.

Before planting, stratify the seeds for 60 to 90 days, either naturally (by leaving them outside in the winter) or artificially (by soaking them in water for 24 hours and storing them in the refrigerator for the recommended time). Once the stratification process is complete, sow them in pots or seed trays filled with a well-draining potting mix.

Keep the soil moist and place the seedlings in a shaded area until they grow to about 5 to 8 inches tall, then transplant them to their permanent location.

Asexual Reproduction

Asexual propagation of Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is an ideal method if you want to maintain the plant’s desirable traits. Cloning the plant is done through stem cuttings or layering.

Stem Cuttings: Take cuttings during the spring or summer when the plant has actively growing tips. Cut a 6-inch section of new growth from the plant, remove the leaves on the lower half of the cutting, and dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder.

Plant the cutting in a well-draining rooting medium and keep in a humid environment, such as a clear plastic bag or covered with a propagating tray. After four to six weeks, check for root growth and transfer the cutting to its permanent location.

Layering: This method involves applying rooting hormone to a section of a branch and then bending it down to the soil surface while still attached to the parent plant. Secure the branch to the soil with a U-shaped wire or cover it with soil, then cover the area with mulch to retain moisture.

After a few months, the branch will produce roots, and it can be severed from the parent plant and transplanted to its permanent location.

Plant Adaptations to Different Environments

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is native to Japan, which has a temperate climate with cool, wet winters and warm, humid summers. It is known for being a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, from full sun to partial shade, and a variety of soils, including clay, loam, and sand.

One of the adaptations that enable Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ to survive in its native environment is its evergreen foliage. This evergreen habit allows the plant to conserve water during the winter months when water is scarce, and the lack of leaves on deciduous plants makes them more vulnerable to moisture loss.

The shrub also has an upright, compact habit, which makes it resistant to wind damage in areas with strong winds, such as coastal regions. The plant’s twigs are also pliable, enabling them to bend without breaking and helping the plant to withstand the weight of snow and ice during the winter months.

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ also has a root system that can adapt to various soil conditions. The root system is shallow, but it can spread wide, enabling the plant to access water and nutrients from throughout the soil.


Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is an attractive and versatile shrub that can be propagated through sexual and asexual methods. Its hardy nature and adaptability to different growing conditions make it an excellent choice for a wide range of garden styles.

Taking the time to propagate this plant allows gardeners to enjoy an attractive and unique plant while also contributing to its preservation and sustainability. Understanding its adaptations to different environments allows gardeners to make informed decisions about where to plant and how to care for this plant, ensuring its continued growth and beauty.

Usage of Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ in Indoor and Outdoor Settings

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is an evergreen shrub that can add a unique touch to both indoor and outdoor settings. With its unique golden foliage and easy-to-care-for habit, it can enhance the beauty of any space.

Usage of the Plant in Indoor Settings

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is an excellent plant for indoor settings due to its compact size and slow growth, making it suitable for small spaces. It can be grown in pots or containers, providing it with an excellent option for those who want to brighten up their living space with a splash of greenery.

When planting this shrub in containers, make sure to use well-draining soil and a pot with a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging. Also, ensure to place the plant in a location with bright, indirect light to promote healthy growth, and avoid exposure to direct sunlight.

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ can also be grown in low-light conditions, but the plant often loses its golden color and becomes a darker green. In such cases, consider supplementing the absent light with artificial indoor light.

Indoor planting also helps protect the plant against harsh weather conditions, pests, and diseases that affect outdoor plants. A potential downside to growing indoors is that the plant might attract pests such as spider mites if the environment is too dry.

One way to avoid this is by increasing humidity with a humidifier or regular misting.

Usage of the Plant in Outdoor Settings

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is an excellent plant for landscaping and outdoor garden settings. When grown in full sun exposure, its bright yellow-green foliage stands out, adding an ornamental value to the landscape.

In landscaping, this plant can form a hedge or serve as an accent plant, providing interest and variety to a garden. It can also be grown as a topiary, enhancing the aesthetics of the area.

When planting outdoors, ensure well-draining soil and top up mulches to retain moisture and reduce weed growth. While Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ can tolerate a wide range of soil types, avoid overly dry or wet soil conditions.

Be careful not to expose the plant to harsh winds, which can cause damage to the delicate foliage. Staking the plant or protecting it from strong winds may be necessary, depending on the location.

Another benefit of growing the Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ outdoors is its ability to provide habitat for birds and small animals. The plant provides a safe place for birds to rest, and its dense foliage offers protection from predators.

A combination of indoor and outdoor growing conditions depending on the season may also be possible. Those that grow Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ in containers can move the plant outdoors during the summer months to provide it with ample light and space to grow.


Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is a versatile plant suitable for indoor and outdoor growing spaces. It can add both ornamental and environmental values, making it an excellent choice for those looking to beautify their space and promote environmental sustainability.

It is important to consider the plant’s overall growth habit, environmental requirements, and potential challenges when planting to ensure the desired results. Ensure the plant has sufficient light and moisture, provide proper protection from pests and disease, and carefully manage its growth habit in a container or outdoor setting.

With proper care and maintenance, this plant can provide long-lasting and sustainable beauty to any setting, whether indoors or outdoors. So, why not consider adding this unique and attractive shrub to your collection today?

Toxicity of Chamaecyparis Pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ to Pets, Horses, and


While Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ offers stunning foliage, it is toxic to both pets and humans if ingested. The plant contains toxic compounds called hinokitiol and isocupressic acid, which can cause harm if consumed.

Pets and Horses

Ingestion of Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ can cause gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea in pets and horses. In severe cases, it can also lead to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, depending on the amount ingested.

Pets may also experience symptoms like excessive drooling, loss of appetite, and lethargy. If you suspect that your pet has ingested any part of this plant, it is essential to seek veterinary attention immediately.

Preventing access to the plant may provide the best option for ensuring pet safety.


Ingesting parts of the Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ plant can cause symptoms such as stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting in humans. These symptoms may not be particularly severe, and in most cases, a mild reaction may occur.

Skin contact with the plant can also cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction in some individuals. For those with sensitive skin, handling the plant with gloves may be necessary, and washing exposed areas is advised.

It is essential to keep this plant out of the reach of young children and individuals that may be prone to ingestion of non-food items. Proper labeling and educating people about the plant’s toxicity can also help minimize risks.


While the Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ shrub offers many ornamental benefits, it is crucial to be aware of its toxicity to pets, horses, and humans. The plant’s toxicity requires that steps be taken to ensure that it is kept out of reach, labeled appropriately, and that care is taken when handling its foliage.

Enjoying the beauty of a plant should never come at the expense of the safety of your pet, yourself, or others, so it’s always essential to keep an eye on those around the plant and seek immediate medical attention if any adverse reactions occur. In conclusion, Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is an attractive and hardy plant that can thrive in both indoor and outdoor settings.

Its unique golden foliage and easy-to-care-for habit make it a popular choice among gardeners. However, it is crucial to keep in mind the plant’s toxicity to pets and humans, making it necessary to handle this plant with care.

Whether you are a beginner or seasoned gardener, growing this plant can add beauty and diversity to your landscapes, and our FAQs cover the most common questions surrounding the plant to ensure its successful growth and safety. FAQs:

Q: Is Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ poisonous to pets and humans?

A: Yes, the plant contains toxic compounds that can cause gastrointestinal irritation if ingested. Q: What are the preferred growing conditions for Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’?

A: The plant thrives in full sun to partial shade with well-draining soil and prefers a slightly acidic pH range of 5.5-6.5.

Q: Can Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ grow indoors? A: Yes, the plant can be grown indoors provided it has access to bright, indirect light and humid conditions.

Q: What is the best way to propagate Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’? A: The plant can be propagated through both sexual and asexual methods, including seed germination, stem cuttings, and layering.

Q: How do I care for Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’? A: It is essential to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, avoid harsh winds, and prune the plant lightly in late winter to early spring to promote healthy growth.

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