Twisted sisters

I remember the first time I saw a conifer with twisted or contorted foliage. What a strangely appealing and unique plant it was. Today, I’ll share with you two of my favorite “twisted” conifers with yellow foliage.
Chamaecyparis obtusa Sunny Swirl
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Sunny Swirl'

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Sunny Swirl’ is a selection discovered at Iseli Nursery. This special plant has the same twisted, contorted foliage as C.o. ‘Torulosa’ (its mother plant) but with yellow foliage. Its lack of chlorophyll probably accounts for its yellow color and its slower growth rate causing it to fall into border of the dwarf and intermediate categories of conifer growth rates. I love the texture this plant provides and its yellow color is a definite bonus. Growing in full sun intensifies the color, but ‘Sunny Swirl’ will tolerate some shade.

Chamaecyparis obtusa Lemon Twist
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Lemon Twist'

The second yellow conifer I’ll mention today also has tiny, twisted, cord-like foliage. Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Lemon Twist’ is a delightfully slow grower staying more compact than ‘Sunny Swirl’. This is a selection from Buchholz Nursery of a yellow sport originating on Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Tsatsumi’. Due to its small, rounded habit, ‘Lemon Twist’ is ideal for container gardens, patios, the rock garden and even table top gardens when a smaller plant is purchased in one of those cute 4″ pots available at the local fine garden center.

Both plants offer great texture and color to the garden however you may choose to use them. I have a ‘Sunny Swirl’ in my garden that is nearly 4 feet tall now and a couple little ‘Lemon Twist’s in containers on my patio.

Next time: Golden yellow miniatures!

Conifer Lover


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