My miniature container gardens have really come to life the past few weeks. All the dwarf and miniature conifers are pushing their new growth and the companion succulents and mini-heathers are performing admirably. Two of the hot spots in my containers right now are both miniature Hinoki Cypress cultivars selected for their bright gold foliage color and extremely slow growth rates.
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Golden Sprite’ has been a favorite of mine for many years. This little nugget of gold has tiny foliage that slowly grows into an irregularly shaped mound that is broader than tall. At fifteen years old, my oldest specimen is nearly 10 inches across and approximately seven inches tall. The foliage is so tight that I can barely stick a finger into this plant. I love its unusual mounded shape – this one really has a lot of character.
Another golden nugget of conifer joy is Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Butter Ball’. At first glance, you might think it’s identical to ‘Golden Sprite’, but upon closer inspection you’ll find that it is a more open grower giving it a chance to “breathe” a little bit. The tiny foliage is more a lemon-yellow color and it is noticeably looser than that of ‘Golden Sprite’ suggesting a slightly faster growth rate. Mine is still quite young, and it will have many more years in its current container before I will need to become concerned with transplanting it into the garden.
Both these little golden nuggets are valuable additions to my container garden. As they mature, I look forward to placing them in my rock garden (which will give me an excuse to purchase a couple more small ones to re-plant into containers.)