Cryptomeria japonica ‘Sekkan-sugi’

golden Japanese cedar

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Cryptomeria japonica 'Sekkan-sugi' was introduced from Japan to American horticulture around 1970. The foliage is tipped creamy yellow and is most intense when growth is new in spring and early summer. It is a visually dominant tree in the landscape because the foliage color is so intense and shines like a beacon if planted against a medium or dark green backdrop. If you are not a fan of golden foliage this is not the tree for you. Plant with grey needled conifers like Chamaecycaris pisifera 'Boulevard', Sequoia sempervirens 'Aptos Blue' or Cupressus arizonica, the lighter blue needled confers temper the shining gold of 'Sekkan-sugi'. If you would like to pull out the stops plant in combination with purple foliage plants like Sambucus nigra 'Black Night', Cryptomeria japonica Elegans Group, Fagus sylvatica 'Dawyck', Cotinus 'Grace', Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo', and Berberis thunbergii 'Royal Cloak', or with an underplanting of the magenta fruited Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' and Clematis 'Polish Spirit'.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: columnar conifer

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 30 ft. 0 in. (9.14 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light, open, or dappled shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: variegated, bronze, burgundy, blue

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, gold

Culture Notes
This brightly colored Japanese cedar thrives in full sun to dappled shade. It prefers a site with well-drained soil, but it will tolerate sandy or clay soils. During dry weather provide occasional watering. It needs very little pruning. Young plants may grow quickly when first planted but within a few years it will slow and become more dense.