Six bonsai species from the Cupressaceae family

I have recently started collecting seedlings/cuttings for bonsai from the cypress family, Cupressaceae. This is an interesting family of trees that includes a couple of endangered/relic California species. Last year I bought several individuals belonging to six species: Santa Cruz cypress, Monterey cypress, Tecate cypress, Incense cedar, hinoki cypress, and Japanese cedar. The first four are native to California and the the last two are classic species used in Japanese bonsai.

The seedlings in this post are all a long time away from being bonsais. I hope to follow the development of these trees through the years as I learn about this interesting family.

January 2, 2022:
The Santa Cruz cypress today. The species name is Hesperocyparis abramsiana (formerly classified as Cupressus abramsiana). This species was classified as endangered in 1987, then reclassified as threatened in 2016.
October 30, 2021:
The Santa Cruz cypress when I received it from
January 2, 2022:
Three Monterey cypress (Callitropsis macrocarpa) from, also received on October 30.
January 2, 2022:
The Monterey cypresses after wiring. Some of the other species in this family, such as Incense and Japanese cedars, I will try develop in the formal upright style.
December 12, 2021:
A stand of native Tecate cypresses (Hesperocyparis forbesii) on Guatay Peak in San Diego County. The trees are to the right side of the trail on a north-facing slope. These are a relic species from when California was wetter and cooler in the past. They require fire to open the cones and release the seeds, but too frequent fires will kill the seedlings.
December 20, 2021:
Four Tecate cypress seedlings from
December 20, 2021:
Strong roots, preparing to plant in bonsai soil.
January 2, 2022:
Four seedlings and three cuttings of Tecate cypress.
October 30, 2021:
Incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) from
January 2, 2022:
The incense cedar today.
October 28, 2021:
A dwarf hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtuse) from Brussel’s bonsai.
January 2, 2022:
The tree today. These trees do best in Hardiness Zones 4 to 8. I am in Zone 10b, so will need to be careful of not supplying too much heat and direct sunlight this summer.
October 30, 2021:
Three Japanese cedars (Cryptomeria japonica) from The copper-colored tips are a seasonal response to cold weather.
January 2, 2022:
The three Japanese cedars today. These trees do best in Hardiness Zones 4 through 9, so again I will need to be protective of these trees during summer. The previously copper-colored needles have turned bright green, perhaps indicating the trees are already responding to warmer weather.


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