The Magic Dragon Japanese Cedar is a fast-growing evergreen tree that is ideal for a graceful, upright specimen, a hedge, or as a screen to enclose your garden. It is the fastest growing form of Japanese Cedar, and can grow up to 18 inches a year. Soon it will be a tall column 10, 20 or even 30 feet tall, yet it keeps its narrow form, so it is ideal for a small to medium-sized garden. Besides being fast-growing, it also keeps its rich green color all winter, while most other forms of this plant turn bronze and are less attractive. This means it is ideal for a hedge that is always green, no matter the season. Its foliage is soft to the touch, so it is an ideal evergreen for spots in your garden where people pass close to it, and for areas used by children.
- Fastest-growing Japanese Cedar variety
- Beautiful upright form for specimens or screens
- Soft green foliage stays green all winter
- Needs no trimming to keep it columnar form
- Easily grown and deer resistant too
The Magic Dragon Japanese Cedar will grow best planted in a sunny or lightly-shaded location, in any well-drained soil. Once your plants are well established in your garden, they will tolerate some drought, but this plant does best with regular watering and grows especially well in areas with high rainfall. This is an easily grown plant, with no pests or diseases and usually not eaten by deer. It can be trimmed or left to grow naturally – whichever you do it will be dense and neat, never growing into a large, untidy plant.
Japanese cedar is an attractive evergreen for gardens, with soft, mid-green foliage that is a good addition to any planting arrangement. However, most varieties of Japanese cedar are small, slow-growing rounded bushes of only ordinary charms. What is magical about the Magic Dragon Japanese Cedar is its growth-rate. This tree grows 12 to 18 inches a year, so it rapidly develops into a beautiful evergreen specimen in your garden. It can be used as a single specimen, as an upright group among other plants, or as a beautiful, soft hedge. This makes it especially valuable in new gardens, where rapid growth is important to establish the form and structure of your garden. This tree is also unusual because it remains a lovely green color all winter, rather than turning a dull bronze, as many other varieties of Japanese cedar do.
Growing Magic Dragon Japanese Cedar
The Magic Dragon Japanese Cedar grows rapidly into an upright narrow pyramid of green, with soft foliage that gives the whole tree a delicate appearance, although it is in fact a tough, reliable plant. It will soon reach 10 feet tall, and if unpruned it will continue to grow to perhaps 30 feet tall. All this time it will stay quite narrow, in a slightly pyramidal shape. Trees that are 10 feet tall are normally no more than 3 feet across, and even at full size it will not be more than 10 feet wide.
When this tree is young it’s rounded, and it may take a couple of years to establish itself in your garden before sending up tall central shoots and beginning its rapid growth into an upright form. These shoots are easily removed to keep your plant rounded, if you wish to do that. The whole plant is easily trimmed into shape, if you want a more formal structure in your garden. For a hedge, plant in a row, spacing the plants 3 feet apart. For an informal screen, space plants 4 or 5 feet apart.
Uses in Your Garden
This form creates a lovely upright accent in the garden, and it looks especially beautiful clustered in a group of 3 plants, or even 5 in a larger garden. A pair can be grown to frame a doorway or entrance. One or a group can be planted near your home to fill an awkward corner, or the space between windows. If you want a narrow hedge or screen, then this is an ideal choice. With its rapid rate of growth you soon will have a lovely hedge, which can be clipped into a neat, formal shape, or allowed to grow naturally into a dense screen. It is an ideal choice for medium-sized screens between 6 and 15 feet tall.
Planting and Initial Care
Plant your Magic Dragon Japanese Cedar in a sunny or lightly-shaded location, in an area that does not get too dry, but that is not always wet. Enrich the soil with plenty of organic material when planting, and mulch your trees each year with a rich, organic mulch such as compost or manure. It has no significant pests or diseases, and it is rarely bothered by deer. This is an easy, yet handsome plant to grow, and will be a lovely addition to any garden. It is especially useful for Japanese-inspired gardens, and looks wonderful behind Japanese Maples and other Asian plants, such as Nandina, the sacred bamboo.
History and Origins of the Magic Dragon Cryptomeria Tree
Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) is a tall forest tree that is native to Japan, where it can grow over 200 feet tall. In its natural form it is grown mainly as a lumber tree and the aromatic, light wood is highly prized. Because it has been cultivated for centuries a great many different varieties have been collected, but many are simply small, round shrubs that are good choices for lower foundation planting. The variety ‘Gyokuryu’ means ‘jade dragon’ in Japanese, referring to it always staying green throughout the winter months. This selection was introduced into the USA from Japan in 1967 by the conifer collector Joel Spingarn of Baldwin, Long Island.