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Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoods Pillar' For Miniature Gardens


Young C.lawsoniana 'Ellwoods Pillar' for use in miniature and fairy gardens and garden railroads.

A slow growing, dwarf, columnar variety of Port Orford Cedar, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoods Pillar' is suitable for miniature and fairy gardens as well as garden railroads.

Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd

'Ellwood's Pillar' variety of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana for Miniature Gardens:

This particular dwarf columnar variety of 'Port Orford Cedar' is a wonderful accent for small scale gardens or garden railroads. The dense growth in a narrow upright column resembles Italian Cypress in a scale form, and the growth habit of C.lawsonaii 'Ellwoods Pillar' ensures it will keep its small stature for many years in containers or small scale gardens.

Tiny blue green needles are held on small upright branches. The growth is generally less than 3 inches a year, with the plant reaching around 3 ft (90 cm) with a width of twelve to fifteen inches (30-40cm) in ten years.

Care of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana var. 'Ellwoods Pillar':

Like its larger cousins, this version of C.lawsoniana prefers acid soils which are moist but well drained, and likes positions in full sun. The soil must be well drained to prevent the root rot to which these plants can be prone.

When planting 'Ellwoods Pillar', gently separate the roots from the pot soil and spread them out into new soil in a container, tamping the soil down well after planting. Use a well drained soil or sandy mix of potting soil and builders sand, and make sure the plant is sited in a container or garden where the soil will drain well in winter rains. If you are working in limited space conditions or apartment gardening, check for soil mixes designed for African violets. These soils often have sand mixed in as african violets prefer well drained soils which retain moisture, much like the requirements for 'Ellwoods Pillar'.

Setting C.lawsoniana 'Ellwood's Pillar' Into a Miniature Garden Scene:

With it's narrow, growth habit, you can set 'Ellwood's Pillar' anywhere you want a tall accent for a small garden. It is possible to keep growth even more restricted by careful root and tip pruning, although as the plant has such slow growth anyway, it may be easier to leave it in a container setting for several years, eventually moving it to a larger container or in ground garden. If setting this tree into an in ground garden, make sure it has some shelter from cold drying winds, and is in a position with as much sun as possible. Constant shade may cause dieback of the base growth which cannot be replaced.

The dark blue green foliage and narrow upright shape make a great contrast against rocks or lower conifers with yellow gold needles.

Where to Find C.lawsoniana var 'Ellwoods Pillar'

The plant I used for this article, and for fairy gardens, was sourced from Tiny Treasures Nursery in Oregon. They sell a number of miniature plants suitable for containers, or in ground gardens, and have an online store.

In your local nursery, search for 'Ellwoods Pillar' in the alpine or rock garden section.

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