Planting Japanese Sickle Fir - Instructions & Tips


Once the right location for the Japanese sickle fir has been found, the rapidly growing coniferous tree can give gardeners a lot of pleasure.

© ChrWeiss -

Although conifers do not provide flowers or attract insects, they are green all year round and provide a lot of shade. Adult conifers are also ideal as a privacy screen, which is why they are used by many gardeners with large plots as a change from the usual hedge. The Japanese Sickle Tree delights many lovers of rather special pieces - and is often used for bonsai. The Japanese sickle fir - also called Cryptomeria Japonica - which belongs to the cypress family, comes from Japan and southern China, but also grows particularly nicely when planted artificially in Europe. We would like to explain below how to plant them correctly and what you need to know about them beforehand.

Japanese sickle fir - characteristics

The cryptomeria japonica, which is native to Japan and southern China, is one of the most widespread forest dwellers in Japan and is growing very rapidly. The slender conifer is mainly used in Japan for the extraction of wood and has a reddish bark that is very fibrous. In Europe, a Japanese sickle fir can reach around 20 meters in height. The crown, which spreads out over time, is up to nine meters wide. It is practical that the Japanese sickle fir is almost resistant to most diseases or pests that forest trees can deal with - this saves a lot of effort and time during later maintenance. Even in the first year of life, a Japanese sickle fir made of female flowers can bear cones up to three centimeters long, which have the typical cone shape and occur in autumn.

Gardeners like to rely on the subspecies of the Japanese sickle tree called Chris Tatathat also as Hahnenkamm sickle fir referred to as. In this type of sickle fir, stems that grow together form wave-like coniferous plants, which are more reminiscent of corals than of a coniferous tree and therefore appear somewhat strange at first glance. Because exactly this property is so exciting for many plant enthusiasts and gives something new to the look of the sickle fir, it is very popular - also because it only grows up to 12 meters high and is therefore easier to care for.

Planting Japanese Sickle Fir - what you need to know to plant conifers

In order to be able to plant the Japanese Sickle Fir, you first need to know something about the location and soil that it needs and prefers for good growth. The best thing for the Japanese sickle fir is a humid climate and mild temperatures in winter. At the same time, a protected location is ideal for the Japanese Sickle Fir, but it can be calmly flooded with sun.

❶ Soil quality

As for the soil, the Japanese sickle fir should be able to be rooted in a damp soil that is low in lime. Soil containing humus is ideal for this conifer. It should also be noted that the Japanese sickle fir does not have very deep and strong roots in very nutrient-rich soils - which means that it can easily be overturned or damaged in a storm. A rather nutrient-poor soil causes the Japanese sickle fir to take root more deeply in order to reach the nutrients - and thus also to maintain a more stable level.

❷ Suitable location with the best conditions

If you have found a place in the garden or on the property that provides the properties that the Japanese conifer needs, it is important to determine and prepare the exact planting location. One should pay particular attention to the need for space of the needle fir, which can be up to 20 meters high and nine meters wide depending on the subspecies. It is therefore important that you keep a distance of at least ten meters from other trees and plants. Also consider sidewalks or terraces that are nearby and also house walls. The roots could damage them if a distance of at least eight meters is not taken into account.

❸ Plant Japanese sickle fir

When preparing the soil for planting, it is important to dig a planting hole that is at least one meter wide and twice as long as the root ball of the young plant. The humus-rich, but nutrient-poor soil of the garden or special soil can be used to fill up the planting hole after planting and pound the tree. Fertilization after planting or at all should be avoided as this makes the roots more vulnerable and they do not grow as deep as is necessary for a stable stand in wind and weather.

The early years of the young Japanese sickle tree in the garden are the most important, since the young conifers are not yet completely frost-proof. So you should take good care to prepare them for the winter: for example with the help of leaves or fir branches on the root area and on the trunk, as well as fleece on the bottom and around the crown. If there is little rainfall after planting and in winter, water should be watered as the conifer likes it to be moist. By the way, the best time to plant the Japanese Sickle Fir is in the spring, so that it can be deeply rooted enough to use the geothermal energy in winter and not freeze to death. If you want to keep the Japanese Sickle Fir as a bonsai, you should bring it to a cool but frost-protected room for the winter and protect it with fleece.

Benefits of the Japanese Sickle FirDisadvantages of the Japanese Sickle Fir
  • does not require nutrient-rich soils
  • does not need to be fertilized
  • grows very quickly, can be used as a screen or shade
  • no special soil is necessary if the soil contains humus
  • no green thumb or expert knowledge necessary
  • requires sufficient distance
  • must be kept very moist
  • needs help with wintering, since young plants are not very frost-proof
  • can be knocked over quickly by wind and weather if the roots are not deep enough


For safety and to make it easier to remember, here are all the features that you should consider when planting the Japanese Sickle Fir: