How to Care for Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ (Golden Mop Cypress)

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’ is a variety of cypress plants commonly known as the Golden Mop Cypress, Golden Mop False Cypress, Japanese False Cypress, Threadleaf False Cypress, and Golden Mop. Golden Mop Cypress are grown for their beautiful golden foliage, this golden color is also the reason behind their name as well. If you are looking forward to adding some more colors into your garden rather than the traditional green, they are a perfect choice.

Their small size and evergreen nature make them a perfect choice for both indoor and outdoor decoration. The Golden Mop Cypress is a shrub-like plant, with small size and thick branching. The main stem evolves into many branches and these branches then divide into sub-branches that are covered with green needle-like leaves. The color of these leaves is Golden or pale yellow. The Golden Mop Cypress plant can reach up to 5 feet in height and can cover almost 3 to 5 feet ground.

The Golden Mop Cypress retain their greenish-golden foliage all year long. Their leaves are needle-like in shape, branches are covered with these leaves. They do not require much effort in maintenance, you can easily prune them to give any shape you want.

Growing Conditions and Requirements

The Golden Mop Cypress plants need full sun to partial shade depending upon your location. If you are planting them in a cold region then you must plant them in a place where they can get enough sunlight during the day and in hot regions, plant them in a way that they are under the shade during the midday.

They grow in a variety of soils very well, including clay, sandy, and loam. They require the soil to be rich in organic matter and nutrients. The soil must be well-draining and allow the excess water to move out. They are native to the cold regions, so they can survive the cold temperatures, but they need protection from a prolonged winter and frost. If you do not protect them, they will shed all their leaves and turn brown.

The Golden Mop Cypress needs proper and regular watering, the soil must remain moist for most of the time during the summer. Proper fertilization also helps the plant quickly grow. Use the recommended fertilizers to boost growth. They need pruning regularly and repotting if they are planted in the small planters. They also need protection from the attacks of spider mites, fungi, and plant pathogens.

Below are the details about the growing conditions and requirements:

Water Requirements

The Golden Mop Cypress needs the soil to be moist. Proper and regulated watering helps them thrive. They do not like to be overwatered or kept dry for the long term. If they face any type of water-related issues (overwatering or low-watering) they tend to change their foliage color. In some severe cases, the foliage can even turn to brown.

Watering of the Golden Mop Cypress plants depends on the location of the plant, age, size of the plant, weather, climate, and seasons. For example, the small plants and the plants in the pots need frequent watering but only a small amount of water meanwhile the matured plants need less frequent watering and more amount of water.

Below are the details about properly watering the Golden Mop Cypress:

●     Watering starts as soon as you plant or transfer and already planted Golden Mop Cypress. You need to provide water more frequently. Watering it once every day during the summer and once every second day in the winter. Maintain this frequency of watering for almost the whole season or 4 months at least. Remember the small plants and newly grown plants need less amount of water and avoid overwatering.

●     Once the plant is 4 to 5 months old, its roots start to settle down in the ground and it can now extract from the soil, now you can reduce the frequency of watering to once in every two days during the summer and once every third day during the winter. Also, you need to increase the amount of water you provide. Gradually increase the amount of water you provide for your plant.

●     Keep following the previous watering frequency unless the plant reaches a height of almost 1 foot. A Golden Mop Cypress plant of this size can obtain water from the deep soil. You can now reduce the frequency of watering and only give them water once every third or fourth day in the summer and every sixth or seventh day in the winter.

●     If the plant is grown in a hot climate, you will need to give them more water than a plant that is grown in a cold area. In the hot areas, sunlight and hotness cause the water to quickly evaporate and the soil becomes dry very soon. That is why Golden Mop Cypress plants in the hot areas need more water.

Try to avoid overwatering as it can seriously damage the roots of the plant and can cause root rot and also avoid dry conditions as well.

Lighting Requirements

The Golden Mop Cypress plants are native to Japan, and they grow naturally in a bright and cold climate. They need plenty of sunlight to grow and thrive. You can grow them in both indoor and outdoor conditions. You must plant them in a way that they receive enough sunlight every day. Keep them in an area where they can get direct or indirect sunlight for almost 6 hours a day.

If you are looking forward to growing them indoors, you must keep them somewhere bright, a place where they are under the direct or indirect sunlight during the morning. In extremely hot areas, they need protection from the sun during the hot times of the day. Plant them in a way that they receive sunlight during the morning and the evening, while they are under the shade during the midday.

Growing them without sunlight or in an area where they do not receive enough sunlight, they will not produce their golden foliage. The color of their foliage will gradually turn brown and leaves will die. The plants that are grown indoors or under the low light, also tend to attract more pests and pathogens.

Temperature Requirements

The Golden Mop Cypress plants like to be grown in cold climates but you can also grow them in slightly hot areas as well. They are winter hardy plants and can even survive the cold winters and frost as well. The Golden Mop Cypress plants are considered winter hardy in the USDA zone from 4 to 8.

The Golden Mop Cypress can even survive the temperatures below freezing points for a brief period. You can grow them in areas where temperature can go up to -30 F. Apart from the cold regions, they grow very well in slightly hot areas as well. If the temperatures are between 0 to 20 F, they will thrive. 

In areas where winter lasts for the long term, they might need protection from the frost. Keep them indoors during the winter to protect them from the extreme cold and frost. This is similar to the hot areas as well. You can protect them by keeping them indoors and providing a controlled temperature.

Soil Requirements

The Golden Mop Cypress plants need well-draining soil to grow. This type of soil protects them from the effects of overwatering. A well-draining soil allows the water to quickly move out. This type of porous soil is also used for many other Cypress plant species as well.

The Golden Mop Cypress grows very well in the slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soils, they can also grow in the loam, sandy, and clay soils as well. The soil must contain organic matter and essential nutrients for the proper growth of the Golden Mop Cypress.

This type of porous and nutrient-rich soil mostly consists of cocopeat, pumice, perlite, organic matter, pebbles, compost, and mulch. Adding a layer of mulch allows the soil to remain moist for long in case of any drought conditions. You can also add the plant fertilizers to boost the initial stage growth of your Golden Mop Cypress plant as well.

Fertilizer Requirements

The Golden Mop Cypress plants need a lot of nutrients to properly grow and maintain their iconic foliage color. You can provide them all these nutrients in terms of fertilizers. The nutrients in the soil in which the plant is planted, are only in a limited amount. Once these limited nutrients deplete, the growth of the plant stops if you do not feed fertilizers to your plant.

Before fertilizing your Golden Mop Cypress, you should know about the soil and the fertilizers. You need a soil test to determine the deficiency of the nutrients in the soil so that you can only apply the fertilizer that contains that nutrient. This helps use fertilizers more efficiently. Before fertilizing your plants, you should know more about the types of fertilizers, this will help you use the fertilizers more effectively.

These are the major types of fertilizers: Nitrogen-based fertilizers, Phosphorus based fertilizers, Potassium based fertilizers, Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur-based fertilizers. There are many other fertilizers as well that comprise micronutrients. Each fertilizer is used for a different purpose and in a different way. Some of these fertilizers are in small rounded structures while some are in the form of liquid.

There are three different methods to use fertilizers. Below are their details:

  1. This method is used before planting the Golden Mop Cypress. In this method, a required amount of any required fertilizer is taken and mixed with the soil, after that soil is given some water so that fertilizer will dissolve and become a part of the soil. This method helps boost the early-stage growth of your Golden Mop Cypress. This is a very effective method to use fertilizers. You can also use this method if your soil is poor and has a deficiency of main nutrients.
  2. The second method is used when the plant has gained a significant height. Once the plant reaches 2 feet or higher, you can use this method. It involves spreading the fertilizer around the stem in the soil. For this, you need to take the required amount of the fertilizer that you are using and simply spread it all around the stem in the soil. After that, provide your plant some water, this will help the fertilizer dissolve and quickly become available to the plant.
  3. The third method is widely used for many plants including the Golden Mop Cypress as well. This requires taking a recommended fertilizer and creating a mixture with a measured amount of water. Once the mixture is created, you can feed this mixture to your plants regularly. Mostly the Golden Mop Cypress only needs fertilizer once every 15 to 20 days.

Do not over-fertilize your plants, this is extremely harmful and damages the foliage, and roots of the plant. Always use the fertilizers according to the guidelines and recommendations that are provided with the fertilizer. This helps you use the fertilizers more efficiently and you can see better results.

Pruning Requirements

The Golden Mop Cypress plant is an evergreen and constantly growing plant. It grows a lot of branches and sub-branches. These are covered with thin needle-like leaves. The whole plant keeps growing, and if not pruned, can create a mess. Pruning also helps the plant to grow and thrive. It encourages the growth of new leaves and branches. It also helps the parts of plants that are infected with diseases.

Pruning is mostly done before the spring but you can also prune them during the summer as well. For pruning, use a sharp pruning cutter or scissors. Start by identifying and cutting all the dead parts or diseased parts of the plants. Once you are done with these, you can start giving the Golden Mop Cypress plant any shape that you want. Most of the people choose a pyramid shape.

Repotting Requirements

The Golden Mop Cypress plants require repotting once every year. The small plants grow large very quickly and need to be repotted. Otherwise, their growth will stop as the roots will find no place to grow. Repotting should be done after the spring. To repot your Golden Mop Cypress, choose a two-inch bigger pot and use a well-draining nutrients rich soil.

Fill the planter half with the soil and then uproot and transfer the Golden Mop Cypress. After transferring it to the new pot, fill the pot with potting soil, and provide it some water. While uprooting and transferring, make sure you are not causing any damage to the roots of the Golden Mop Cypress. Any damage to the main roots can lead to the death of the plant. After repotting, provide the plant some water and keep them in a bright place. 

Pests and Problems

There are many pests and problems that Golden Mop Cypress faces, below are the details about them and methods to control them:

Spider Mites: Attacks of Spider Mites are very common in the Cypress family. They also attack the Golden Mop Cypress. Most of these attacks happen when the plant is kept in a damp and low light environment. The outdoor plants mostly do not face this situation while indoor plants more commonly face it. You need to keep looking for the signs of attack, and if you see any you should use water spray on your plant to get rid of them, after water spraying, use the neem oil. If this doesn’t help, you can use the chemical sprays as well.

Cypress Cankers: Cankers in the Cypress are caused by a fungus; it attacks the stem and branches of the Golden Mop Cypress. It cracks the barks and releases toxins that can sometimes kill the entire plant. They mostly attack the indoor plants or the plants that are kept in a damp, moist, and low light environment. The only way to prevent this by making sure that the foliage of your plant is dry and no moisture is on the branches and stem. If you see any signs of attack, you must remove the branches that are impacted.

Bark Moths: Barks Moths also attack the indoor plants mostly. These moths attack the bark and eat it. They are mostly found under the bark so it is hard to find them and remove them. They can damage the whole plant if not taken care of. The first thing you can do is to look for any signs of attack on the bark and if you see any signs, remove that part of the stem or branches. You can also use a broad-spectrum insecticide spray.

Tip Miners: This is also a type of Moths; they attack the tips of the branches. First, a female lays eggs, these eggs turn into larvae and these larvae feed on these tips. They hollow the parts of branches. You can try shaking the whole plant, this will rattle the new eggs and larvae, and they might fall on the ground. If this doesn’t work, use a powerful insecticide to kill the population.

Root Rot: Root Rot is mostly caused by overwatering, over-feeding of fertilizer, and a root eating fungus. If a plant is overwatered, the spores of this fungi sprout and start decaying the roots of the plant. The best way to prevent this is by regulating water and fertilizer use.

How to Propagate?

There are two different ways to propagate the Golden Mop Cypress, first one involves taking cuttings from the matured plant and then planting them. The second method involves dividing the root bulbs and then planting them in two different pots or soils. If you are looking forward to growing them with the help of cuttings, you should always take cuttings from a mature plant and keep them in the rooting hormones for some time.

Once the roots appear, you can transfer them into the new pots. And if you are looking forward to growing them with the help of root ball divisions, you must uproot the plant and divide the root ball into two equal pieces, after that plant each piece into a different pot. Provide them water and let them grow.

Frequently Asked Question:

Question: How to keep the Gold Mop Cypress small?

Answer: The Gold Mop Cypress or Golden Mop Cypresses are already small plants; they only grow up to 5 feet. But if you want to keep their height shorter than this, you can prune them more often. Remove the upper branches and cut the tip of the stem. If you want to control the width of the plant, then you can cut the branches as well to maintain a small plant.

Question: Why is my Golden Mop Cypress turning brown?

Answer: The foliage of the Golden Mop Cypress can turn brown if the plant is not being taken care of properly. Root rot, Low light, low water or overwatering, low availability of fertilizers can lead to these problems.

Question: How to fertilizer the Golden Mop Cypress?

Answer: There are three different ways to fertilize your Golden Mop Cypress, first one includes adding the fertilizer into the potting soil before plantation, the second one involves spreading the fertilizer in the soil once the plant has gained a significant height. And the third one involves creating a mixture of fertilizer and water and then feeding this to the plants.

Question: Golden Mop Cypress maximum size?

Answer: The maximum size of the Golden Mop Cypress plant is 6 feet. Most of the plants only reach up to three feet, but the plants that are planted in favorable environments can grow significantly large.