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I moved into a new place with a very small 'yard'. I would like to plant a Hinoki cypress, but there is no direct access to the earth because the whole yard is covered with deck or porch.

There is a fairly large planter adjacent to the porch, ~6'x3' right triangle, about 3' tall. The walls are concrete block (most of the exposed face is two blocks thick), and the bottom is 'lined' with additional concrete block/rubble, then filled with about 18" of soil.

Question: If I plant a dwarf Hinoki Cypress (nana gracilis) in the wide end, can it thrive? What can I do to improve its chances?

Some other info about the planter:

  • It is on the south-facing part of the building, so gets a decent amount of sun.
  • Climate-wise, I live in the Boston, MA area.
  • I could remove the concrete blocks in the bottom to double the depth of the planter, which would then be contiguous with the soil below.
  • I haven't found any draining holes in the side of the planter, but I'm not sure if that matters given the way it's built (open to the earth below).

Large planter constructed from blocks

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I would say "give it a shot"! Plant the Hinoki Cypress when snow starts to thaw, and not too late into the spring, so it has enough water to develop a solid root system.

According to this article the plant is fit for your zone (USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 through 8). You can find other tips on how to maximize the odds of your cypress surviving on that article.

Good luck and let us know how the fair tree fares!

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