A tall, pyramidal tree with somewhat drooping and contorted branches, the Japanese larch has finely textured, short tufts of blue-green needles that become yellow in autumn and drop away in time for winter. From Japan, this cone-bearing tree is deciduous with a beige-gray or rusty brown bark that is scaly and lightly ridged. When young it is an upright, pyramid-like tree, but then ages to have quite an open habit with truly drooping, horizontal branches.
In spring the youngest, purpled-tinged branch twigs fill with clusters of short, light green needles that mature to more blue-green or gray-green. Rather than spring flowers, this tree produces both male and female cones. Male cones are small, round and yellow, whereas the female cones are more cylindrical in shape and colored red, pink, yellow or green. Not overly showy overall, but the flowering cones are peculiar and interesting when viewed up close. The fertilized female cones develop into purple and then brown woody cones that linger and decorate the branches for an additional year. The mature cones are more round than oblong and resemble a rosette, almost like the flower of a hybrid tea rose. Birds flock to this tree.
Grow Japanese larch in full sun locations in any variety of deep soil that has good drainage. As it is deciduous, it is very tolerant of many conditions, including very cold, windy or seasonally dry areas. Use it as a specimen tree in the landscape, especially as a feature near a body of still or running water.
Information source: Learn2Grow.com
Genus - Larix
Species - Kaempferi
Common name - Japanese Larch
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 4 - 7
Height - 50'-70' / 15 - 21 m
Spread - 20'-40' / 6 - 12 m
Plant type - Large Tree
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Well Drained
Water requirements - Drought tolerant, average water
Landscape uses - Feature Plant
Bloom season - Spring
Leaf / Flower color - Blue Green, Gray Green / --
|Germination||Seed - sow late winter in pots in a cold frame. One months cold stratification helps germination.|
STRATIFICATION: Seeds need 30 days pre-chill period. Seeds can be stratified in dampened peat or sand, in a plastic box or bag at +4 - +5C in a refrigerator. The seeds should not be frozen or in a wet medium.
It is best to give the seedlings light shade for the first year. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots. Although only a few centimetres tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions in the summer providing you give them an effective weed-excluding mulch and preferably some winter protection for their first year. Otherwise grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in early summer of the following year.
If you are growing larger quantities of plants, you can sow the seed in an outdoor seedbed in late winter. Grow on the seedlings in the seedbed for a couple of years until they are ready to go into their permanent positions then plant them out during the winter.