What: Cryptomeria japonica “Cristata,” commonly called crested Japanese cedar, is one of the weirdest evergreen conifers you can grow. It has an attractive columnar form with a full habit. The eye-catching trait is the odd, congested growth of bright green foliage on the tips of many of its branches. These unusual growths are reminiscent of a cluster of cockscombs all glued together. Use it as a specimen, with lots of space around it, and visitors are sure to comment. It looks best with smaller, less eye-catching plants at its base.
Where: This unusual Japanese cedar thrives in full sun to light or open shade. It prefers a site with well-drained soil, but it will tolerate sandy or clay soils.
Size: The columnar conifer grows to be 25 feet tall and 12 feet wide when mature.
Care: Provide occasional watering during dry weather. It needs very little pruning. Young plants may grow quickly when first planted, but within a few years the rate slows. Overly vigorous shoots can be pruned off to maintain its shape.
— Richie Steffen