Japanese Holly Cloud Trees | by Myles Challis

Japan is well-known for its artful practice of cloud pruning or shaping trees and shrubs.  These plants are formed into large curved shapes or sculptures and are a key ingredient in creating a peaceful Japanese Zen garden.   

Japanese topiary - cloud trees for sale - London UK
Japanese Holly Cloud Trees – for sale at Paramount Plants, London

Native to Japan there is nothing which draws as much attention as a fine specimen Cloud Tree.  Certainly they make a statement either as the ultimate in pot plants or planted in the ground.  In planters they work well planted as a pair either side of a front door.

Looking reminiscent of bonsai (but on much larger scale) these trees are equally slow growing because of the years it take to create their impressive structure.   Due to their considerable age they are expensive (small trees around 1m height can be over 25 years).  But the price depends more on the structure of the plant as opposed to the height.  It is like a beautiful living sculpture to be appreciated for its natural elegance.

If purchased as a specimen tree (upwards of 20 years in age) the Japanese Holly Cloud trees are one of the easiest of trees to look after.  An occasional trim will be required to retain the “clouds” once or twice per annum.  Watering and feeding in the same way as normal trees.

japanese cloud trees - ilex crenata
Japanese Cloud Trees £1300-1500

The very best Cloud Trees are created using Ilex Crenata or Japanese Holly which is extremely hardy in all weather conditions.  Ilex Crenata has small dark green leaves which are evergreen and can be trimmed to create perfect shapes.

Japanese Cloud Trees
Japanese Cloud Trees For Sale £695-£895