Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Hamlet’s Broom’

Dawn redwood

The Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Hamlet’s Broom’ is a deciduous conifer, with a reddish brown fibrous bark, pale green in spring and summer which turns a vibrant golden yellow to deep russet in autumn.

The ‘Hamlet’s Broom’ cultivar is a dwarf variety that develops a dense, globose shape.

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Origin: central China, cultivar of horticultural origin
Genus: Metasequoia
Species / Cultivar: glyptostroboides var. Hamlet's Broom
Common Name: Dawn redwood

Plant Biography

Described only in 1945 by paleobotanist Shigeru Miki, the Metasequoia is considered a living fossil. A small population still survives in the wild in central China.

The Metasequoia is closely related to the Sequoia family, however, the Metasequoia is one of the few deciduous conifers.

In cultivation, the plant has gained immense popularity and it helped saving the species from extinction. However, due to a small batch of seeds that have been collected from the wild and subsequently propagated in cultivation, the genetic diversity is much lower in cultivation, making propagation a difficult task.

In the UK, the plant is very popular and several specimens can be found from the first few batches of seeds sent from China in 1949. One impressive one is in Woking Park, in Surrey, reaching 22m in height and in Somerset standing at a whopping 32 m in height.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Hamlet's Broom'
Soil: Well drained
Soil that does not show much signs of moisture, either visibly or when handled.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Final Size: Medium
Final size will be suitable for a table, plant stand, or large strong shelf.
Water Requirement: High
Likely to require supplementary watering in warmer months, even once established.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun to Part Shade
Enjoys direct sun most of the day, but tolerant of fewer sunlit hours or light dappling.
Eventual Height: 1.5 - 2.0m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 1.5 - 2.0m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Hardy
Survives unprotected in an average winter. May need protection in extreme long frosts.
Habit: Deciduous
Sheds all its foliage annually, so for a period of the year it will be without foliage.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

The Metasequoia thrives in a free draining, moist soil, in a sunny to part shade position.

As a deciduous conifer, the soil under and around the tree will become slightly acidic in time, as the dropping leaves accumulate. The thick layer can be left on over winter to protect the soil.

It can be kept in containers, provided plenty of water is provided, especially during hot summers.

Expert Tip

In urban gardens, avoid using it in settings with other evergreen plants.