Growing Arborvitaes: Tips at a Glance
Fast-growing arborvitae trees and shrubs with the distinctive flat leaves of cedars (Thuja) can solve a variety of problems in a garden. Plant them as privacy hedges, to hide an ugly fence or wall, or to create visual focal points in a landscape.
- Type Evergreen tree or shrub
- Lifespan 50 to 150 years
- USDA Zones 2-9
- Light Sun, part shade
- Soil Well-drained
- Form Ball, Pyramid, Conical
- Design Tip Green screen
- Other Uses Rock gardens
- Peak Season Year-round foliage
Arborvitae: A Field Guide
Arborvitaes are cedar trees with flattened, evergreen foliage—you’ve probably seen these hardytrees or shrubs (dwarf varieties can grow from 15 inches to 12 feet high) in your garden or your neighbor’s.
Arborvitae (Thuja) is a hardy, fast-growing utility player in the garden. Plant a row of it to mask an ugly fence or as a standalone privacy hedge. It can thrive in partial shade as well as sunny locations and has a lifespan of up to 150 years. But older trees may start to look motley and shaggy; that’s just their way.
Some varieties to look for at a nursery include Thuja ‘Green Giant’ (a cross between Japanese arborvitae and Western red cedar) which grows into a slender, graceful pyramid; T. occidentalis ‘Little Giant’ which grows into round four-foot balls, and T. orientalis ‘Sunkist’, a two-foot-tall dwarf variety with gold-green leaves.