AKA:  Northern White Cedar

Scientific Name: Thuja occidentalis

Light:  Sun

Zone:  2 to 7

Height:  50 to 75 feet

Width:  35 to 50 feet

Flowers:  May, red brown

Fruit/Seed:  August to December, reddish-brown cone

Fall Color:  Evergreen


Birds:  provides good nesting and roosting cover for many species of birds.


Deer Resistant:  No

Insects/Pollinators:  provides pollinator support

Native: Only to Montgomery, Washington and Alleghany counties in Maryland

Idea Garden:

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More than 120 cultivars of arborvitae have been named for use as ornamental trees and shrubs. Selections offer variety in form, color, cold hardiness and heat tolerance. It is often used for hedges or shelter plantings.

Stands of northern white cedar also are valuable for wildlife habitat, particularly in severe winters for white-tailed deer, which use it for both shelter and browse. Arborvitae also provides good nesting and roosting cover for many species of birds as well as providing pollinator support.


‘Bobozam’ – perfect ball ,3′ tall and wide, needs no pruning, gray-green

‘Dogroot’s Spire’ – 15-20′ by 4-5′, medium green in a spiral arrangement, red-brown in winter

‘Emerald’  –  bright emerald green foliage, narrow and compact, 10-15′ tall and 3-4′ wide, excellent cold and heat tolerance.

‘Golden Globe’ – 2-4′ tall & wide, globe shaped dwarf, yellow foliage

‘Hetz Midget’ – dwarf form,  light green foliage, slow-growing, 3′ tall & wide.

‘Holmstrup’ – narrow, compact, 5′ tall and 2′ wide, light green foliage, produces good cone set.

‘Little Gem’ – 3′ tall and 2-6′ spread, dark green foliage, bronzes slightly in winter.

‘Little Giant’ – 6′ tall and wide, globe,  green foliage grows slowly and is easily maintained as a dwarf plant.

‘Lutea’  –  30′ tall & 12-15′ wide, bright yellow foliage

‘Nigra’ – dark green winter color, pyramidal, 15′ to 25′ tall and 5′ to 8′ wide.

‘Pyramidalis’ – narrow and compact, 15′ tall and 4′ wide, bright green foliage, may suffer winter discoloration.

‘Rheingold’ – ovoid, 5′ tall and wide, orange-yellow foliage, reddens in winter.

‘Aurea’ similar to Rheingold but smaller, 3′ tall and wide,globe shape.

‘Sherwood Frost’  – variegated,  branch tips colored creamy-white, slow-growing.

‘Techny’ (‘Mission’) – pyramidal, grows slowly to 15′ tall by 6′ wide, holds deep green foliage all year, cold hardy

‘Wareana’ – Very hardy, blue-green, growth is slow to 8′ tall,pyramidal shape.

‘Wareana Lutescens’ similar to ‘Wareana’, creamy-yellow foliage.

‘Wintergreen’  – pyramidal, 30′ tall and 10′ wide, dark green foliage through cold winters.

‘Yellow Ribbon’ – 8-10′ X 2-3′, yellow-range maturing to medium green, winter discoloration


Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Arborvitae – USDA Plant Guide

Arborvitae – Missouri Botanical Garden

Arborvitae – University of Connecticut Plant Database

Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance – Rutgers

Recommended for Wildlife by

Gardening for the Birds by George Adams

Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The Audubon Backyard Bird Watcher by Burton & Kress

Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States by Dove & Woolridge

Additional information


Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7




Clay, Loam, Moist, Wet

Flower Season


Fruit Season

Fall, Summer, Winter



Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Nest Sites, Summer Cover, Winter Cover

Notable Features

Cut Flowers, Evergreen, Hedge, Winter Interest

Local Availability

Available, Widely Available


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