Home Trees Thuja occidentalis: The Tree of Life | Planting, Care, Varieties, and More

Thuja occidentalis: The Tree of Life | Planting, Care, Varieties, and More

by Gregory
2 minutes read

Thuja occidentalis: The Tree of Life


Thuja occidentalis, also known as arborvitae or white cedar, is an evergreen tree native to North America. It’s prized for its handsome foliage and unique architectural shape.

Key Features

  • Height: Up to 4 meters (13 feet)
  • Spread: Up to 2 meters (6.5 feet)
  • Foliage color: Green or golden, depending on variety

Planting and Care

Thuja occidentalis prefers sunny or partially shaded locations. It’s relatively easy to grow and makes a great choice for hedges, borders, or containers.

  • Plant in well-drained soil.
  • Water regularly, especially during dry spells.
  • Fertilize in spring.
  • Prune lightly to shape or remove dead or damaged branches.


There are many cultivated varieties of Thuja occidentalis, each with its own unique characteristics:

  • Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’: Upright, conical shape with bright emerald-green foliage.
  • Thuja occidentalis ‘Rheingold’: Rounded bush with golden-yellow foliage.
  • Thuja occidentalis ‘Holmstrup’: Tall, mid-green variety.
  • Thuja occidentalis ‘Golden Globe’: Small, rounded bush with golden foliage.

Medicinal Uses

Native Americans used Thuja occidentalis to treat various ailments. Its leaves contain aromatic oils that have medicinal properties.


Thuja occidentalis is mildly toxic. Its foliage and wood can irritate skin and cause digestive problems if ingested. Avoid contact with eyes and mouth.

Wildlife Value

Thuja occidentalis does not have much value to wildlife in the UK. However, it can provide shelter for birds and other small animals.


Thuja occidentalis is a versatile and beautiful evergreen tree that’s perfect for a variety of garden uses. Its unique foliage and architectural shape make it a standout in any landscape.

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