American arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
[THOO-yah ox-ee-den-TAL-is]

Evergreen Perennial Tree in the Cupressaceae Family

About American Arborvitaes

Often referred to as Arborvitae, Latin for “The Tree of Life.” It’s easy to imagine this nickname when the Arborvitae will stay vibrant and evergreen when almost everything else dies back for the winter - but it actually earned this title in the 1500s when it was discovered that a tea made from Arborvitae bark and leaves cured scurvy (hellooo, Vitamin C). 

While it’s certainly pretty cool that these shrubs saved lives, we love them for their reliable winter color, well-behaved growth patterns, and unfussy growing requirements. Most varieties grow quite quickly and all are very dense, making them the perfect privacy planting.


  • Evergreen
  • Can grow in a variety of soil and moisture conditions
  • Most varieties require minimal to no pruning to keep their shape
  • Excellent privacy planting


  • Require part to full sun to thrive
  • May be susceptible to winter wind burn

Plant Data

Mature Size 20 - 40 feet tall. 10 - 15 feet wide.
Sun Exposure Partial Shade - Full Sun
Moisture Tolerance Medium - Wet: Moist soil is ideal for Thuja Green Giants, but people must be careful to not let the water get soggy. Thuja Green Giants require deep, irregular waterings of about 1 inch per week.
Zones 2a - 8b
Tags Attracts Birds, Deer Resistant, Edging, Evergreen, Fast Growth Rate, Foundation, Full Sun, Good for Accents, Good for Asian Garden, Good for Borders, Good for Hedges, Good for Mass Planting, Good for Rock Garden, Low Maintenance, Medium, Most Popular, Native to North America, Partial Shade, Partial Sun, Perennial, Potentially Allergenic, Rabbit Resistant, Shrub, Tolerant of Loamy Soil, Tolerant of Moist Soil, Tree, Well-Drained Soil, Wet, Wet Site Tolerant, Winter Interest, Woodland Garden
Bloom Period Non-flowering
Flower Color Non-Flowering



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More Info from Experts

Commonly Planted with...

Smoke Tree (Cotinus); Spirea (Spiraea); Rose (Rosa); Daylily (Hemerocallis); Hydrangea (Hydrangea)
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Pricing and Availability History

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Limited Availability

We try very hard to source exactly what you’d like, but sometimes growers run out of plants! While this variety is a great deal at the price shown, we know that it has limited availability. If you want the plant even if it might be more expensive, or in a different size or quantity -- after you place your order, just send us a quick note at Then, we’ll try to get you some version of this from one of our growers. And if we can’t get it from anywhere, of course, we’ll send a refund!

Field-Grown vs. Greenhouse-Grown Plants

Plants which are well-adapted to our local climate are most often field-grown (outside). Field-grown plants are generally cheaper and have the advantage of already somewhat acclimated to our cold winters, but that means they’re not artificially far along in the spring and tend to bloom at the normal time in our area.

Spring annuals and tender perennials are typically grown in Greenhouses so they can be ready and luxurious exactly when customers want them. Some perennials are also “forced” into early bloom in greenhouses. In May, there can be a very big difference between field-grown and greenhouse-grown plants of the same type. The latter typically look good right away (so they’re a great choice where that’s important), but we typically pay a premium for it.

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No Pricing or Availability Right Now

We order from a rotating cast of the best nurseries in the Great Lakes region. It looks like we've offered this plant in the past, but the nurseries we're working with this week don't appear to have it in stock at the moment.

Our goal is to bring as many plants together under "one roof" as possible, so we'll try hard to make it available again in the future!