Thuja occidentalis

Eastern (American) Arborvitae

Mature Size, Growth Longevity

Average mature size of 20-30' tall in the landscape, can reach 40-60' tall and 10-15' wide in the wild, some cultivars are smaller. Broad, pyramidal growth habit. Slow to medium growth rate.

Native Range

Species native to Eastern North America.

Flower and Fruit Details

Flowers are monoecious, terminal, solitary. Fruits in oblong cones, 0.33-0.5" long, light brown, with 8-10 scales, usually 4 of which are fertile.

Leaf and Bark Features

Evergreen. Leaves are usually evergreen, but may change to shades of yellow-brown-green in winter. Bark is grayish-brown to reddish-brown, 0.25-0.33" thick, fibrous, forming a close netwoork of connecting ridges and shallow furrows.

Culture and Care

Requires a deep, well-drained soil (thrives in marshy loam). Best in slightly acidic soils but tolerates alkaline, with considerable atmospheric moisture. Susceptable to strong wind, snow, and ice damage. Will tolerate heat and drought once established. Susceptible to bagworm, heart rot, leaf iner, spider mites, and deer browsing.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Other Facts

Suggested Uses

Useful as a specimin or accent planting. Also good for hedges and shelter-belts.

Taxa and Plants of this Species at BCA

  • Thuja occidentalis // Eastern (American) Arborvitae ("straight species")


  • Thuja occidentalis 'Emerald' // Emerald Eastern (American) Arborvitae
    Holds its green color through winter. Average mature size 10-15' tall and 3-4' wide. Cultivar introduced 1950, Denmark. This cultivar cold hardy to -40°F.
    -not currently in our collection-


  • Thuja occidentalis 'George Peabody' // George Peabody Eastern (American) Arborvitae
    Bright golden-yellow foliage sprays, light yellowish-green on their undersides, hold onto their color better than most yellow varieties, with minimal bronzing through the winter.


  • Thuja occidentalis 'Hetz Midget' // Hetz Midget Eastern (American) Arborvitae
    The fine, rich green foliage is usually evergreen, but may change to shades of yellow-brown-green in winter. Dense, globe-shaped form, 3-4' tall.


  • Thuja occidentalis 'Nigra' // Dark Eastern (American) Arborvitae
    Dark green foliage persists through winter. Average mature size 20-30' tall and 4-5' wide.


  • Thuja occidentalis 'Nuclear Blast' // Nuclear Blast Eastern Arborvitae
    -not currently in our collection-


  • Thuja occidentalis 'Pendula' // Weeping Eastern (American) Arborvitae
    Small pyramidal form, open ascending-arching branches & pendulous branchlets, requires staking, to 15' tall. Yellow-brown-green in winter. Cultivar developed 1862, England.


  • Thuja occidentalis 'Rheingold' // Rheingold Eastern (American) Arborvitae
    Rich deep gold foliage turns copper to brownish yellow in winter. Average mature size 4-5' tall and 3-4' wide.
    -not currently in our collection-


  • Thuja occidentalis 'Sherwood Frost' // Sherwood Frost Eastern Arborvitae
    Branch tips are variegated creamy-white, so plant in light shade to protect the variegated foliage from burn. Slow growing to 10' tall and 6' wide.


  • Thuja occidentalis 'Techny' // Techny Eastern (American) Arborvitae
    Excellent dark green foliage year-round. Slow growing to 10-15' tall and 6-10' wide.


  • Thuja occidentalis 'Woodwardii' // Woodwardii (Woodward Globosa) Arborvitae
    Dark green foliage turns bronze/brown in winter. Average mature size 8' tall and 18' wide.