Top 5 Arborvitaes (thuja) to Add to Your Landscape

When choosing an arborvitae or thuja variety, it is important to know the purpose or reasoning for the addition to your landscape. Will it be used as a privacy fence? Are you looking to add some color and shape to your design? Do you enjoy trimming your plants every season or are you looking for low maintenance? While there are many types of arborvitaes available in today’s market, below are some of the most popular arbs used in landscape design.

‘Techny’ Arborvitae or Thuja occidentalis ‘Techny’ – This slow growing arb is a great choice for a privacy fence or hedge. Its dense branches help in noise reduction and keep nosey neighbors from peering into your backyard during your weekend cook outs. The ‘Techny’ grows to an average of 15ft tall and width of 8ft. ‘Techny’ does best in full sun to part shade and will tolerate clay soil.


‘Pyramidalis’ Arborvitae or Thuja occidentalis ‘Pyramidalis’ – If you are looking for a shrub that will give you height at a quicker pace, the ‘Pyramidalis’ might fit your liking. This is another great arborvitae for privacy fences and hedges because it can grow approximately ½ to 1 ft a year, reaching maturity of 25 ft tall and 6 ft wide. As you may have guessed, based on its name, the Pyramidalis has a much tighter pyramid shape naturally that doesn’t need help in maintaining shape.It is known for being pretty low maintenance, liking full sun but will be fine in partial shade. The nice, dark green color makes a good backdrop for other plantings.


‘Rheingold’ Arborvitae or Thuja occidentalis ‘Rheingold’Looking to bring some color into your landscape? The ‘Rheingold’ arborvitae is an interesting shrub with golden foliage. With a mature height of 3 to 6 ft, this variety is great as a taller accent shrub to bring attention to those boring corners of your yard. At a young age, ‘Rheingold’ is known for having an almost pink tint to its foliage, adding extra interest to this specimen. It is a low maintenance shrub but it requires good drainage and prefers full sun.


‘Sunkist’ Oriental Arborvitae or Thuja orientalis ‘Sunkist’ – Another popular arb for the landscape is the ‘Sunkist’ arborvitae that can also bring a break of color into your landscape. Unlike the ‘Rheingold’, ‘Sunkist’ is a dwarf variety with a natural globe shape. Similar to ‘Rheingold’, it does not like wet soil. The foliage has a very pleasing green base of color that is “tipped” with gold. At a mature size of 2 ft tall and wide, this arborvitae can be used as a border for a walkway or as an accent shrub to short entryways. The bright yellow foliage turns darker yellow to orange in fall. It is popular in Asian garden and rock gardens.


‘Hetz Midget’ Arborvitae or Thuja occidentalis ‘Hetz Midget’ – Do you like the natural green of an evergreen shrub but can’t decide if you want to pass up some fall color for it? The ‘Hetz Midget’ arborvitae is a uniquely globe-shaped and can give you the natural green you are looking for without giving up fall color. In colder climates, its beautiful green foliage turns bronze, changing back to green as weather warms up. This wonderful shrub is another great option for an informal hedge bordering walkways as its mature height and width is only 32 inches in both directions. It can also be grown in a container as it grows slowly. It prefers full sun to light shade, and moist, well-drained soil.


Arborvitaes are evergreens that can be wonderful accent pieces to any landscape and with all of the different varieties available, there will always be one that fits your exact needs.