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More Information About Thuja

The genus Thuja contains just 5 species of coniferous trees and shrubs that are native to eastern Asia and North America. Thuja produces attractive flat sprays of scale-covered branches that are soft to the touch. The plants are usually symmetrical and have long been popular as garden plants. Thuja wood is light and decay-resisitant and is used to make furniture, fence posts, shingles, and guitar soundboards. Native Americans made a tea from Thuja leaves to combat scurvy. Although frequently called cedars, thuja species are not related to the true cedars in the genus Cedrus. It is more accurate to call them by their other common name, arborvitae (which in Latin means "tree of life"). Arborvitae are wonderful native American evergreen conifers that are overused in the North and under-used in the South.

Like junipers, the commonly grown arborvitae are often not the most spectacular and best forms. Most landscape arborvitae are the tall, fast growing columnar forms designed to produce a 10-30' tall screen to block a site line and provide privacy. Although these arborvitae are ubiquitous and mundane, at least they are better than Leyland cypress. We have chosen a few of our favorite arborvitae for special spots in your garden. Our choice selections include dwarf arborvitae, globe-shaped arborvitae, variegated arborvitae, and pyramidal arborvitae that are more than just a screening plants...they are worthy of being the center of attention in a garden bed.

Thuja species prefer full sun and well-drained, compost-rich soil. However, they are very tolerant of a wide range of conditions and will survive in poor, rocky, clay, compacted or dry soils over a wide range of pH levels. Thuja also tolerates heat, drought, humidity, and urban pollution. Sounds like a superhero plant! Its one weakness is not kryptonite, but shade. Although it rarely needs to be sheared, thuja does tolerate light shearing in order to keep the plant within bounds, but it will not tolerate severe pruning. Thuja foliage takes on brown or yellow tones in winter. When you are ready to buy arborvitae for your garden, check out our online offering of thuja for sale.