Thuja plicata

western red cedar

giant arborvitae

  • © Rick Peterson / Great Plant Picks

  • © Rick Peterson / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This significant denizen of Pacific Northwest forests is a very handsome conifer for a large space or garden. Flat sprays of glossy evergreen scale-like leaves hang gracefully from horizontal branches and are attractive in all four seasons. The foliage is forest green and, in autumn, the previous year's growth turns dark pumpkin orange.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: pyramidal conifer

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 12 ft. 0 in. (3.66 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 200 ft. 0 in. (60.96 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 50 ft. 0 in. (15.24 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 7

Flower Color: none

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun or light to deep shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established or occasional watering

Seasonal Interest: handsome year-round evergreen foliage

Resistant to: aphids, slug, snail

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: chartreuse, cream, pink, red, silver, white, yellow

Great Color Partners: black, bronze, brown, orange

Culture Notes
Being a common native plant Western red cedar will grow well almost anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Generally, any soil type is acceptable whether it is clay, sandy, rocky and can be well-drained, moist, wet, or dry. Full sun is fine as are all levels of shade: light, open, dappled, and deep. A moist or wet site through the dry season will not require additional watering. These trees are generally drought tolerant once established; however, occasional watering of a dry site during the summer – especially in full sun – will boost growth.