Thuja plicata ‘Zebrina’

Zebrina Western red cedar

variegated Western red cedar

  • © Rick Peterson / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This is not your typical Western red cedar which grows so abundantly in the Pacific Northwest. This selection has bright variegated green and creamy golden-yellow foliage. From afar the whole tree seems to shimmer in a gilded veneer. Up-close the whimsical pattern of variegation is banded or striped, thus giving the appearance reminiscent of a zebra's stripes, hence the moniker.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: pyramidal conifer

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

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

Plant Width-Mature: 12 ft. 0 in. (3.66 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 9

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

Water Requirements: occasional watering

Seasonal Interest: year-round colorful foliage

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: blue, burgundy, purple, silver, violet

Great Color Partners: dark green, green

Culture Notes
Plant in full sun or light to open shade for best color and water regularly until established; after that provide supplemental water every 10 to 14 days during the dry season. Although the species, Thuja plicata, is very adaptable to different soil types and drainage, it is best to provide 'Zebrina' with a planting site where the soil is either average, clay, or sandy and well-drained.
Geek Notes
Although the origin of this cultivar is unknown, Arthur Lee Jacobson, in his book North American Landscape Trees, writes, "…likely Holland in the 1860's" and "Named 'Zebrina' ca. 1900 (from Portuguese zibru, and Latin zebra)." There are many synonyms of this cultivar and may be sold under a number of them, although 'Zebrina' has become more commonly used since the 1980's.