Oriental arborvitae is similar in appearance to other species of arborvitae. Nurseries usually sell the cultivars of this plant rather than the actual species and those cultivars can vary greatly in appearance. Winter protection may be needed for this plant. Because it is typically short in stature, oriental arborvitae may be planted under utility lines. Also known as Thuja orientalis.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks,
- Under utility lines
Tree or Plant Type:
- Evergreen (foliage year-round)
- Mixed border,
- Small tree (15-25 feet),
- Compact tree (10-15 feet),
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
- Small shrub (3-5 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9,
- Zone 10,
- Zone 11
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Alkaline soil
- Moderately Tolerant
Season of Interest:
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter,
- Early spring,
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Nesting birds,
- Small mammals
Tree & Plant Care
Foliage tends to discolor in winter.
Prefers consistent moisture but not wet soil.
Keep mulched to moderate soil temperature swings.
Best growth occurs in full sun to part shade.
Disease, pests, and problems
Can be affected by bagworm, leaf miner, and spider mites.
Susceptible to strong wind, snow, and ice damage.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.
Less susceptible to deer browsing.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Asia.
Bark color and texture
Grayish-brown to reddish-brown, with stringy fibers and a network of ridges and shallow furrows.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Needles are soft and green, with spreading flat sprays of overlapping scales at the ends of short, ascending branches.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Inconspicuous, separate male and female flowers.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Tiny oval seed cones mature from yellow to light brown. When cones open they look like little roses.