19 Arborvitae Types for Home Landscapes

Arborvitae are wonderful ornamental trees for your landscaping needs, specifically if you want to add a windbreak or living fence line. However, there are tons of types and varieties! So, which variety should you plant? Gardening expert Kelli Klein reviews 19 arborvitae types for home landscaping to help you decide.

A serene landscape unfolds, adorned with lush evergreen trees and verdant shrubs, creating a picturesque scene of natural beauty. The background dissolves into a gentle blur, hinting at the vast expanse of dense forest beyond.


Arborvitae is a coniferous evergreen tree or shrub in the Cyprus family. It is native to North America and commonly used as an ornamental. This tree is adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions, provided that the soil is well-draining. Most varieties can be grown reliably in USDA growing zones two through eight. This perennial is long-lived and can live anywhere between 25-150 years

Depending on the variety, arborvitae can grow to a wide range of heights—anywhere between a few feet for dwarf varieties and up to 60 feet tall. Most varieties grow in a typical evergreen tree pyramid-like shape but will need regular pruning to maintain this shape over time. Because of their growth habit, they make a great windbreak, hedge, or privacy screen.

Emerald Green

Emerald Green trees tower proudly, forming a natural boundary with their lofty presence. Their slender trunks reach towards the sky, while the feathery leaves sway gently in the breeze.
Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ flourishes best under full sun yet adaptable to light shade.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ is also known as ‘Emerald Green’. Grow it in USDA growing zones two through seven. It prefers full sun conditions but will also tolerate light shade. ‘Emerald Green’ has a mature height and spread of 15 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It gets its name from the fact that it tends to hold its bright green color throughout harsh winters.

Unlike other arborvitaes, which often turn dull and slightly brown during the colder months, this variety displays chartreuse winter color. This makes it a stunning background, especially during the cold and grey winter season. 

Green Giant

Green Giant evergreens exude timeless elegance with their rich, deep green hues, casting a soothing aura in the surroundings. A solitary tree stands behind, complementing the symphony of nature.
This fast-growing hybrid is ideal for windbreaks and habitat provision.

Thuja plicata x standishii is also known as ‘Green Giant’. This is a hybrid of western red cedar and Japanese thuja. It grows well in zones five through eight. As you can probably guess from its name, it has a fast growth rate and a large mature size. It will reach heights of up to 60 feet!

This variety is an excellent windbreak or property division. Because of their size, they also provide lots of shelter and habitat for local wildlife. When planting these trees alongside other plants in the landscape, be sure to consider their mature height and spread. 

Eastern Arborvitae

Eastern Arborvitae trees stand tall, their branches reaching towards the sun's warm embrace. In the backdrop, a variety of other trees create a rich tapestry of greens, while the vast expanse of the clear blue sky provides a serene contrast.
This evergreen tree is highly resistant to diseases and pests.

This variety of Thuja occidentalis, also known as American arborvitae or Eastern white cedar, can be grown in zones three through seven. It has a slow to medium growth rate and requires a full-sun environment.

This variety is known for its resistance to diseases and pests and is often used in commercial landscaping since it is very low-maintenance. This tree, which is also known as the Northern white cedar, will reach a mature height of 60 feet tall and 20 feet wide. 

Western Red Cedar

Golden foliage adorns a Western Red Cedar shrub, adding warmth to the scene. In the background, a vast expanse of rolling hills stretches into the distance, creating a picturesque landscape under the overcast gray sky.
The durable and flexible wood of Western Red Cedar is highly desired for commercial goods.

This arborvitae variety is also known as Western red cedar. It can be grown in growing zones three through seven and grows best in areas of the Pacific Northwest. The water-resistant wood is often used in making fencing posts that are resistant to rot. It has a moderate growth rate and can grow up to 40 feet tall over a few decades.

Western red cedar can be used as an ornamental in landscaping, though it is highly sought after for its durable and flexible wood for a variety of commercial goods like roofing shingles, decking, and other outdoor structures. 

Golden Arborvitae

Small Golden Arborvitae shrubs stand side by side, their vibrant golden hue contrasting against the earthy backdrop. In the background, slender shrubs adorned with muted green leaves create a subtle contrast, adding depth to the landscape.
This variety reaches a maximum size of 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide.

Thuja orientalis ‘Aurea Nana’ is also known by the common name golden arborvitae. It can be grown in zones six through nine. Unlike most arborvitaes which require full sun, Golden Arborvitae can tolerate partial shade conditions.

They have a slow growth rate and eventually max out at a size of 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Their name reflects their beautiful golden yellow-green foliage, which is soft and feathery. 

North Pole

A line of petite evergreen North Pole trees stand proudly, their triangular forms reaching for the sky. In the background, a rustic wooden fence adds a charming touch, blending seamlessly with the natural scenery.
The Thuja occidentalis ‘North Pole’ thrives in colder climates with its tall, narrow growth.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Art Boe’ is also known as ‘North Pole’ and is one of the more popular types used for creating a privacy hedge because it grows tall and narrow. It can be grown in zones three through eight. It has a moderate growth rate and will reach a mature size of 15 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

As the name suggests, ‘North Pole’ is particularly well adapted to growing conditions in colder climates. Because of its moderate stature and upright growth habit, this type makes the perfect living fence line. 

Golden Globe

A close-up of a Golden Globe shrub showcases its delicate, feathery leaves. In the backdrop, a plant with deep green foliage creates a soft, blurred contrast, emphasizing the focal subject's elegance and natural beauty.
A dwarf variety called ‘Golden Globe’ requires regular pruning to maintain its symmetrical shape.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Golden Globe’ is a dwarf variety that can be grown in zones two through eight. It has a slow to medium growth rate but will eventually reach a mature size of four feet tall and wide.

The low and symmetrical shape of this shrub, combined with its golden-green foliage, makes it a great accent plant in your landscape. Although they tend to naturally grow in a globe shape, they will need regular pruning in order to maintain this shape over the long term

Korean Thuja

A close-up captures the intricate details of a Korean Thuja shrub, its delicate leaves dancing in the gentle breeze. Beyond, a blurred backdrop hints at a verdant landscape of more Thuja shrubs.
This thrives in USDA zones 5-8 with full sun in cooler climates.

Thuja koraiensis is also known as Korean thuja. This variety is popular in North and South Korea as well as areas of China. Grow it in growing zones five through eight. It prefers full sun in cooler climates, but can benefit from afternoon shade in warmer climates.

Korean Thuja grows up to 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. This variety is somewhat rare in terms of horticultural use as there isn’t a large seed stock available. But it adds a stunning blue-green evergreen backdrop to a low-maintenance landscape. 

Teddy Arborvitae

Bathed in sunlight, a Teddy arbovitae flourishes within its black pot, its foliage radiant and verdant. The background offers a glimpse of additional Teddy arbovitae plants, their forms softened by a gentle blur.
A dwarf variety known as ‘Teddy’ arborvitae is ideal for small spaces.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Teddy’ is commonly referred to as teddy arborvitae. It can be grown in zones two through seven. This is a dwarf variety with a compact growth habit, reaching a mature height of two feet tall and one foot wide. It gets its name from the fact that the foliage is soft and feathery rather than stiff. This gives it a soft and plush appearance, like a teddy bear.

It is also well-suited to grow in containers or planters. This makes it a great choice for gardeners with small spaces that might not have room for a full-grown arborvitae hedge but still want to enjoy their evergreen beauty. 


A lush expanse of Holmstrup shrubs blankets the ground, their verdant foliage creating a seamless carpet of greenery. Each shrub, rounded and compact, adds to the dense texture, creating a serene and cohesive landscape.
This variety is ideal for smaller landscapes due to its slow growth.

This type of Thuja occidentalis is also known as ‘Holmstrup’. It can be grown in zones three through seven. The slow growth habit makes it easy to contain with once-yearly pruning.

It has a compact growth habit and will reach a mature size of 15 feet tall and 5 feet wide. This makes it perfect for adding a hedge in a smaller landscape, like an urban backyard. 


Danica arborvitae shrub, a compact evergreen, stands amidst lush greenery. Its delicate, feathery leaves offer a graceful contrast. Nestled between other plants, it adds a touch of elegance and structure to the garden landscape, promising year-round vibrancy.
The ‘Danica’ reaches a height and width of 2 feet.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Danica’ is a true dwarf variety. It can be grown in zones two through seven. When fully grown, it will reach a height of two feet tall and wide. This makes it a great border plant. You can also use it to line pathways through the landscape or for framing entrances.

It can even be grown in containers. When growing in containers, be sure not to let it dry out completely. Container-grown plants tend to dry out quickly, and while arborvitae do not like to be waterlogged, they also can’t stand periods of drought. 


A close-up of a Techny shrub reveals its delicate, feathery leaves, resembling intricate green lace. Each leaf is finely textured, with tiny serrations along the edges, adding to the shrub's unique visual appeal and natural charm.
A multi-leader Thuja occidentalis variant called ‘Techny’ arborvitae is ideal for privacy screens.

This type of Thuja occidentalis is also known as ‘Techny’ arborvitae. It can be grown in zones two through eight. It is named after the town of Techny, Illinois.

This type grows multiple leaders, which means the top of the plant is more filled in and less pyramid-shaped than other varieties. This quality makes it a great choice for a privacy screen. It grows 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. 

Woodward Globe

A Woodward globe shrub stands proudly, its spherical shape commanding attention amidst the garden's greenery. Delicate leaves dance gracefully, creating an ethereal aura around the shrub, inviting admiration and contemplation from passersby.
This thuja plant is ideal for hedges or framing entryways.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Woodwardii’ is also known as ‘Woodward Globe’. It can be grown in USDA growing zones three through seven. Yellow-green foliage and a compact, globe shape make it special.

Let it reach up to 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide, or prune it to maintain a shorter and more compact shape. Use it for a hedge along an existing fence or property line or on each side to frame an entryway. 

Weeping Arborvitae

A close-up of Weeping Arborvitae branches, illuminated by sunlight, showcasing its delicate foliage. The leaves are slender, gracefully drooping, forming an elegant curtain of verdant greenery. In the background, lush foliage bathed in sunlight creates a tranquil ambiance.
The Weeping Arborvitae grows up to eight feet tall and four feet wide.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Filiformis’ is also known as weeping arborvitae. It can be grown in zones two through seven. It has a very unusual appearance due to its drooping foliage that hangs from multiple stems. At first glance, it doesn’t look like an arborvitae at all.

It will reach a mature height of eight feet tall and four feet wide. Due to its drooping growth habit, it does not make a great privacy screen or hedge. However, it is a great option for the gardener who is looking to add a unique statement piece! 


A close-up of Whipcord arborvitae leaves, their vibrant green hue showcases intricate textures, resembling tiny, twisted ropes. Each leaf delicately captures the sunlight, casting shadows that dance across their serrated edges.
A dwarf arborvitae variety called Thuja plicata ‘Whipcord’ is suitable for zones 5-7.

Thuja plicata ‘Whipcord’ is another dwarf type that also has a similar appearance to weeping arborvitae with its long and slender foliage that droops. It can be grown in zones five through seven.

It can reach a mature height of four feet tall and four feet wide, or it can be pruned to maintain a low-to-the-ground, almost ground cover, growth habit. If you like the visual appeal and uniqueness of weep arborvitae, but want it in a smaller package, then ‘Whipcord’ is the variety for you. 


A Virginian arborvitae branch, adorned with needle-like leaves, glistening under the radiant sunlight. The vibrant green foliage contrasts beautifully against the blurred background filled with lush greenery, creating a serene and harmonious natural scene.
The ‘Virginian’ reaches 15 feet tall and 6 feet wide.

This variety of Thuja plicata x standishii is a new version of ‘Green Giant’. It grows in growing zones five through nine. ‘Virginian’ has the same speed of growth as ‘Green Giant’ but on a more compact plant. It will reach a mature height of 15 feet tall and 6 feet wide. This makes it perfect for smaller spaces.

It has similar qualities to ‘Green Giant’, except in a smaller package. You can prune it regularly to maintain a neat shape or let it grow wild and produce beautiful feathery foliage. 

Tom Thumb

A compact Tom Thumb shrub, its dense foliage arranged in a circular shape. Behind it, a duo of shrubs stands, one petite and the other towering, offering a pleasing contrast in height and texture against the backdrop of lush greenery.
This dwarf variety maintains a globe shape without pruning.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Tom Thumb’ is another dwarf variety. It grows well in zones four through nine. Growing naturally into a globe shape without any pruning, it will reach a mature height of three feet tall and wide.

‘Tom Thumb’ is perfect for pots and planters. It is well suited to a range of soil types. Be sure not to let it dry out completely, especially when growing in containers.

Spiral Emerald Green

Within black pots, Spiral Emerald Green shrubs thrive, their leaves reaching for the sunlight. Against the backdrop of a lush garden, the contrast in colors accentuates the verdant beauty, creating a serene oasis within the bustling foliage.
This spiral-pruned type of ‘Emerald Green’ requires regular maintenance for its unique shape.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald Green’ is a type of emerald green tree that is pruned into a spiral growth habit. It can be grown in zones three through eight and will reach a mature height of 15 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

It has all of the same qualities of ‘Emerald Green‘, but will the eye-catching benefit of being pruned into a spiral. You will need to maintain this spiral shape with regular pruning as this tree doesn’t grow this way naturally. 


A close-up reveals the intricate texture of a Pancake arborvitae shrub, its feathery leaves delicately arranged. Against a backdrop of meticulously manicured grass, this compact evergreen stands as a verdant testament to nature's artistry.
‘Pancake’ arborvitae boasts a unique low growth habit.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Concesarini’ is also known as ‘Pancake.’ It can be grown in zones four through eight. The name ‘Pancake’ comes from its unique growth habit. It stays flat and low to the ground while spreading sideways.

‘Pancake’ has a mature height of one foot tall and two feet wide. This makes it an excellent evergreen ground cover. It is exceptionally cold hardy and showcases a beautiful feathery, almost fern-like foliage. It needs full sun to produce the densest growth. 

Final Thoughts

No matter what your landscaping needs or space restrictions, there is an arborvitae for you! Choose from varieties that can grow up to 60 feet tall and make an excellent windbreak to dwarf varieties that creep and crawl along the ground and act as a ground cover.

It is most important to assess your landscaping goals before choosing your variety since these perennial evergreens are long-lived and will be around for a while once you’ve planted them.

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