print Print

Emerald ArborvitaeThuja occidentalis 'Emerald'

  • Emerald Arborvitae Thuja occidentalis
  • Emerald Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis
  • Emerald Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis

Shimmering emerald green foliage with a classic narrow, pyramidal form make the emerald arborvitae attractive in all seasons. And unlike other arborvitaes, this cultivar keeps its lustrous color even in the cold winter months.

The slow-growing emerald arborvitae is great for specimen or accent planting, hedges, privacy screens and shelterbelts. It also makes a good foundation plant.

Hardiness Zones

The emerald arborvitae can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3–7. View Map

Tree Type

This is an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round.

Mature Size

The emerald arborvitae grows to a height of 10–15' and a spread of 3–4' at maturity.

Growth Speed Slow Growth Rate

This tree grows at a slow rate, with height increases of less than 12" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The emerald arborvitae grows well in acidic, loamy, rich, sandy, silty loam and well-drained soils.


This tree:
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape.
  • Does not discolor in winter like other arborvitae.
  • Features tiny, scale-like, lustrous foliage that displays as a flattened, fan-like, vertical spray.
  • Releases a pleasing aroma when leaves are squeezed.
  • Can be pruned.
  • Should be planted 2–3' apart for a screen.
  • Tolerates heat and drought once established and is cold-hardy to -40°F.
  • Works well as a specimen or accent, for hedges and privacy screens, for shelterbelts and as a foundation plant.

Wildlife Value

Arborvitae provides nesting sites and cover for birds and small animals. The flower buds, seeds and foliage are a food source for wildlife.


The name arborvitae, is a Latin form of the French, "l'arbre de vie," which means, "tree of life." Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who assigned the Latin name to this species, picked up on other traits. The genus name, Thuja, is from a Greek word for perfume. Squeezing the evergreen leaves releases an aroma that is nothing less than nature's perfume. The specific name, occidentalis, means "west," the direction from Sweden where this tree was discovered.