Arborvitae is Latin for "tree of life". These shrubs are evergreen and have soft foliage that stays green or sometimes yellow all year round. Many people plant these evergreen shrubs as privacy hedges due to the upright or columnar growth habit, hardiness of the plant, and the fast growth rate. Some arborvitae get so large, people refer to them as trees. Most arborvitae are native to North America, which means they are good for wildlife, easy to care for, require less moisture and are winter hardy.
Recently, there have been newer options available that are dwarf or rounded in shape. The foliage is also now found in yellow, gold or light green in color, which stand out in any landscape. Consider planting different foliage colors next to each other for a garden that has interest all 4 seasons including winter!
The Best Way to Use Arborvitae
All arborvitae shrubs have soft foliage with a great fresh fragrance that smells like something between cedar, lemons, and dryer sheets. Most arborvitae are considered deer resistant. However if deer are hungry enough, they will browse any plant available. Western arborvitae (Thuja plicata) is generally considered to be more deer resistant than its counterpart, Eastern arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis).
Arborvitae Companion Plants
Plants that go well with arborvitae are shade tolerant low growing shrubs and perennials and even groundcovers. Here are our favorite plants to grow with arborvitae.