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Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'

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Kemper Code:  M550

Common Name: American arborvitae
Zone: 2 to 7
Plant Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Cupressaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: None
Height: 12 to 14 feet
Spread: 3 to 4 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering  
Bloom Color: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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Where is this species invasive in the US?

  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Foliage density loosens up in too much shade. Tolerates wide range of soils. Likes humid weather with regular rains. In hot and dry weather, periodic, deep waterings are advisable, especially when shrubs are grown as foundation plants. Appreciates a good root zone mulch. Prune in early spring before onset of new growth.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

This American arborvitae cultivar is a semi-dwarf, evergreen shrub with a compact, narrowly pyramidal habit. Glossy bright green, scale-like foliage in flat sprays. Urn-shaped cones to 1/2" long mature in autumn to reddish brown. Most often seen as a 7-15' (infrequently to 20') tall shrub with a spread of 3-4'. Cultivar is synonymous with and sometimes also called 'Emerald' or 'Emerald Green'.

Problems: Click for detailed list of pests and problems.

No serious insect or disease problems. Bagworms and spider mites are occasional insect pests. Susceptible to damage in winter from ice and snow. Reportedly a non-burning cultivar which remains emerald green in winter.


Good specimen or accent. Hedge, background plant or foundation plant.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

More photos:
  High resolution image available.