General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Plant Height: 40 to 50 feet, to 75 feet
Plant Spread: 35 to 50 feet
Leaves: Evergreen
Other: scaly leaves with varying structure, from small and tight to long and feathery
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Other: Male cones are tiny, female cones are about 1/2 inch tall and release reddish seeds with wings on both sides, blown by the wind.
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Bark
Eating Methods: Tea
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Toxicity: Other: Tea should not be drunk by pregnant women.
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: Cold moist stratification (40 degrees F, 4 degrees C) for 2 months.
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Pollinators: Wind
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

Common names
  • Eastern Arborvitae
  • White Cedar
  • Eastern White Cedar
  • Northern White Cedar
  • American Arborvitae
  • Arborvitae

Photo Gallery
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: 2017-09-05
mature specimens of the mother species
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: 2017-09-05
trunks of several trees together
Location: Niagara Parkway, Ontario, Canada
Date: 07/16/2013
photo by S. Rae via Flickr:
Location: Simcoe County, Ontario
Date: March 2021
Six-trunk specimen from a cedar grove in a public park
Location: Neffs Canyon, Millcreek, Utah, United States
Date: 2022-10-21
Topiary maintenance courtesy of the local deer and elk population
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: winter in the 1980's
full-grown mother species planted in wet area
Location: South Jordan, Utah, United States
Date: 2019-03-03
'DeGroot's Spire'?
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: 2017-09-05
young cones
Location: QC, Canada
Surfaced sown Thuja seeds finally sprouts a tap root.

Photo credit: W. Carter

photo credit: H. Zell

photo credit: H. Zell

photo credit: H. Zell
Location: Morton Arboretum along DuPage River in Lisle, IL
Date: 2017-09-05
tops of mature trees of the straight (mother) species

photo credit: H. Zell
Location: Morton Arboretum along DuPage River in Lisle, IL
Date: 2017-09-05
mature trees of the mother species
Location: Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois
Date: 2017-09-05
the summer foliage
Location: Quad Cities Botanical Garden, Rock Island, Il.
Date: 2012-07-02
Location: QC, Canada
Date: January 18 2020
Thuja occidentalis seeds slowly becoming seedlings.
This plant is tagged in:

  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 12, 2017 6:48 PM concerning plant:
    The American or Eastern Arborvitae or Whitecedar, Thuja occidentalis, is a northern species native to southern Ontario & Quebec up almost to Hudson Bay, to Nova Scotia, northern New England & New York, northern Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and northern Minnesota, growing mostly in swamps, bogs, and lake margins, but also grows in open rocky meadow and hillsides. It has soft, fan-like, scaly, sort of aromatic foliage and it bears small erect, egg-shaped cones of 8 to 12 scales. It grows about 1 to 2 feet/year and often lives over 400 years. Its shallow, fibrous root system makes it easy to transplant. I saw some way up in northern Minnesota in a swamp many years ago while on vacation. Otherwise, I have only seen the regular or straight or mother species at Morton Arboretum in northeast Illinois, west of Chicago planted near the little Du Page River. Numerous cultivars that are compact and dwarf with various characteristics have been taken from this species and are abundantly planted in landscapes in much of eastern North America.
  • Posted by tinytreez (Greater Montreal, Quebec, Canada - Zone 6a) on Jan 19, 2020 10:08 AM concerning plant:
    While being pruned, the foliage becomes very fragrant. This makes pruning very enjoyable.
  • Posted by Cyclaminist (Minneapolis, Minnesota - Zone 5a) on May 3, 2015 4:59 PM concerning plant:
    We have this tree, planted by a previous owner. It must be a cultivar, but I don't know how to find out which one. The leaf scales branch a lot, resulting in a pretty tight structure. Other varieties can be more feathery- or ferny-looking. It self-seeds a bit, and I'm growing one seedling as a bonsai.
Plant Events from our members
tinytreez On January 19, 2020 Obtained plant
January 12, 2020: Obtained plant (Seeds obtained from Mount Royal Seeds.

Seeds soaked in lukewarm water for 24 hours.

Seeds placed in moist paper towel and stored in plastic sandwich bag and placed inside refrigerator to stratify for ~ 2 months.

Stratification end date: February - March)
January 16, 2020: Seeds germinated (My Thuja seeds are alive! Well a couple of them at least. They germinated and their roots are growing.

This is from a visual inspection of the seeds that were sown on the surface. I wont transplant them, they look too delicate.

If anyone has had any experience growing thuja occidentalis from seed, please let me know. Thank you!

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