Golden Tuffet Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis 'Golden Tuffet'

Golden Tuffet Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis 'Golden Tuffet'

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Golden Tuffet Arborvitae is a unique and colorful dome-shaped dwarf evergreen with golden-yellow spring foliage, turning orange in summer and then purple-red with the intense winter cold. The foliage has a braided, thread-like look that is very different from most other arborvitae. This beacon of brightness shines out across your garden, but only grows 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide after ten years. It is the perfect choice for smaller gardens, the front of beds, along a path, or in planters and pots. It is very winter-hardy, down to at least zone 4, and it grows well everywhere except in places with very hot and humid summers.

  • Golden leaves turn orange and then purplish-red
  • Naturally dome-shaped accent plant
  • Unique ‘braided’ thread-like foliage
  • Easily grown even in cold zones
  • Colorful all-year feature for beds or planters

The Golden Tuffet Arborvitae grows best and brightest in full sun, but it also grows happily in some light partial shade. It is easy to grow in almost any garden soil, except for very dry and sandy ones, and in permanently flooded ground. It has no significant pests or diseases, and it maintains its neat form indefinitely, without trimming, although it can be trimmed in early spring for a very neat and more formal look. For an easy and bright splash of gold and orange in your garden, this is a top choice.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8
Mature Width 4
Mature Height 3
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 4-8

Bright and colorful shrubs really bring your garden alive, and the great advantage to foliage color over flowers is the many months of the year you get to enjoy that color. With evergreens you have that color every day – reliable, low-maintenance and a real garden asset. Not every garden has the space for bigger plants, but everyone has a spot in their garden that is calling out for the compact flash of brightness the Golden Tuffet Arborvitae brings. This unique evergreen is guaranteed to bring year-round gold and orange accent to your beds, or in planters and pots.

The Golden Tuffet Arborvitae grows slowly into a broad dome of foliage, shaped like a mushroom cap. It grows between 3 and 5 inches a year, so that in ten years it will be about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide, with a bold presence that exceeds its compact size. The unique foliage changes color through the seasons, and it is always interesting. The spring foliage is a bright, cheerful yellow color. As it matures it becomes a rich orange, darkening during the coldest winter months to a reddish-purple. Deeper inside, and around the base, the leaves are lime-green, so that the color of the outer leaves is lifted and enhanced by that contrast. This unique coloring is enriched by the attractive foliage, which looks like braided threads, giving the plant both a visual and tactile softness.

Use the Golden Tuffet Arborvitae around your garden wherever you want a splash of bold color. A single plant looks great in a planter or pot, where it will thrive for many years. A pair could be used to give a formal accent at the top of bottom of a flight of stairs. Plant it among a collection of colorful evergreens for a wonderful garden feature that brings year-round interest for very little effort. These beds only get better and better over the years, as the plants develop into mature specimens. Planted in clusters or groups in the foreground of larger beds, the Golden Tuffet Arborvitae has a powerful presence. It also makes an interesting and colorful border along a path or driveway or edging a bed in a lawn. Wherever you need a bright accent mound, this is your go-to plant. 

Growing Golden Tuffet Arborvitae Trees

Plant the Golden Tuffet Arborvitae in a sunny spot for the strongest color, as it will become more greenish when grown in a shadier spot. It grows well in any ordinary garden soil, preferring moist but well-drained ground. It will not grow so well in very dry and sandy soils, but otherwise this is a very easy plant to grow. This is a very cold-hardy plant, and it grows well even in zone 4, so it’s a great color-asset for gardeners in colder zones, where the choices can be more limited. It will also grow well into zone 8, but it does not like very hot and humid summers. It has no significant pests or diseases.

It needs no trimming to keep its ‘mushroom cap’ form, but if you want a very dense and neater mound, it can easily be done. An occasional trim every few years will ensure its stays dense and well-shaped. Trim in early spring, before new growth begins, but after the last hard frost. For mass planting and borders, space plants 2 feet apart for a dense cover, and 3 feet apart for a more open look, where each plant will retain its identity. Although this plant is a great choice for containers, you should be aware that the root system of almost all plants is not as winter-hardy as the top growth, and the Golden Tuffet Arborvitae is no exception. In containers it will not be hardy below zone 6. A simple solution is to slide it out of the pot in fall and plant it in the garden, and then return it to the pot in spring.

The Golden Tuffet Arborvitae is a special form of the eastern arborvitae, or white cedar, Thuja occidentalis. Also known as the American arborvitae, it grows at the margins of forests and around wetlands throughout south-eastern Canada and the north-eastern states. Trees can live for hundreds of years, and they may eventually grow to 60 feet tall. An interesting feature of this plant is that young seedlings have different leaves to mature plants. This ‘juvenile foliage’ is spiny, with the wedge-shaped leaves coming off the stems at an angle. This is believed to protect the seedlings from grazing animals. The leaves of ‘adult foliage’ lie flat and scale-like on the young stems. 

History and Origins of Golden Tuffet Arborvitae Trees

There are many different selected forms of arborvitae, and the one called ‘Golden Tuffet’ is an example of a plant that keeps its juvenile foliage throughout its life. This gives it thread-like leaves that look braided, and not the flat fans seen on many other types of arborvitae. This tree was found some years ago at the famous Iseli Nursery in Boring, Oregon, founded by Jean Iseli in 1975. This Swiss-American collector and breeder of dwarf conifers introduced many new evergreens, always of the best quality. The Golden Tuffet Arborvitae is no exception, and it is another tribute to his skills. Our plants are produced from stem pieces by specialist growers, not from seed, so that they remain identical to that original selection, which could have been a unique branch on another variety with juvenile leaves. This is never a readily-available plant, so our stock will soon be gone. To enjoy its unique beauty, order now, while our limited stock remains available.

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Golden Tuffet Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis 'Golden Tuffet'