Everybody loves to plant evergreen bushes around their house as part of the basic planting of a garden. They give a great sense of permanence and structure and set off the flowering shrubs and flowers that grow around them. However buying suitable plants can be a problem, because most people go to a garden-centre and simply pick out something that looks ‘cute’ and is small at the time it is bought. We have all driven past homes with gigantic evergreens right up against the walls and blocking windows, showing what can happen if you get it wrong. So making the right choice is important, especially if you have a smaller garden and don’t want it taken over by one gigantic green bush.
Hetz Midget Thuja is the answer if you want a plant that is permanently small and will never cause problems by crowding out your garden. This lovely rich-green mound will grow into a perfect form that is just 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet across, just right to go beside the front door, or beneath a window. This plant also looks great in clusters of 3 or 5 as part of your planting scheme. It also looks very nice all year round when planted in a pot for a simple and elegant way to decorate a patio, balcony or terrace. Its bright green color will look great in every season.
This is a very easy plant to grow and will thrive in full sun or partial shade. In hotter regions some afternoon shade is a good idea. It is incredibly hardy and will survive in the coldest parts of the country all the way up into icy Canada and right down into zone 7. It will grow in any kind of soil and when well-established it will tolerate some drought, although it prefers to have a good water supply. It is almost never bothered by pests and diseases.
Thuja occidentalis is the White Cedar or American Arborvitae, a plant that grows wild throughout north-eastern America, often in wet-lands or at the edge of forests. It is called arborvitae, meaning ‘tree of life’ because a tea made from the leaves is rich in vitamin C and would have saved many a settler from scurvy. In the wild this plant is an upright-growing narrow tree that can reach 30 to 60 feet in height. Other forms, such as Thuja Emerald Green, are great plants for hedging or accent specimens for gardens, especially in colder regions. ‘Hetz’s Midget’ is a special form of this plant and it was bred by Frank C. Hetz, who founded a nursery in Pennsylvania. He discovered this plant among a group of seedlings around 1928, but he did not release it until 1942, when dwarf conifers had become very popular.
Hetz Midget Thuja is a needle-evergreen or conifer, but the leaves are not needle-shaped, they are flat scales that grow around the stems. They are soft to the touch and not prickly, so this plant is safe to have around children. The young branches are clustered in fans, making an interesting surface texture to this plant, especially if it is unclipped. The foliage is an attractive mid-green color all year round.
Hetz Midget Thuja is a special selection, so only the exact plant will be the right size and have the correct qualities. It must be produced directly from trees from the original plant. Our trees are grown the correct way, from branch cuttings of these special trees. That way every tree is identical to the original. However these take longer to produce, so avoid cheaper, seedling trees that will only disappoint. There are other dwarf Thuja forms, but none are as compact and perfect as the Hetz Midget Thuja.
When planting near a building, avoid spots where snow or ice tends to fall from the roof, as this may crush your plant. If you do want to plant in that kind of location, use a wooden cover over your plant to stop the snow falling directly on it. Regular snowfall will of course do no harm and will in fact protect your plants from the coldest temperatures.
When you have chosen the location for your plant, dig a hole that is about three times the width of the pot. Mix some organic material, like rotted manure, garden compost or just some peat-moss, into the soil. Place the plant at the same depth it is in the pot and replace most of the soil. Firm this soil down around the roots, making sure there are no air-pockets. Then fill the hole with water. Once all this water has drained away replace the rest of the soil. Water your new arrival once a week during the first growing season and after that whenever the soil becomes dry. Always water your tree thoroughly over the whole area of the roots, not just near the trunk. Organic mulches like bark, compost or manure will help conserve moisture during the summer and provide some nutrients too. Use a fertilizer for evergreens to encourage strong, healthy growth – this can be a liquid form or a granular form. Apply according to the directions, starting in early spring when life returns to your garden.
Our Hetz Midget Thuja plants are exactly true to the original form and we constantly receive new, healthy stock so that our customers receive the best quality plants at all times. However this popular plant can be in short supply, so order now to avoid the disappointment of losing out on this great miniature plant.