Hot Head® Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis ‘RutThu#1’

Hot Head® Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis ‘RutThu#1’

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 Hot Head® Arborvitae is a breakthrough new plant that brings us the greenest compact arborvitae in existence. This dense, rounded plant has lush green foliage all year round, with absolutely no winter bronzing. For that classic, rounded green evergreen, it simply can’t be beaten. It grows to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide in ten years, and then adds a couple of inches every year. It needs no trimming to keep it compact, making it ideal for foundation planting around your home, specimens in beds, low borders, and in planter boxes and containers. Wherever you need a rounded, compact, green, green bush, this is the #1 choice.

  • Best rich-green arborvitae there is
  • The greenest green all year round
  • Natural compact rounded form needs no trimming
  • Easily grown in the coldest states
  • Equally reliable in warm zones too

Grow the Hot Head® Arborvitae in full sun or partial shade. Some afternoon shade in hot zones will suit it well, especially in summer. It is hardy from zones 2 or 3 to zone 8, and in containers from zone 5 to zone 8. It grows easily in ordinary garden soil, enjoying good drainage and moist soil, but growing well in all but the driest and wettest soils. It has no pests or diseases, and some evergreen fertilizer in spring will keep it growing vigorously and at the maximum green possible. No trimming is needed to keep its dense, compact form looking absolutely perfect.

Plant Hardiness Zones 3-8
Mature Width 2
Mature Height 3
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 3-8

When we get right down to it, gardens are about green – lush, rich green. Whether it’s our lawns or our trees, green is the backbone of every garden and this restful, yet vibrant color is what we look for, and expect to see. Yes, there is plenty of room for wonderful bright foliage colors, from yellow to purple and red, but they too look best set against a rich green backdrop. When it comes to low-maintenance evergreen shrubs, the Hot Head® Arborvitae stands out as the coolest green around. After all, it was produced in a breeding program designed to find a super-green arborvitae, and it worked.

The Hot Head Arborvitae is very cold-hardy, compact evergreen, growing into a rounded ball, a little taller than it is wide. It grows at a moderate pace, so that in 10 years it will be about 3 feet tall and 2 feet across, with a dense, compact branching structure that needs no trimming to always look perfect. The rich green leaves are tiny, and cling to the branches, forming fan-shaped branchlets that live for several years. Those leaves and branchlets are the richest green possible, and they stay that way every day of the year, even when the temperatures plummet.

Growing Hot Head Arborvitae Trees

The Hot Head Arborvitae is perfect to use around your home as an important part of the foundation planting. Low enough to fit beneath windows, and round enough to fill the spaces, it can be planted alone, or in groups of 3, 5 or more, adding valuable structure to your planting arrangements. Use it too in the foreground of your shrub beds, to anchor both the shapes and colors of other shrubs. It can be grown in a row as an interesting edging to border a path, driveway or fence, or as a low hedge between one part of your garden and another. In warmer zones it also makes a terrific container or planter shrub, filling pots all by itself, or with other plants around it, and making a bold formal statement on either side or a door, or flanking stairs or an entrance way. Wherever you need a bold, green accent, this is the bush you need.

The Hot Head Arborvitae is an amazingly tough plant. It was bred in Georgia, so we know it grows well in zone 8, and this species is already well known for growing easily in zones 3, and even in zone 2. That means it will grow just about anywhere in the country with ease. In outdoor containers it can be planted in zone 5 and warmer zones. Plant it in full sun or partial shade. It grows well in ordinary garden soil, doing best in moister but well-drained soils, but surviving normal periods of drought well once it is established. It will not grow so well in saturated ground, or in hot, dry, sandy places where it doesn’t have regular water. It almost never suffers from pests or diseases. It certainly doesn’t need trimming to keep it neat and compact – it does that naturally – but in too much shade the foliage will be more open, and you may need to trim it a little to keep it neat. You can of course also trim to keep it as a perfect globe, or to control its height in future years. All dwarf evergreens grow throughout their life, and the Hot Head Arborvitae adds about 2 inches to its height every year, so it will in time become significantly taller.

History and Origins of Hot Head Arborvitae Trees

The Hot Head Arborvitae is a selected plant of the American arborvitae, or white cedar, Thuja occidentalis. This plant grows naturally through all the colder north-eastern states, and up in south-eastern Canada too. It is found wild as a medium-sized tree, between 40 and 60 feet tall when mature, and it lives for centuries. It grows on the edges of forests, around wetlands, and on rocky cliffs and outcrops. It is called ‘arborvitae’, which means ‘tree of life’ because early French explorers discovered that native Americans used a tea made from it as a winter supplement to prevent and cure scurvy. It contains more Vitamin C than orange juice, as well as essential amino acids needed for good health in the hard times of living off the land through a northern winter. It was the very first North American tree to be grown in Europe, at the Jardin du Roi (garden of the King), in 1540.

The Hot Head Arborvitae is the product of a project by Professor John M. Ruter, a plant breeder specializing in ornamental plants at the Institute of Plant Breeding, University of Georgia, Athens GA. He took seed from plants of the Holmstrup Arborvitae, a columnar variety already known for its rich-green color throughout the year. From an original 35 seedlings he selected 5 for further trials, and then, after years of testing, he selected the most compact and richest-green of them all. It was patented with the official name of ‘RutThu#1’ in 2016, and this brand-new, breakthrough plant is sold with a registered trade name as the Hot Head® Arborvitae. If you love green you will adore this plant, so order now, before our limited stock is gone.

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Hot Head® Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis ‘RutThu#1’