Little Giant ArborvitaeThuja occidentalis 'Little Giant'
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Thuja occidentalis 'Little Giant'
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The Little Giant Arborvitae is the perfect plant if you want a round green ball, of medium size, without needing to clip or trim it. It grows steadily into a near-perfect sphere 2 feet tall and wide, ultimately reaching about 4 feet in both directions. It stays green all year round, without winter bronzing or burning, and it is incredibly hardy, all the way through zone 4. It grows well in warmer areas too, up to and including zone 7. Grow it as part of the foundation planting around your home, in the front of beds for accents, or in rows or groups for a formal look. It fits perfectly into planters and pots, giving that neat, round look, but needing no clipping at all.
The Little Giant Arborvitae should be planted in full sun or light shade. It grows easily in all soils, including damp ones, but not in areas completely saturated with water continuously. It has moderate drought resistance when established, and grows best in moist soil, enriched with organic material. It benefits when young from some evergreen fertilizer in spring and fall, it has no significant pests or diseases, and this plant is extremely easy to grow. For busy gardeners who still like their plants neat, nothing beats it, especially in the coldest regions.
Round balls of evergreen foliage have a constant charm, and a neat presence that contrasts well with other plants of much looser and more irregular forms. One way to achieve these handsome round accents is to clip plants into shape, but how much better if we could have plants that will do it all by themselves, with no need for trimming at all. The Little Giant Dwarf Arborvitae is just such a plant. It perfectly naturally grows into an ever-expanding ball of rich green foliage, reaching 2 to 3 feet in about 10 years, and ultimately growing to around 4 feet in height and width.
Throughout its life it remains spherical, and that is what makes the Little Giant Dwarf Arborvitae so valuable in the garden, and for low-maintenance. The tiny leaves wrap around the stems closely, and the young branches radiate in sprays, so the effect is of tiny green fans of foliage, neatly tucked together to create a sphere. This variety rarely if ever produces cones. Unlike many other kinds of arborvitae, which often become bronze-colored in winter, this fabulous little plant stays rich green throughout the coldest months.
Use the Little Giant Arborvitae wherever you want a neat, round form. Add it to a variety of other evergreens and flowering shrubs for planting around your home. It is perfect below low windows or plant a pair on either side of a full-length window or flanking a door. Plant it as a single specimen in a smaller space, or in groups to fill larger spaces. Out in the garden it fits well among other shrubs, for example in the foreground of a bed of larger shrubs and small trees. A row makes an easy visual boundary, perhaps along a path or driveway, or to separate a vegetable garden from more ornamental areas. For containers, this is an excellent choice, giving us that neat round form, without needing clipping, to decorate patios and terraces, or in planters surrounded by flowers.
On top of all this, the Little Giant Arborvitae is incredibly hardy. Even in chilly zone 3, which is found straddling the border with the US and Canada, this plant thrives. Yet it is tough enough to do well as far south as zone 7 too, where it is just as useful for its neat, round form. Soil is not a problem either, because this bush will grow in almost any soil, sand or clay, as long as it doesn’t sit wet for weeks at a time. It is, however, much more tolerant of wet soils than most other conifers, as is obvious when you see it growing wild in wet-land areas. Pests and diseases are not a problem, although deer will graze on it in winter, given a chance. Clipping is strictly optional, and some gardeners do like to clip once a year, just to get a geometrically precise look, but for most of us, this shrub’s natural roundness is just fine.
White Cedar or American Arborvitae, called Thuja occidentalis by botanists, is a tree that can be found growing wild all through north-eastern America. It is often found growing in wet-lands or at the edge of forests. In its natural form this plant is an upright-growing narrow tree that can reach 30 to 60 feet in height. The name arborvitae means ‘tree of life’ because a tea made from the leaves is rich in vitamin C. This was taught to the early settlers by Native Americans, and it must have saved many of the early colonies during the long, cold winters living on flour and meat.
Forms of this tree, such as the Emerald Green Arborvitae, are used for hedging and upright specimens, particularly in the coldest areas. There are also several useful varieties of different sizes, but the one called ‘Little Giant’ stands out for its moderate size, rich green foliage all year round, easy care, and its round form. It was developed in 1970, at the McConnell Nurseries in Ontario, Canada. Gene Blythe was their head grower, and he raised many seedlings of this tree, and tested them for form, hardiness, and vigor. He selected several, all beginning with the word ‘Little’ and ‘Little Giant’ is one of his best selections.
Our plants are grown from stem cuttings taken from the best examples of this tree, then rooted and grown into vigorous young plants. With today’s busy lifestyles, very few of us have the time to trim bushes into balls, but we love the look, and so many of our clients love the Little Giant Arborvitae. Order right away, as our stock will soon be gone.
The Little Giant Arborvitae is a slow-growing plant. It grows steadily into a near-perfect sphere, reaching a height and width of 2 to 3 feet in about 10 years. Ultimately, it can grow to around 4 feet in both directions. This makes it a great choice for gardeners who want a low-maintenance plant that maintains a compact size.
Yes, the Little Giant Arborvitae has a moderate tolerance for drought, especially once it’s well established. However, it prefers moist soil that’s enriched with organic material. So, while it can survive periods of dryness, it will thrive best with regular watering and good soil conditions.
The Little Giant Arborvitae is a hardy plant that’s not significantly affected by pests or diseases. However, it can attract deer in the winter months. If deer are a concern in your area, you may want to consider protective measures like fencing or repellents to keep them at bay.
The Little Giant Arborvitae is quite adaptable and can grow in a variety of soil types, including damp soils. However, it doesn’t do well in areas where the soil is continuously saturated with water. For optimal growth, the soil should be well-draining and enriched with organic material.
The Little Giant Arborvitae prefers a location with full sun or light shade. This means it should get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. However, it can also tolerate some shade, especially in hotter climates where too much direct sun can cause scorching.
Absolutely! The Little Giant Arborvitae is a great choice for container gardening. Its compact size and neat, round shape make it a perfect fit for planters and pots. Plus, it requires no clipping or trimming, making it a low-maintenance option for container gardens.
When the Little Giant Arborvitae is young, it benefits from an application of evergreen fertilizer in the spring and fall. As it matures, it may not require as much fertilization, especially if it’s planted in rich, well-amended soil. Always follow the instructions on the fertilizer package to avoid over-fertilizing, which can harm the plant.
No, the Little Giant Arborvitae maintains its rich green color all year round, even during the coldest winter months. This makes it a great choice for adding a pop of color to your garden during the winter when many other plants have lost their leaves or gone dormant.
Yes, the Little Giant Arborvitae can be used as a hedge. Its compact, spherical shape and uniform growth make it an excellent choice for creating a formal hedge or border. Plus, since it maintains its color all year round, it can provide privacy and visual interest in all seasons.
When planting a hedge with the Little Giant Arborvitae, you should consider the mature size of the plant, which is around 4 feet in both height and width. To create a dense hedge, you can plant them 2 to 3 feet apart. If you prefer a looser hedge, you can space them further apart.