Primo Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis Primo® 'IslPrim'

Primo Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis Primo® 'IslPrim'

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


A dwarf conifer, Primo® Arborvitae is a new Arborvitae selection and is the perfect choice for those gardening in small spaces or desire to add some eye-catching greenery to containers. Only growing about 5 inches yearly, it eventually tops out around 4 feet tall with a mature width of around 12 inches. It takes around 10 years for Primo® to reach its mature height and width, making it the perfect choice for areas where you do not want a plant to take over the planting site too quickly.

  • Dwarf conifer maintaining a smallish size
  • Evergreen with deep green foliage
  • Perfect fit for containers, fairy gardens or small spaces
  • Cold hardy to -20 to -30°F
  • Naturally sculpted spire-like shape

Primo® Arborvitae grows well planted in a site receiving full sun, but also tolerates growing in a partially sunny location in the landscape, especially in areas that experience hot summers. It will not perform well used as an indoor plant. In addition, if planted in a location with too much shade it loses some of its natural foliage density.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8
Mature Width 1
Mature Height 4
Zones 4-8

The fragrant and rich, dark-green, needle-like foliage of the Primo® Arborvitae is compact and naturally forms into a sculpted spire-like shape and as the plant ages, takes on the form of a miniature tree. During the warm summer months this shrub develops its dark-green coloration, while during winter the foliage takes on more of a muted green color. Sometimes the foliage has reddish-bronze tips during winter.

Growing Primo® Arborvitae

Gardeners living in cold to moderate climates will have no problems growing and gracing their gardens with this dwarf evergreen. In fact, it takes winter lows reaching down to -20 to -30°F in USDA planting zone 4, as well as frosts and freezes in milder regions of USDA planting zone 8. However, those living in the coldest areas within its hardiness range should plant their Primo® Arborvitae in a protected location and mulch around the root system to keep it warm during the coldest portion of the year. Even during the coldest winters, Primo® Arborvitae will bring its warm green color to an otherwise dull landscape where many plants and trees have lost their foliage.

Primo® Arborvitae planted in the preferred conditions is a hardy and easy to care for dwarf conifer. No need to pull out your pruning shears, because it keeps its shape naturally and you can actually damage its natural form by trimming it back – so leave those tools in the tool shed! In addition, it’s not a fussy addition to the landscape, as it is not plagued by any serious disease or pest problems.

Uses on Your Property

Primo® Arborvitae fulfills a variety of needs within the garden, especially where a small-growing evergreen is needed. It performs quite well planted in containers or above ground planter boxes, dressing up a porch or entranceway with its brilliant green color and texture of the foliage. Just be sure to plant it in a container with bottom drain holes to prevent problems with rot due to the soil remaining wet too long.

This is the plant for you if you only have a small space to garden and with its naturally sculpted spire-like shape and eventually forming into a smallish tree, it makes the perfect specimen plant. If you are selecting appropriate plants that fit well into a miniature or fairy garden, then you cannot go wrong using Primo® Arborvitae. In addition, its naturally small size makes it works well as a bonsai.

Primo® Arborvitae also is an attractive addition used in rock gardens or used as a foundation planting. Its needle-like and textural foliage makes it suitable used in mixed gardens and used with plants taking on different forms and leaf types. Its uses in the garden are almost endless.

Planting Location

If you are planting multiple Primo® Arborvitae together in a garden, always consider the plant’s mature width. Although it will take some time before it reaches its mature width of 1 foot, you want to allow enough space between multiple plants so they receive proper circulation of air, which cuts down on problems with disease. In addition, and though it will take around 10 years, the Arborvitae will eventually grow up to 4 feet tall.

Select a site situated in full to partial sun for the best growth. Primo® Arborvitae tolerates a wide variety of soil types, as long as they drain well and do not have a tendency to remain soggy. It has a moderate tolerance to drought conditions once established, but during the first season of growth and especially if conditions are hot and dry, water several times weekly, especially after planting. Water containers when the top inch of soil becomes dry. When watering, be sure to give the Arborvitae a deep soaking so you drench the root system.

History and Origins of Primo® Arborvitae

Primo® ‘IslPrim’ is one of the many dwarf cultivars of Thuja occenditalis, commonly called American Arborvitae. Its common name, Arborvitae (which means tree of life), comes from the early French settlers who journeyed to North America and learned that Native Americans used its foliage to treat scurvy. Although you probably will not have to worry about treating scurvy with your Primo® Arborvitae, you can rest assured you are receiving hardy and healthy plants. They have lived their entire life in containers residing in a nursery environment and receiving the absolute best of care. This assures you are receiving a healthy plant that will grace your landscape for years to come.

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Primo Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis Primo® 'IslPrim'