Tom Thumb ArborvitaeThuja occidentalis ‘Tom Thumb’
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Thuja occidentalis ‘Tom Thumb’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Tom Thumb Arborvitae is a compact, rounded evergreen bush growing no more than 2 or 3 feet tall and wide. It has a natural round form, without trimming, but it can be trimmed too for the most formal look. The lush green foliage is very dense, never showing a bare interior, and it stays green all winter without bronzing or burning. Use it as a foreground accent in any bed, to mark the corners of your beds, or edge a path. It is also perfect for planters in colder areas where most green plants won’t overwinter in a pot outdoors.
Full sun will keep the Tom Thumb Arborvitae dense and green, but a little shade for part of the day won’t cause any problems. It is winter-hardy even in zone 4, without bronzing from the cold. It grows best in moist soils, so don’t plant it in dry sandy places. It tolerates poor soil, clay and urban conditions and rarely suffers from any pests or diseases. If you want to trim, do it between late spring and early fall.
Sentences need full-stops, and gardens do as well. There is something very calm and restful about ball-shaped plants – they stop us in our tracks and calm our minds. When arranging the plants in your beds, especially around your home, structure and interest comes from using a variety of shapes, from slender verticals to rounded forms. Cute little rounded balls are always popular, but it takes a good eye to clip them into those perfect shapes – unless you let Mother Nature do it for you. That’s where the Tom Thumb Arborvitae comes into the picture. This dense, round ball of green will grow – without clipping – just 2 or 3 feet tall and wide, maintaining a near-perfect roundness all by itself. Now you can make those accents, and stagger the heights of your shrubs for best effect, without spending your Sundays out with the shears. Use this cute little guy to accent the corners of your beds, or make a low edging. Plant it among rocks, or in a pot for the easiest porch decoration there is. Reliable and simple to grow, just plant it and let it do its round thing. See, that was easy.
The Tom Thumb Arborvitae is a dense, rounded evergreen shrub that has many compact branches rising from the base, naturally making a ball-shaped plant that will grow no more than 2 or 3 feet tall and wide. The foliage is arranged in compact fans of slender branches, covered with tiny green leaves like flat scales, that cling to the stems, making them look completely green. These fans of green live for several years, and only die when they have become hidden by new growth, so you see green all year round. Other arborvitae shrubs can turn bronze or brown in winter, but the Tom Thumb Arborvitae stays green and fresh, even during the coldest winters. These fans of foliage lie on top of each other, keeping this plant naturally-dense and lush. You won’t have to worry about seeing an open, brown center on your evergreens – its natural density keeps it solid, with no gaps or unsightly holes. You get all-year solid green with this little guy – what a relief.
When organizing the plants in your beds it is best to have a range of heights from front to back. Use the Tom Thumb Arborvitae to create a foreground to the foundation planting around your home, scaling down the plants from large to small – it’s what gives your beds that ‘designer look’. Use it at the corners of beds in particular – at every corner for a formal look, just at some for a more relaxed garden feel. Grow it alone in the smallest gardens – it never grows too big – or cluster it in groups of 3 or 5 for perfect effect. In smaller beds you can use it among other evergreens or with flowering shrubs, it never looks out of place. It is also perfect for planters and pots, especially where you want that ‘globe look’, but where other globe plants like boxwood won’t grow because of winter cold.
Despite its small size, the Tom Thumb Arborvitae is incredibly hardy, growing easily, without winter burn, in zone 4, and all the way to zone 8 or even zone 9 if your summers are not too hot and humid. For plants in pots we suggest a limit of zone 5 to 6.
Full sun will keep the Tom Thumb Arborvitae compact and green, but it will also grow well with a couple of hours of shade each day. Don’t plant in lots of shade, or it will become thin and more open. It grows easily in just about any soil, including wetter soils, alkaline soils and urban conditions. Don’t plant in very sandy, dry soils, as this plant is not particularly drought tolerant, although once established it can handle a bit of dryness in summer.
We don’t usually see any pests or diseases on this plant, but deer do like to eat it. It doesn’t need trimming, but if you love super-neat, go ahead and trim it into the densest and most precise green globe you have seen – it looks great. Trim from late spring, once the new growth has toughened up a bit, until early fall. Late trimming can push new growth that then burns in winter. Remember to soak the ground shortly before freeze-up, to protect from winter burn.
The variety called ‘Tom Thumb’ is a selected form of the eastern arborvitae or white cedar, Thuja occidentalis. This native tree grows naturally throughout the northeast and up into Canada, usually around the edges of forests, in low-lying areas and around wetlands. We don’t know the origin of this variety, which is similar to, but more compact, than several other forms that grow into round balls, rather than upright bushes.
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The Tom Thumb Arborvitae is a perfect choice for small gardens due to its compact size and natural round form. It grows just 2 or 3 feet tall and wide, making it an ideal choice for small spaces. Despite its small size, it is very hardy and can withstand cold winters, staying green and fresh all year round. It is also quite adaptable, growing easily in a variety of soil conditions, including wetter soils, alkaline soils and urban conditions. While it doesn’t require trimming, you can trim it if you prefer a more precise shape. This makes it a low-maintenance choice for busy gardeners.
Yes, the Tom Thumb Arborvitae is an excellent choice for growing in pots or planters. Its compact size and natural round form make it a great choice for container gardening. It is also very hardy and can withstand a range of climates, from zone 4 to 8 or even 9. It grows easily in a variety of soil conditions, making it a versatile choice for different locations. Plus, it doesn’t require trimming, making it a low-maintenance option for container gardening.
The Tom Thumb Arborvitae is a hardy plant that stays green and fresh even during the coldest winters. It can easily grow in climates ranging from zone 4 to 8 or even 9. However, to ensure its health during the winter months, avoid late trimming as this can push new growth that may burn in winter. Also, remember to soak the ground shortly before freeze-up to protect the plant from winter burn.
The Tom Thumb Arborvitae is a robust plant that rarely suffers from any pests or diseases. However, it is worth noting that deer do find it appetizing. If deer are a common presence in your area, you may want to take measures to protect your plant, such as using deer-resistant plants around it or installing a deer fence.
The Tom Thumb Arborvitae prefers moist soils, so regular watering is recommended. However, it’s important to note that this plant is not particularly drought tolerant. Once established, it can handle a bit of dryness in summer, but it’s best to ensure it gets consistent moisture, especially during dry spells. As with any plant, avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot.
The Tom Thumb Arborvitae grows best in full sun, which keeps it compact and green. However, it can also tolerate a couple of hours of shade each day. If planted in a location with too much shade, the plant may become thin and more open. Therefore, for the best growth and appearance, it’s recommended to plant your Tom Thumb Arborvitae in a location where it will receive plenty of sunlight.
The Tom Thumb Arborvitae is quite adaptable and grows easily in a variety of soil types, including wetter soils, alkaline soils, and urban conditions. However, it does not thrive in very sandy, dry soils. For the best growth, plant your Tom Thumb Arborvitae in well-draining soil and ensure it receives consistent moisture.
The Tom Thumb Arborvitae naturally maintains a neat, round shape and doesn’t require regular trimming. However, if you prefer a super-neat appearance, you can trim it into a dense, precise green globe. The best time to trim is from late spring, once the new growth has toughened up a bit, until early fall. Avoid late trimming as this can push new growth that may burn in winter.
Due to its compact size and natural round form, the Tom Thumb Arborvitae is not typically used as a hedge. However, it can be used to create a low border or edging in your garden. Its neat, round shape and lush green foliage make it a beautiful and low-maintenance choice for this purpose.