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Platycladus orientalis

Oriental Arborvitae
Evergreen, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries

Native to northern China, Manchuria, and Korea. The species grows to 25 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide but is rarely grown; nurseries offer more attractive, shrubbier selections. Juvenile leaves are feathery and needlelike; mature leaves are flat and scalelike, carried in irregularly arranged sprays. Foliage is green or yellowish green, may take on bronze tones in winter. Upright cones to 3/4 in. long start off gray-blue and age to brown; pleasant-smelling when crushed. 

Widely used around foundations, by doorways or gates, and in formal rows.

Protect plants from reflected heat of light-colored walls or pavement.

In the Rocky Mountains, grows best in partial shade; shade during winter is especially helpful. Needs well-drained soil. Blight of leaves and twigs in Northwest is easily controlled by copper sprays applied in early fall and by pruning out and destroying diseased growth. Has survived well in nematode-infested soils. Watch for spider mites.

‘Aurea Nana’: Golden-foliaged, compact globe. Usually 3 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide but can grow as high as 5 ft.

‘Bonita’ (‘Bonita Upright’, ‘Bonita Erecta’): Rounded, full, dense cone to 3 ft. high and 2 ft. wide. Dark green with a slight golden tinting at branch tips.

‘Elegantissima’: Upright and conical, to 15 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide, with golden yellow foliage that turns yellow-green in summer, then takes on bronze tones in winter.


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