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Woody > Thuja > Thuja occidentalis > Thuja occidentalis 'Ericoides'

Thuja occidentalis


Dwarf White Cedar

Origin:  Horticultural origin.
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This fairly resilient plant is great for any landscape composition due to its dwarf form. With a fine and delicate texture mixed with its purplish-green winter foliage creates a dynamic interest. If you’re living in a snow heavy environment this plant may be just for you due to its compact form it can rebound after a heavy snowfall. Although it is not a first choice plant for everyone this dwarf conifer grows relatively fast as compared to others.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Shrub (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
Temperature (°F)
1–2 m
1–2 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
This androgynous plant is densely compact with a slightly pyramidal form is perfect for home gardens and landscapes since it is not very large. This juvenile foliage is usually a soft grey-green in colour turning to a purplish-brown in the winter.
This slender multi-stemmed plant gives off a delicate and fine form to any landscape composition which makes it an excellent accent feature on its own. This specimens purplish-brown foliage in winter adds great informal interest to any garden. Due to its compact form it can be used for hedges, screens, windbreak, foundation and massing.
Being pollution and salt tolerant this plant is very adaptable and grows best in full sun to partial shade. Although this plant has a wide soil range it still prefers moist, well drained soils being alkaline to neutral on the pH scale. To help protect this plant do not let it be exposed to dry winds and consider heavy mulching around the root zone to help keep them warm in the winter.
Compact to loose and rounded to oval.
ID Characteristic
This dwarf evergreen has scale-like foliage that when crushed emits a tansy-like odour. This multi-stemmed densely compact to conical plant with its slender form creates a fine and delicate look.
Relatively pest and disease free, although keep an eye out for canker. Spotting and dropping of foliage may occur from leaf blight and leaf miner will damage the leaf tips. Other possible pests include bagworms, mealy bug, scales and occasional spider mites.
Horticultural origin.
Bark/Stem Description
The surface of the bark is grey in colour with relatively narrow furrows that are brown and more visible on older specimens. Due to these narrow furrowed strips this plant is considered reasonably ornamental once matured.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Relatively difficult to distinguish the bud from the foliage due to its dark green colour. The buds are arranged oppositely and are approximately 3 mm in size.
Leaf Description
Entirely free leaved form of Thuja occidentalis. This scale-like foliage is soft and in a juvenile form. Normally the foliage is a yellowish-green to dull green colour turning into a fantastic purplish-brown for the winter months. When the foliage is crushed it produces a tansy-like odour.
Flower Description
This plant is solitary, monoecious and terminal.
Fruit Description
8–6 scaled oblong cones reaching 12 mm in length. Tannish brown in colour; the seed has a narrow, shallow notched wing around it.
Colour Description
The bark has a grey surface with furrows of reddish-brown in colour. The foliage colour is a yellowish-green to dull green turning to a purplish-brown in the winter months.
Texture Description
The bark texture is furrowed and the foliage is soft creating an overall texture described as fine and delicate.
Notable Specimens
Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, Ontario.
Plants may be separated from the parent because mature specimens can layer in a garden. Cuttings taken in late winter are rooted under a bottom heat misting system at 21°C.
Cope, Edward A. Native and Cultivated Conifers of Northeastern North America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 1986. Print. Ouden, Pieter D., and Boudewijn Karalloom. Manual of Cultivated Conifers: Hardy in the Cold-and Warm-temperate Zone. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1965. Print.