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Woody > Thuja > Thuja occidentalis > Thuja occidentalis 'Fastigiata'

Thuja occidentalis


Columnar Eastern White Cedar

Origin:  North America, not always recognized at a separate cultivar from ‘Pyramidalis’
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A nice grey-green conifer with an upright form that can be used as a windbreak or hedge. Flattened sprays of foliage on branches with shaggy orange-brown bark make an attractive tree for the landscape.

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


Tree (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
-40 - (-17)
Temperature (°F)
-40 - (0)
8 - 9 m
2 - 3 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
An upright columnar or pyramidal evergreen tree.
Can be used as a hedge, screen, windbreak, foundation planting or less commonly as a specimen plant.
Prefers partial to full sun. Grows well in wet soils but can tolerate dry periods. Soils can be acidic, neutral or slightly alkaline sand, loam or clay. Young trees may need shelter from cold or dry winds until established. Hedges should be pruned in late spring. May require burlap wrapping in winter due to damage from snow or ice loads.
Columnar, pyramidal, and more narrow than other Thuja cultivars.
ID Characteristic
Columnar upright evergreen with greyish green foliage and orange-brown shaggy bark.
No major pests or disease problems. Prone to winter loading, leaving the tree looking untidy after bending and breaking of branches under heavy snow.
Horticultural origin.
Bark/Stem Description
Orange-brown and shaggy, peeling off in long vertical strips on mature trees.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Buds are 3 mm in size with opposite arrangement. Difficult to tell the difference between the bud and the foliage.
Leaf Description
Greyish-green foliage turns green in autumn and then bronze in the winter months. Foliage grows in flattened sprays on spreading branches is flat and scale-like, typical of cedars (arborvitae), in opposite arrangement with leathery texture and smooth surface. Leaves smell tansy-like when crushed.
Flower Description
Separate solitary male and female flowers.
Fruit Description
Fruits from September to October; cones are egg shaped, 1.5 cm long, smooth and green turning to brown containing winged seeds with maturation.
Colour Description
Foliage is a greyish green in spring and summer, turning to green in autumn and then a bronze colour in the winter months; the bark is orange-brown.
Texture Description
Fine texture given from feathery effect of foliage; coarser texture than ‘Smaragd’ cultivar.
Notable Specimens
VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has a maze created from Thuja occidentalis ‘Fastigiata.’ University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
Can be propagated by hardwood cuttings in late summer by cutting shoots 25 cm long. Put rooting hormone on the cut end, insert into potting mix, and place in a closed case with bottom heat. Plant will root in 6–8 weeks and can be transplanted to a pot to be planted outdoors the following autumn. Can also be propagated by softwood cuttings in spring or early summer from new growth before it firms up. Select vigorous shoots and cut stem to 4–5 cm in length. Place the cuttings in a closed case, water, and keep out of direct sunlight. Once rooted, harden off and re-pot.
Kelly, John. The Hillier Gardener’s Guide to Trees and Shrubs. Montreal: David and Charles Publishers. 1997. Print. “Thuja occidentalis ‘Fastigiata.” Kwanten Polytechnic University School of Horticulture. 2012. Web. Feb 28.12.