The Oriental Arborvitae is an evergreen tree with dense foliage that is in flattened, vertical sprays. It is one of the most widely grown conifers in temperate regions. It is a tough, durable plant with attractive foliage and curious, ornamental seed cones that are light bluish-gray with curved scales. It is commonly called Oriental thuja or Oriental arborvitae. Platycladus orientalis is native to China, Korea and the Russian Far East. It typically grows as a dense, conical to columnar tree to 18-25’ tall. Also grows as a large shrub. Plants tend to open up with age. Scale-like yellowish-green leaves in flattened sprays in youth, becoming darker green with age. Foliage may bronze up in winter. Oval cones (to 3/4” long). Reddish-brown bark. Thuja orientalis is a synonym of this species.
Grow in fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light afternoon shade. Appreciates good air circulation. Water plants regularly in hot and dry weather. Healthy, well-maintained plants sited in proper growing environments usually have few major problems. Garden Uses. Specimen. Hedge. Foundations. Hardy in zones 6-9.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours.
- Put the seeds in a ziplock bag.
- Put the bag in the refrigerator and leave it there for 8 weeks.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot.
- Sow the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a layer of soil.
- Water the soil so that it is moist but not wet.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.