Fire Chief Arborvitae Is a Cute and Colorful Evergreen

fire chief arborvitaeVirtues: Fire Chief arborvitae is a small evergreen shrub with a compact, round shape and foliage that offers different colors in different seasons.

Common name: Fire Chief arborvitae

Botanical name: Thuja occidentalis ‘Congabe’

Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Season: Year-round, for foliage.

Foliage: The fine-textured evergreen foliage is bronze-orange at its tips year-round and it takes on more red tones in the fall. In spring the new growth is a bright yellow.

Habit: Fire Chief arborvitae is a compact shrub, slowly growing just to 2 to 4 feet tall and wide.

Origins: This selection was discovered as a sport (natural mutation) of the arborvitae cultivar named ‘Rheingold’, which grows slightly larger with golden foliage rather than orange-red. The species Thuja occidentalis is a tall tree known as American arborvitae or eastern white cedar; it is native to roughly the eastern half of Canada south through the Upper South.

How to grow Fire Chief arborvitae: Site in full sun to part shade in a spot where it will not be buffeted by winds, particularly winter winds that can be very drying. (Read tips on protecting arborvitae and other shrubs from winter damage.) Prefers well-drained soil and regular, moderate watering. Fire Chief will maintain its rounded shape without pruning. USDA Zones 5–8.

Image courtesy of Southern Living Plant Collection.

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