Green Giant arborvitae is a hybrid cross between western redcedar and Japanese arborvitae. It is a large, hardy evergreen with a pyramidal to conical, uniform appearance. The dense, scale-like foliage in flattened sprays on horizon or ascending branches is a lustrous, medium green color that darkens or bronzes only slightly in winter. The leaves have a faint, pleasant fragrance. The young bark is cinnamon-red, turning to gray-brown or red-brown. Mature trees bear persistent, half-inch, oblong cones that emerge green and turn brown. ‘Green Giant’ tolerates a wide range of soils and temperatures but prefers moist, well-drained soil and sun to partial shade. It has some drought tolerance once established. Wet or poorly drained sites should be avoided. It is very salt-sensitive. Young plants should be protected from wind, but once established, this cultivar is wind-resistant and can withstand heavy snow and ice loads. It shows better resistance to browsing by deer than most arborvitae. Little or no pruning is required, but it shears easily if necessary. It is a fast grower, up to 3′ a year under good conditions. Mature height averages 50′-60′ with a 12-20′ spread.


Hardiness Zones

The green giant arborvitae can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–7.


Mature Size

The green giant arborvitae grows to a height of 50–60′ and a spread of 12–20′ at maturity.

Growth Rate

This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24″ per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The green giant arborvitae tolerates a wide range of soil textures. Poorly drained and wet sites should be avoided, and it is very salt-sensitive.


This tree: 

  • Will grow up to 3′ per year until maturity.
  • Darkens or bronzes slightly in the winter.
  • Requires little or no pruning but can be sheared easily if necessary.
  • Should be planted 5–6′ apart for a screen or hedge.
  • Is a public domain tree, meaning anyone can propagate it from cuttings.
  • Has no serious disease or pest problems.
  • Features tiny, scale-like, glossy green leaves that are packed closely together in overlapping rows on divided branchlets, displaying in a flattened, fan-like spray.
  • Yields 1/2″ long oblong cones that emerge green in the summer and turn brown in the winter.
  • Releases a pleasing aroma when leaves are squeezed.
  • Tolerates wind once established and withstands heavy ice or snow, making it a good choice for a fast-growing windbreak.
  • Shows better resistance to browsing by deer than most arborvitae.
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape.

Wildlife Value

Arborvitae provides nesting sites and cover for birds and small animals. The flower buds, seeds and foliage are a food source, although this cultivar has greater resistance to deer browsing than most arborvitae.