My Favorite Plant of the Week: Thuja Occidenalis 'Golden Tuffet'

My garden in winter is a mild and quiet place. The dwarf conifers take center stage whist the blooming perennials are snoozing.

I was feeling inspired by the sunshine that melted the morning fog yesterday, and decided to kick off the New Year by working in the garden. We had mild temperatures and I thought that if I got a head start on moving some plants around, they might just reward me with robust growth later in the year. 

While working in the garden, I noticed my Thuja Occidenalis 'Golden Tuffet'. It's color has truly turned a coppery - bronze on all of the outer tips.

Thuja Occidentalis 'Golden Tuffet'
I picked up this dwarf conifer, almost two years ago at Tsugawa Nursery in Woodland, Washington. True to it's dwarf nature, it is growing about 3" a year. A very manageable rate for my small, front garden space.

I enjoy the almost 'braided' look to the foliage, and feels soft, almost silky to the touch.

Here is an excellent description from a website called Evergreen Plant Nursery:

Overall Description
  Golden Tuffet Arborvitae is a dwarf Thuja selection that was reportedly discovered as a branch sport from T. occidentalis 'Rheingold'. Growth habit is somewhat squatty, almost puts you in mind of a mushroom in overall shape. Grows wider than taller. Foliage is very dense, and has an almost braided appearance. The tips eventually nod, or curve the entire mature plant the appearance of a pillow, or pincushion at times. Coloration is very light green at the base, changing over to a rich golden yellow color on the outer portions of the plant. Color display is best in locations with good sun exposure and a brief period of shade or filtered sun. Winter coloration is more of a dark bronze / gold......almost orange-ish.
  Very easy to grow - virtually maintenance free. Responds very well to trimming & pruning if necessary to maintain at different heights & widths. Uses include foreground plantings, low growing hedges, or lower brightly colored accents. A wonderful little Arborvitae variety that is quite hard to come by.
Plant Facts & Specifications
Mature Height: 2-3 ft
Mature Width:  3-4 ft.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate ( 3"- 6" avg per yr )
Hardiness Zones:  4-8 ( if unsure of your zone, please use zone finder below )
Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Preference: Average to slightly sandy - well drained
Foliage Color & Texture: Very soft, delicate textured foliage that has a braided, almost twisted cordlike appearance. Color is bright lime green on the interior & base, changing over to a brilliant golden yellow on the exterior. Some winter bronzing will occur in colder climates, which gives the plant a darker gold / bronze color......almost coppery or dark orange.

I was attracted to this little plant when I saw it in the spring, with bright, lime green color. The color fades through the summer and I've been rewarded with this gorgeous winter copper color.

Thuja Occidentalis 'Golden Tuffet' sits newly planted right behind the solar light in fall 2012
This is a delightful little conifer and I recommend it to anyone looking for year a small evergreen. It has been fairly maintenance free, and with it's lovely color changing quality, what more could you ask? :)

It felt wonderful to pop around the garden yesterday. I'm definitely in the mood to acquire more dwarf conifers. They provide unobtrusive structure and year round color. Perfect-o.

Visit Danger Garden for more 'favorite plants of the week' posts.

Cheers, Jenni


  1. With a name like 'Golden Tuffet' how could it not be good? I understand why you say there is an "almost 'braided' look to the foliage" very interesting. And in case I didn't say it yesterday on FB you are a brave lady moving plants around right now. I just am so afraid of mother natures wrath that I only cut back the truly dead or dormant things yesterday. I wanted to prune the dead bits of things that are still alive but remained strong and left them be for now. It was hard!

    1. I know, isn't the name cute? I think I might have saved some items should we get another nasty cold snap. Some of my autumn color pots had perennials that I felt were too exposed, so I tucked them into actual garden beds. And, I pruned the dead stuff, but only in the front. I left the seed heads and dead branches in the back for the birds. Nothing too brave, but it was so nice, I couldn't resist :)

  2. I think there is a lot of merit in having a slow-growing plant. You don't have to anticipate what it might look like in a year or two - you KNOW!

  3. I have one of these that I love. It shamed me out of my hate affair with Arborvitae.

  4. What lovely plants you've selected for the raised beds. Happy New Year!

  5. Oh, I love things with copper coloring. That's a beauty!

  6. What beautiful foliage with such a charming name!


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my post. The comment moderator is on and I will approve comments as soon as I can. Thank you for stopping by!

Popular Posts