Time and Temp


All photos and posts on this site are copyrighted by Lee Oliphant. Please ask permission before use and give proper credit or link to this website.


• African daisies
• California Poppy
• Calendula
• Calla Lily
• Narcissus
• Lavander
• Ivy geranium
• Mexican Sage
• Pride of Madera
• Lantana
• Society garlic
• Wild geranium


• Baby arugula
• Onion and garlic greens
• Thyme
• Rhubarb
• Parsley
• Strawberries


Arborvitae in Pots

Pot, soil, packing peanuts and Arborvitae

It took us a month to find pots to fill two corners of our deck. Since the Monterey Pines came down between us and the ocean, the glare and barrenness of our deck made us feel that something was missing. To remedy this, I got pots first then searched for the right plant to fill them. I found pots made of fiberglass that looked so much like stained cement that I had to tap them before I knew what they were made of. We’re getting too old to schlep around cement containers so fiberglass would have to do!

Newly Potted Arborvitae

I wanted conical-shaped plants and hopefully conifers. I found just what I wanted at one of my favorite nurseries in Atascadero. We brought home two beautiful arborvitae, genus Thuja (pronounced Thu-ya). arborvitae are in the Cypress family so have the typical scales as leaves and have a wonderful fragrance (or at least I think it’s wonderful). The Thuja occidentalis or Eastern Arborvitae is a native of Eastern North America. They will grow in our temperate climate but must be kept moist to thrive.

Potting them up was relatively easy. We put a few inches of “packing peanuts” in the bottom of the pot as a filler and used a 2 cubic foot bag of potting soil for each pot. The plants were a little rootbound so I loosened the soil on the sides and bottom of the root ball and slipped them into the pots and filled in spaces with more potting soil. They’ve been watered with vitamin B spiked water and the pot gently pushed into place. Now, if this incessant wind shows a little mercy, they should be fine.

7 comments to Arborvitae in Pots

  • Those are charming little trees. I thought the pots were cement. Good choice. Your garden looks so green and busy with all the Spring growth. Love the poppy header photo!

  • Lee

    Thanks, Callie. Glad your comment got through. I can only garden in the morning then the wind drives me inside. Oh, well. Keeps my life balanced!

  • R.M.

    I’m curious to hear how your arborvitaes are doing in the pots now nearly two years later. I am considering doing the same, but concerned that the arborvitae’s might become root-bound. With that said, what diameter pots are they, and how tall were the arborvitae’s when you purchased them? Thanks.

  • Lee

    Hi, R.M. You’ve probably gone ahead with your project by now but here is an update on the Arborvitae in pots after two years. They look good. They turn a little bronze color in the winter but I think that is natural. They’ve grown about 12″ taller and are now about 5′ tall. They are much fuller now and I’ll do some shaping in the fall. They do not seem to be root-bound but these are tall pots, 28″ tall and 16″ across. I got them at Costco.
    Arborvitae like to be in moist soil so water often. When the Arborvitae grow too tall for the pots, I’ll put them in the ground

  • Jason

    Hi there. Your arborvitaes look great! Wondering roughly how tall they were when you originally purchased them? Looking to do the same thing on my patio for some extra privacy. Thanks!

  • Bonnie B

    Now that it’s 2015, how are your arborvitaes doing? We just planted some 4-foot ones in pots and are wondering how others have done being planted this way. Do you have any recent photos?? Thank you!

  • Lee

    The arborvitaes lasted only three years in those very large pots. Unfortunately, they became very root bound. I had heard that this might happen so it was not unexpected. After my experience, I would recommend that you pull them out of the pots each year and “prune” the roots. They may last longer with a good “root pruning”. Good luck. Send me photos if you have any.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>