Plant Encyclopedia

Tater Tot® Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis

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Tater Tot® Arborvitae

Discover More Information On Tater Tot® Arborvitae

The Tater Tot® Arborvitae, scientifically known as Thuja occidentalis, is a charming and versatile addition to any landscape. This delightful shrub stands out for its neat, rounded shape and its ability to thrive in a range of sun exposures, from part sun to full sun. As a member of the evergreen family, it maintains its vibrant green foliage throughout the seasons, adding a continuous splash of color to your garden.

Adaptable to a variety of climates, the Tater Tot® Arborvitae is hardy in zones 3 through 8. This resilience makes it an excellent choice for gardeners in various regions, as it can withstand the average annual extreme minimum temperatures expected in these zones. This characteristic ensures that it will not only survive but thrive in your garden, providing year-round interest and beauty.

One of the most appealing features of the Tater Tot® Arborvitae is its growth habit. It naturally forms a compact globe, reaching a mature height and spread of 2 to 3 feet and 3 to 4 feet respectively. This size makes it an ideal choice for small spaces or as a decorative accent in larger landscapes. Its fan-like evergreen foliage emits a subtle, pleasant fragrance, adding another layer of sensory appeal to your garden.

Plant Attributes

The Tater Tot® Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) is a distinctive evergreen shrub, celebrated for its compact and mounded growth habit. This plant stands out with its short stature, typically reaching a garden height of 24 to 36 inches and spreading equally to about 36 to 48 inches. Its foliage is a vibrant green, maintaining this lush hue throughout the year, which adds a persistent verdant charm to any garden setting.

This arborvitae variety boasts a rounded shape that serves as an ideal filler in container gardens or as a structured element in landscape designs. Its adaptability to light conditions is noteworthy; it flourishes in environments ranging from part sun to full sun, making it versatile for different garden spots. The plant thrives best with an average water requirement, indicating a need for consistent but not excessive watering.

Landscape Use

The Tater Tot® Arborvitae is a versatile plant that can be used in various landscaping applications due to its compact size, evergreen nature, and rounded shape. Here are some of its key landscaping uses:

  1. Border Plant: Its neat, globe-like shape makes it perfect for defining the edges of garden beds or pathways, offering a structured yet natural border.
  2. Container Gardening: Due to its moderate size, Tater Tot® Arborvitae is ideal for container gardening, adding greenery to patios, balconies, or entranceways.
  3. Foundation Plantings: Its small stature and evergreen foliage make it suitable for foundation plantings, where it can provide year-round interest without overpowering the space.
  4. Mass Planting: When planted in groups, Tater Tot® Arborvitae creates a uniform, textured appearance, suitable for creating a low, informal hedge or a unified landscape element.
  5. Specimen or Focal Point: Its unique form and consistent green color make it a great focal point in a garden, drawing attention and adding visual interest.
  6. Lawn Substitute: In areas where grass may be difficult to maintain, this arborvitae can serve as a green, low-maintenance alternative.
  7. Mixed Shrub Borders: It pairs well with other shrubs and perennials, contributing to a diverse and attractive mixed border.
  8. Rock Gardens: Its small size and tolerance of various conditions make it a good choice for rock gardens, where it can add greenery without requiring extensive care.
  9. Urban Gardens: Tater Tot® Arborvitae is suitable for urban settings due to its pollution tolerance and ability to thrive in confined spaces.
  10. Wildlife Garden: While it's not known for attracting a wide range of wildlife, its dense foliage can provide shelter for small birds and insects.

Overall, the Tater Tot® Arborvitae is an adaptable and easy-to-maintain choice for a wide range of garden styles and purposes.

Planting & Care

The Tater Tot® Arborvitae is a low-maintenance and adaptable shrub, making it an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels. Here are the key planting and care instructions:

Planting Instructions:

  1. Timing: Plant in spring or early fall to allow roots to establish before extreme temperatures.
  2. Location: Choose a location with part sun to full sun exposure (4-6 hours of sun minimum).
  3. Soil: Prefers well-drained soil. It can tolerate a range of soil types, but avoid overly wet conditions.
  4. Spacing: Space plants 3 to 4 feet apart to allow for mature spread.
  5. Planting Depth: Plant at the same depth as the root ball. Make sure the base of the plant is level with the surrounding soil to prevent water pooling.


  1. Initial Care: Water thoroughly after planting. Keep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged during the first growing season.
  2. Ongoing Care: Once established, Tater Tot® Arborvitae is relatively drought tolerant. Water occasionally, more frequently during extreme heat or if in containers.


  1. Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature.


  1. When to Prune: If necessary, prune in spring after new growth begins.
  2. How to Prune: Avoid cutting into thick, old stems. Light trimming to shape the plant is usually sufficient.


  1. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring, following product instructions.

Winter Care:

  1. In colder zones, provide extra mulch for root protection during winter.
  2. Avoid heavy snow accumulation on branches to prevent breakage.

Pest and Disease Management:

  1. Regularly inspect for signs of pests or disease.
  2. Treat with appropriate fungicides or insecticides if necessary, following safety guidelines.

By following these care instructions, your Tater Tot® Arborvitae should thrive and provide year-round interest in your garden. Remember, this plant is valued for its ease of care, so it won’t require extensive maintenance once it’s established.

Additional Information

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Tater Tot® Arborvitae


Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Watering Needs: Requires average water. Benefits from consistent watering but should not be overwatered.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: THOO-yuh ok-si-den-TAY-lis
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Evergreen
  • Growth rate: Moderate
  • Average landscape size: Grows moderately to 2-3 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.
  • Special features: Border Plant, Container, Landscape, Lawn Substitute, Mass Planting, Specimen or Focal Point, Native to North America
  • Foliage color: Green
  • Blooms: Grown for foliage
  • Foliage attributes: Maintains a neat, rounded globe shape with fan-like evergreen foliage.
  • Garden style: Suitable for a variety of garden styles, including formal and informal designs.
  • Design Ideas: Ideal for adding structure to garden beds and borders, works well in container gardens, and can be used as a low hedge or a standalone specimen. Its compact size makes it versatile for both small and large landscapes.
  • Companion Plants: Pairs well with a variety of other shrubs and perennials, especially those that complement its evergreen nature and rounded form.

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