Looking for a way to cut off the intrusive onlookers? How about planting a privacy tree in your window or balcony? Thuja plant is one of the fastest-growing conifers that shields you from your neighbors.
This evergreen plant is dense and bushy and asks for little care. This species is most common for setting up hedges. Another intriguing aspect is using thuja leaves and oil for medicine making. Osteoarthritis, cold sores, and respiratory tract infections also benefit from using the golden thuja plant.
Planting thuja at home is straightforward. While spring is ideal, you can do it anytime and still have an elegant tree. Please keep reading to learn how to grow thuja and take care of it.
Here are a few things we will cover in this blog -
- Facts about thuja plant
- Benefits of thuja tree
- How to grow thuja plant at home
- Care tips for thuja trees
Let’s get started.
Facts About Thuja Plant
- The thuja plant scientific name is thuja occidentalis. It belongs to the cypress family.
- It is often misspelled as thuya.
- The ease of care makes it an excellent alternative for cupressus leylandii.
- The thuja plant is native to Asia and North America.
- Different names of thuja include eastern white cedar, northern white cedar, arborvitae, etc.
- Thuja tree has flattened branches and columnar habitat.
- A few varieties of thuja can reach a height of 200 ft under a favourable climate.
- The plant has widespread usage in homeopathy and herbal medicine. It is believed to treat acute and chronic infections.
- The Latin meaning of the name thuja is “tree of life”.
- The thuja plant in Hindi is popularly known as morpankhi and vidya ka ped.
- It is grown widely as an ornamental tree and used as a hedge.
- The wood of thuja is soft and aromatic. It is also used to make guitar soundboards.
Benefits of Thuja Tree
From being a flavouring agent in beverages and food to being utilised for fragrance in cosmetics, thuja plant uses are ample. Here is a comprehensive list of thuja plant benefits.
Thuja plant is considered to have a positive impact on the common cold. Certain products containing thuja extracts, vitamin c, and other things improve cold symptoms.
Boost Immune System
Thuja uses also incorporates boosting immunity. The plant is full of vitamin c and has proven effective in healing. Tea made of thuja is believed to be influential in improving immunity.
Improve WBC Count
People who have undergone chemotherapy (for 6 months) and have a low white blood cell count can benefit from thuja extracts. While same cannot be said for people receiving therapy for more than six months.
The plant is effective for muscle pain, osteoarthritis, and joint pain. Oil made from thuja is applied directly to the skin for pain relief.
It also has a positive impact on the skin. In the 19th century, it was applied as a tincture or ointment for treating ringworm, thrush, and warts. Venereal warts were also treated by using local injections made of thuja.
In context to vastu, the thuja plant is believed to bring riches to its owner. It invites good luck, prosperity, and wisdom. Some suggest planting a pair of two for blissful married life.
How to Grow Thuja Plant at Home
The evergreen thuja, like most houseplants, can be propagated through seeds and cuttings.
- Cones from adult trees are used to collect the seeds.
- Once the buds are ripe, prune them and store them in a dark place. You can remove the seeds when the crack appears.
- Place the seeds in a moistened cloth for 24 hours before sowing in the substrate. Ensure the cloth does not dry out during the daytime.
- Take a small container and add soil mixture for growing thuja seeds.
- Distribute the seeds evenly on the soil mixture and cover the top with a layer of sawdust or sand.
- The first seedling will appear in 4-6 weeks.
- You must wait 3-5 years to see the seedling grow into a spectacular thuja tree.
- Take the side branches for harvesting the cuttings.
- Remember to cut the branches with heels. The suggested length of the cutting is 10 cm.
- You don’t need to water the cuttings; use a spray bottle to moisten the soil systematically.
- When you see young leaves on the surface, know that the rooting was successful.
- Transfer the cutting to an adequately ventilated place.
- Once rooted, transfer them into their permanent containers.
Transferring the Plant
The thuja tree is usually transplanted during the spring season. It is carried out at least once a year till the bush is young. The diameter of the new pot must be 20 mm more than the old one. For adult trees, the process is subjected once in a few years. Here are a few tips for the adequate transfer -
- A good drainage layer at the bottom of the pot.
- Prune the overly-large tree before transplanting.
- Water the plant well before and after the transfer.
Care Tips for Thuja Trees
You must ensure special growing conditions to grow the thuja plant at home. The below tips will help you with the thuja plant care and correct development.
- A fertile soil with good water-holding capacity is best for thuja plants.
- The ideal pH is between 6.0 and 8.0.
- Young bushes of thuja may grow well in coniferous and leafy soil, while a mature tree may require turf soil mixed with peat and sand (2:2:1).
- The room temperature should change according to the season. For summers, it can vary between 20 and 30 degrees.
- You can keep the plant in the room or the fresh air outside during the warm season.
- During the cold season, thuja does not require a temperature of more than 15 degrees.
- A glazed balcony is ideal for storing thuja during winter.
- Wrap the container and place it on a substrate of wood and cardboard to save the roots from severe frosting.
The plant must be protected from direct sunlight, as it can turn the needles yellow. Burns can also appear on the foliage due to direct heat. If the light is too scarce, the branches will start stretching. Thuja falls into the shade-tolerant category of plants.
For optimal results, it's recommended to keep the plant close to a window, preferably one facing south.
The watering requirement of a thuja plant depends on its age and size. The mature plants require more water. However, watering the plant 1-2 times in 7 days is acceptable on hot days. Adding water once every 2-4 weeks is sufficient during the cold season.
You don’t need to feed the home-grown thuja much. Fertilizing it once every four weeks is enough. The requirements of the plant change on a seasonal basis. They need more nitrogen in the spring and more phosphorus and potassium during the summer, while feeding during the autumn-winter period is not required.
The first step in pruning is deciding on a comfortable height and thickness for the hedge. Pruning is preferred during late summer or early spring. Do not worry if you have pruned the thuja plant severely because it will grow again rapidly. You can also cut and pinch off the shoots to give the crown a pyramid or ball shape.
Mulching is another excellent practice to keep the plant healthy. You can mulch the foot of the plant to prevent weed growth. It is also influential in protecting the roots from the cold. Mulching the base benefits soil structure and moisture retention and prevents lawnmower damage.
From blocking inquisitive neighbours to being an excellent windbreaker, thuja takes up multiple roles. Their resilience to pollution and diseases is another advantage.
This blog has everything you need to plant thuja trees at home. So, follow the above tips and have deep greens that last all year round.
How long does it take for thuja to grow?
The height of thuja trees can grow up to 3 feet yearly. 50-60 feet is their ultimate height, while their width is 12-20 feet.
Does thuja need a lot of water?
Watering every day is recommended for the first 2-3 months. Once established, one inch of water weekly or in ten days is enough.
Why is thuja called the tree of life?
Jacques Cartier’s long sea voyage in 1536 led to the discovery of tea made from thuja leaf and bark to cure scurvy. Hence, the name arborvitae means the tree of life.
Is thuja easy to grow?
Thuja plant is straightforward to grow and care for. Once established, they ask for little to no attention.
Is the thuja plant suitable for home?
Thuja is an evergreen arborvitae and is considered an excellent choice for a home. When we talk about the uses of thuja, it is vastu compliant and invites fortune and happiness.