The very rare, “nearly perfect” plant in the landscape, the compact Morgan Oriental arborvitae (Thuja orientalis ‘Morgan’) is slow-growing to 3 to 4 feet and offers shimmering lime-green foliage in the summer. Foliage turns to an attractive burgundy-orange color in the fall — beginning in September and October in northern areas.
Morgan is the answer to the eternal homeowner’s dilemma of needing a tough, interesting, four-season coniferous plant in a small area near a back deck, below any window or even as a low border.
Better yet, it tolerates a mix of landscape conditions from moist to dry, takes full to part sun and requires minimal pruning, care or feeding. Morgan is best used in a more sheltered site in Northern Indiana. Hardy to Zone 5.
Common Name: Morgan Oriental arborvitae
Botanical Name: Thuja orientalis ’Morgan’
Color: Lime-yellow to purple-burgundy
Blooming Period: None
Size: 3 to 5 feet
Exposure: Full to part sun; some shelter required.
When to Plant: Spring
How to Plant: Specimen or on 4-to-5-foot centers
Soil: Takes wet to average soil.
Watering: Will take dry sites once established.
When to Prune: Spring; minimal pruning required.
When to Fertilize: Fall
In Your Landscape: An Australian native, it’s a great plant for smaller areas where you want some interesting or dramatic color all year. Keep out of drying winds.
From Indiana Gardening Volume III Issue V. Photo by Bob Hill.