Bringing in an Potted Arborvitae

Although typically grown in rows to form a hedge, arborvitaes (Thuja occidentalis) can also be grown separately in containers. When grown in pots, compact varieties like “Golden Globe,” “Sunkist” and “Woodwardii” make attractive patio plants or function as focal points in the backyard. Because containers provide little insulation into a plant’s root system, cold winter weather can harm or kill the plant. Bringing your container-grown arborvitae inside or finding other methods to protect its roots will assist the shrub endure the winter.

Making the Go

You should prepare your arborvitae because of its indoor home in late autumn. A sudden change from the bright exterior to a dark garage will confuse the plant and also weaken its increase. Aim to expose your shrub to two to three hours of sun every day by moving it into a shady spot in the backyard or sheltering it under the eave. Once the plant has been in complete shade for a week, it’s prepared to move indoors. During the arborvitae’s transition time, check and treat it for any insects. Before bringing your arborvitae indoors, add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch into the ground.

Indoor Conditions

The purpose of bringing in your arborvitae inside is to keep the roots from freezing, not to give it a room that is heated. Arborvitae stay semi-dormant during the winter and exposing them to warm temperatures will stir them from this dormancy. The perfect home for your arborvitae is at an unheated garage where it can receive indirect lighting. You do not need to provide direct sunlight, but should avoid placing the plant in total darkness. Water the plant well once you have it indoors. Next, you should only need to water the plant when the soil gets dry to a depth of 2-3 inches. As it’s mostly dormant, the plant will not need much water and watering it too much will encourage dangerous fungal growth.

Returning Outdoors

Just because you did when bringing the plant indoors, gradually get your arborvitae acclimated into the outside world. Once the threat of frost has passed and nighttime temperatures stay above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you can start the process of hardening from the shrub. This simply means gradually exposing your plant to outdoor conditions. Throughout the afternoon, take your plant out to a secure and shady location for two to three hours. Over the following two weeks, increase the total amount of time your arborvitae is outside until it’s outside full time. During this transition, gradually increase the amount of sunlight your arborvitae receives and how much wind it’s exposed to.

Overwintering Options

If your arborvitae’s container is too large to transfer easily or if you don’t have indoor space for it, you will find other techniques to defend the roots during the winter. 1 option is to transplant the shrub into the ground in late autumn or to bury the container using the plant in it. In either circumstance, the surrounding garden soil provides a natural insulation for the arborvitae’s roots. If your area receives only a few days of freezing weather, then it may not be worth the attempt to bury the plant. Rather, when you learn cold weather will hit, move the pot to a protected area and surround the pot with wax or blankets. Irrespective of how you overwinter your own arborvitae, keep the shrub in partly shady conditions and reduce watering to keep the roots from rotting.

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