I’ve updated this post since it was first published in 2010. I’ve added better photos and they are more reflective of what this shrub looks like 7 years later.
As much as it pains me, I’m leaving the rambling text. I apologize in advance. I was such an immature writer back then but I don’t want to mess with changing history.
Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions on this plant, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before discussing Arborvitae Rheingold, please enjoy the following rant.
Garden design is maddening, frustrating, confusing, enlightening and exhilarating – all at the same time.
I will never claim to be an expert in this arena and often wonder what I was thinking when I look back on some of my earlier work. I’m talking like real bad, like “get him a new hobby” bad.
Where I am at a superstar level, however, is in the field of “over analyzing plant design to the point of being held hostage by it”. By the middle of October each year, I have successfully convinced myself that I finally got it right. I will just keep things as-is come spring and enjoy what I’ve created. Then the “dormant” months hit and there is nothing but time to read and research and suddenly a new perspective comes into view. Before I know it, I’ve redesigned an entire garden bed and I’m moving giant shrubs around with reckless abandon. It’s like starting all over again. I think recording sensation Paula Abdul said it best when she so eloquently sang “I take two steps forward, I take two steps back.”
John, you are babbling on and on again, what the hell is the point? My point? Are those even required any more? I thought everyone could follow along with my rambling thoughts. Oh well, guess I’ll make one so I do not completely destroy my writing credibility.
I try like hell to add winter interest to my landscape and I think I’ve improved in that area the past year or so. One of the plants I’ve added is Thuja Occidentalis ‘Rheingold’ also known as Arborvitae Rheingold. This conifer scores a rating of “intriguing” to date and I’ll show you why in the following photos:
Arborvitae ‘Rheingold’ in June
Arborvitae ‘Rheingold’ in December
Arborvitae ‘Rheingold’ in February
Arborvitae ‘Rheingold’ foliage emerging in March
What do you think? Have any of you used this successfully? Maybe I should consider it in a container?On its own, this evergreen shrub is dynamic as it changes from month to month and brings a different look and feel as the seasons are changing. Where I struggle with this son of a bitch is how to design with it. It definitely looks best in the heat of summer when it is a phenomenal chartreuse green that combines real well with other dark foliage plants and dark flowers. When the juvenile foliage is tipped in orange in the spring and begins to change color in the fall, it becomes a bit odd looking when viewed with those same plants. I am enjoying the bronze color now as it doesn’t look quite as dead as it did at this time last year.
Before you go, some quick facts on Arborvitae Rheingold:
- Native to North America, survives in zones 2-8
- Typical size is about 3-5 ft by 3-5 ft but I’ve seen it much larger
- Grows about 6″ to 12″ each year
- Arborvitae Rheingold works in full to partial sun, but best color comes when planted in full sun
- Low maintenance – once established, drought and disease resistant
- Arborvitae Rheingold requires good drainage so I have mine planted higher in my clay soil
- From what I’ve seen, do not prune or trim, looks best in its natural shape
- Keep in a sheltered spot to protect from winter winds