How to Grow an Arborvitae in a Container

An arborvitae is an evergreen shrub or tree that can make a great landscape border or privacy hedge. For best results, start the plant in a container that is large enough to support the tree in the future, or plan to transplant it later.


Use a container that is 6 to 7 times the size of the root ball. This will give the plant an adequate amount of space to grow and stretch it roots in the container.

Fill the container will very rich, well-drained soil that is moist to the touch. You might find potting soil designed especially for arborvitae. This will help it grow for the first few years. Fill the pot with water, and allow to drain through the soil to ensure appropriate moisture for the root ball.

Plant one root ball in the middle of each pot so the top of the root ball is level with the soil. Planting it in the center will help it stretch out. Make sure it is straight up and down and so it will grow correctly and straight out of the soil.

After planting, fill the container with water again, and lightly tap the soil to make remove any air pockets.


After the initial planting, spread at least 2 inches of mulch over the top of the container around the root ball top, making sure not to cover the top of the plant. Mulch your arborvitae at least once a year to continue giving your evergreen minerals that will help it grow.


Though some smaller specimens of arborvitae could fit in a large container after almost fully grown, it is healthier for them to be transplanted so that their roots will be able to grow deeper and get more water and nutrients.

To transplant your arborvitae, follow similar steps to those during initially planting. Dig a hole that is deep enough to fit your arborvitae, and thoroughly water before the transplant. Allow the water to seep through the soil to aerate it.

Carefully remove the arborvitae from the container and place it in the hole, filling the rest of the space with the original soil. When the tree is secure, water it again and make sure there are no air bubbles beneath the surface of the soil.

If your arborvitae has grown to be quite tall, you may want to attach ropes or wood to it to make sure that it does not fall over until its roots have fully set into the new earth.