The Complete Guide for Danica Arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis ‘Danica’) Care

The Danica Arborvitae, otherwise known as the Thuja Occidentalis ‘Danica’ or Fluffy Western Arborvitae, Western Red Cedar ‘Fluffy’, British Columbia Cedar ‘Fluffy’, Californian White Cedar ‘Fluffy’, Giant Arbovitae ‘Fluffy’, Nootka Sound arbovitae ‘Fluffy’, is a rather well known tree plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this tree will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Danica Arborvitae Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Danica Arborvitae are the following:

  • Water: The Danica Arborvitae prefers constant watering each week and more during the hot season.
  • Light: Keep your Thuja Occidentalis ‘Danica’ in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Danica Arborvitae in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Danica Arborvitae is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Thuja occidentalis 'Danica' plants

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Danica Arborvitae belongs to the Cupressaceae family, the genus Thuja and the species Plicata, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Thuja Occidentalis ‘Danica’ (THOO-yuh ok-si-den-TAY-lis).

The Cupressaceae family also includes other plants like Chamaecyparis Pisifera Filifera ‘Golden Charm’, Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress, Grey Owl Juniper, Chaenomeles X Superba ‘Jet Trail’, Juniperus x media ‘Hetzii’, President Grévy French Lilac, Savin Juniper, Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper, Swamp Cedar ‘Danica’, Cupressus Sempervirens, Juniperus Chinensis ‘Hetzii Glauca’, Juniperus Horizontalis ‘Blue Chip’, Juniperus Horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’, Golden Mop Threadleaf False Cypress, Flaky Juniper ‘Blue Star’ and Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Filicoides’.

As with other Thuja’s, the Danica Arborvitae is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

The Danica Arborvitae is a plant native to the Pacific Northwest.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Danica Arborvitae is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Thuja Occidentalis ‘Danica’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 6 – 8 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A3.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Danica Arborvitae is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But, how big does the Danica Arborvitae actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Thuja Occidentalis ‘Danica’ can grow up to 5′ – 10′ (150cm – 3m) in 5′ – 10′ (150cm – 3m) and 5′ – 10′ (150cm – 3m) in 5′ – 10′ (150cm – 3m). 

These dimensions make the Danica Arborvitae a relatively large tree compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 60″ – 120″ (150cm – 300cm) free so the Danica Arborvitae can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Danica Arborvitae is a fairly simple plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Thuja Occidentalis ‘Danica’ prefers constant watering each week and more during the hot season.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Thuja occidentalis 'Danica' care


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Danica Arborvitae in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and occasionally wet properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Danica Arborvitae is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Danica Arborvitae prefers to have soil with good drainage, and occasionally wet properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Danica Arborvitae requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this tree will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Thuja Occidentalis ‘Danica’ in from little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy), to full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being an evergreen plant, the Danica Arborvitae will be present year round in your garden.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.


The leaves from the Danica Arborvitae have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

The Danica Arborvitae is well known for being able to attract birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Thuja occidentalis 'Danica' buds


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Danica Arborvitae? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Thuja Occidentalis ‘Danica’ owners agree that this tree will look great in most asian/zen and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Danica Arborvitae’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in hedges and screens, others use it for landscaping in a hedge, border, rock garden, container, mass planting, or a wildlife garden.

Companion Plants

Danica Arborvitae’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Miscanthus, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Juniperus will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Danica Arborvitae, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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