The Golden Irish Yew (Taxus Baccata ‘Stricta Aurea’) Care Guide

The Golden Irish Yew, otherwise known as the Taxus Baccata ‘Stricta Aurea’ or Danica Arborvitae, White Cedar ‘Danica’, Northern White Cedar ‘Danica’, Swamp Cedar ‘Danica’, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

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

Fortunately, taking care of your Golden Irish Yew is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Golden Irish Yew Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

In order to take proper care of your Golden Irish Yew you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Golden Irish Yew once established needs water sparingly but be generous in extreme heat.
  • Light: Keep your Taxus Baccata ‘Stricta Aurea’ in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Golden Irish Yew in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Golden Irish Yew will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Golden Irish Yew leaves

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Golden Irish Yew belongs to the Cupressaceae family, the genus Thuja and the species Occidentalis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Taxus Baccata ‘Stricta Aurea’ (TAKS-us ba-KA-ta STRIK-tuh AW-ree-uh).

The Cupressaceae family also includes other plants like Italian Cypress, Juniperus Chinensis ‘Hetzii Glauca’, Blue Chip Juniper, Juniperus horizontalis ‘Blue Rug’, Japanese Cypress ‘Golden Mop’, Singleseed Juniper ‘Blue Star’, Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Filicoides’, Californian White Cedar ‘Fluffy’, Golden Charm Thread-Branch Cypress, ‘Nana Gracilis’ Hinoki Cypress, Grey Owl Juniper, ‘Fernspray Gold’ Hinoki Cypress, Juniperus x media ‘Hetzii’, President Grévy French Lilac, Savin Juniper and Decumbent Juniper ‘Nana’.

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

Growing Region

The Golden Irish Yew is a plant native to the Central & E. Canada to N. Central and Eastern North America.

You might be wondering why your Golden Irish Yew’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Taxus Baccata ‘Stricta Aurea’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 7 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, A2, A3, H1, H2.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Golden Irish Yew is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.


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

The Taxus Baccata ‘Stricta Aurea’ can grow up to 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) and 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm). 

These dimensions make the Golden Irish Yew a relatively medium shrub 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 columnar, and narrow shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 18″ – 24″ (45cm – 60cm) free so the Golden Irish Yew can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Golden Irish Yew is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Taxus Baccata ‘Stricta Aurea’ once established needs water sparingly but be generous in extreme heat.

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

Golden Irish Yew plants


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Golden Irish Yew in soil with moist but 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, moist, and occasionally dry properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Golden Irish Yew then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Golden Irish Yew needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Golden Irish Yew prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, and occasionally dry properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Golden Irish Yew requires soil with clay, and loam (silt), which will give you the right conditions it needs.

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

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Golden Irish Yew requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub 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 Taxus Baccata ‘Stricta Aurea’ in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being an evergreen plant, the Golden Irish Yew 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.


You can expect your Golden Irish Yew to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).


The leaves from the Golden Irish Yew have a beautiful variegated color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a needles arrangement in its leaves.

The Golden Irish Yew 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.

Golden Irish Yew flowers


Now, let’s talk garden and how your Golden Irish Yew will look best in it.

Most Taxus Baccata ‘Stricta Aurea’ owners agree that this shrub will look great in most mediterranean, cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

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

In particular, the Golden Irish Yew’s best location within your garden is in patio and containers, beds and borders, and in ponds and streams, others use it for landscaping in a wildlife garden, topiary, mass planting, hedge, privacy screen, specimen, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Golden Irish Yew’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Syringa, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

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


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

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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