What to plant around Arborvitae

TomNorthJerseyJune 25, 2012

I want to transplant a couple of arborvitae trees. They're about 4-5' tall. I'd like to place plants around the base of them to fill in the area a little more and provide some different colors. I'd like some ideas. If anyone has any plantings like these please post pics and names of plants.

Can I please get some recommendations? I'm in north east NJ, have clay soil and this area of the property gets full sun. The rounded edges of the bed are the most important, especially the bottom and right sides.

This is how I'm planning to setup the area. Dimensions are approximate. The 2 arborvitae are in inset corner. One idea I had was to have plants high enough to cover up the rounded bottom of the arborvitae to give it a fuller look.

Here are some pictures I've seen online of things I liked.

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How about something totally non-fussy and sun loving like Walkers Low nepetas. Lovely grey green foliage and spikes of lavender flowers that bloom from May/june until the first hard frost. Those would also pair well with any other lower growing perennial (or annual) in the rose shades - although I can't say I care for the alternate grey and pink in the second inspiration picture... the alternating, not necessarily the plants themselves.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 4:16PM
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Thank you. The Walkers Low nepetas look like a good choice. Do you think Blue Wonder might be better as far as height goes?

I don't like the colors in the second inspiration photo but I do like the size and texture. So the area isn't completely empty in the winter I think some small evergreen plants might be nice to have. Any suggestions?

I think a mixture of low evergreens to fill up space and maybe some bulbs and perennials to add more color during the warm season?

Quick search and I found these links but haven't investigated them yet.
StoneHouse Perennials Groundcovers
Evergreen Barberry
Low maintenance plants

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 4:55PM
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Blue Wonder is a shorter choice - especially if all you want is something to cover the bit of trunk from the ground to the first course of arborvitae foliage.

Believe the evergreen barberry is another type on the NJ invasive list - probably won't find it locally or available to be shipped in by mail order companies.

I just don't know what's small and evergreen - there's not much here in Minnesota, to be sure.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 5:27PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Prostrate junipers. Some people are into heaths and heathers.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 5:49PM
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I like heathers and there's a good variety of options with them. I do question the closeness of you arborvitae to the sidewalks. I know you stated that dimensions are approximate but they seem awfully close and like you'll have to trim them a lot.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 6:08PM
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Kinnikinnick or bearberry would work as a fully hardy, deer resistant, evergreen edging with four season interest in front of the arborvitae.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 6:09PM
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Forgot about kinnikinnick (arctostaphylos uva-ursi) - guess because I've got some and it struggles. It's persistent though and tries to grow up the slope of an imbedded boulder. Found it at Walmart once a few years ago and have never seen it since. Does have good color.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 6:24PM
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You guys are great!

I've been looking up some of your suggestions and they're exactly what I'm looking for.


I downloaded the NJ non-native invasive plant brochure and will reference it before I make any choices.


Found a website with what looks like hundreds of varieties of heaths and heathers. Lots to go over but look like a good fit.

I'll make sure to keep the arborvitae far enough away from the path. Thanks for the tip.

Still looking through the rest.

I found an online garden planner www.gardenpuzzle.com and started playing around with random plants that looked like a good fit to try and visualize the look I'm going for a little better. Haven't looked into the details yet. Except for the dwarf juniper I haven't even looked at the names until I typed them now.

Green Carpet Barberry, Dwarf Purple Barberry, Golden Japenese Barberry, Dwarf Purple Barberry, Flossflower, Blue Chip Juniper, Golden Japenese Barberry

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It's starting to get a better idea of what I want. Small shrub type plants with similar texture to the arborvitae but in different foliage colors for separation and flower in the warm months.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:29PM
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Barberries have thorns. Great to keep kids out of the yard but sucks to have over the walkway.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 9:09PM
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