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Boxwood & Boxwood Substitutes Compare
Green Mountain
Green Mountain Boxwood (Buxus x ‘Green Mountain’) is an extremely popular boxwood. It has great cold tolerance and is one of the most naturally resistant to Boxwood Blight. It is deer and rabbit resistant and grows well in full sun to shade. It is hardy in USDA Zones 4-9.
Schmidt Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Schmidt’) is a lesser-known boxwood variety but has a desirable tall and narrow growth habit making it great for hedging. It is deer resistant and grows in full sun to partial shade. It is hardy in USDA Zones 5-8.
Box Honeysuckle
Box Honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida) is lovely hedge in its own right but also makes a great boxwood substitute for areas with Boxwood Blight. The foliage is evergreen and very similar to boxwood. It is deer resistant, takes full sun to full shade, and grows in USDA Zones 6-9.
Hick's Yew
Hicks Yew (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’) is the best hedge for deep shade locations, although it also thrives in full sun. This is a naturally narrow plant, so it is good for small spaces. It has evergreen needles and bright red fruits. Hicks Yew is hardy to USDA Zones 5-8.
Little Simon
Little Simon Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Little Simon’) is a dwarf selection of Emerald Green that only reaches 3-4’ tall. It is a great boxwood substitute for colder regions and blight-susceptible areas. It grows best in full sun and is hardy in USDA Zones 3-8.
Teton Firethorn
Teton Firethorn (Pyracantha ‘Teton’) is an evergreen hedge that boasts billows of white flowers in spring, followed by bright orange fruits that feed birds through winter. Sharp thorns keep deer away. It grows well in full sun to shade and is hardy in USDA Zones 6-9.
for Shade
Fast Growing
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Our hedges come in multiple, convenient sizes. Learn about which hedge size option will work best for your project, from our 18-24” tall MiniHedge to our 5-6’ tall InstantHedge. See detailed dimensions for all of our different hedge sizes, including root balls.
You have multiple options for the kind of container in which your InstantHedge is shipped. Learn about our standard Biodegradable Cardboard Boxes, as well as the fabric bag and cedar box options. This page will lead you to the best choice for your project.
InstantHedge is a unique product and the planting process is very unlike installing a traditional hedge. This page takes you step by step through the easy process of how to plant an InstantHedge. No doubt about it, it’s the fastest way to plant a hedge.
About Us
Learn about our company’s past and present, and all about how we introduced this revolutionary product to the US market. You can also get a peek at our farm and meet our team of hedge experts who make all the hedge magic happen!
Find out where you can purchase our hedges in your area, whether you are a retail or wholesale buyer. We have exclusive wholesale distributors in some states, and this is where you can connect with them.
See real-life examples of our hedges being used in projects all over the country. These photos are provided by our customers and can be used as inspiration for a wide range of uses, from commercial to residential. You can find customer reviews here as well.
Got questions? Of course you do! And chances are, many others have had the same questions. We know that with an unusual product like our hedges there are always many questions. We answer some common questions here on this FAQ page, so it’s a great place to start.
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Thuja x. ‘Green Giant’

Green Giant Arborvitae is a fast-growing hedge that thrives in heat and humidity, which makes it an especially popular hedge choice in the regions around the Southern United States. With sturdy evergreen foliage, Green Giant Arborvitae looks vibrant year-round with great winter color. Thuja Green Giant is a large, vigorous and a handsome hedge choice for privacy and screening purposes.


There are a number of immediate benefits to choosing & planting Green Giant Arborvitae for your next hedge:

  • Thuja Green Giant is evergreen with excellent year-round color
  • Tolerates a range of different soil conditions, heat, and humidity
  • Green Giant Arborvitae has dense growth habit that works well with casual or regular pruning
  • Grows very fast, making it great for privacy hedges


Green Giant Arborvitae is a fast-growing evergreen arborvitae hybrid that has been promoted as a disease-free substitute for other evergreens, especially in the humid Southeastern United States.

Green Giant Arborvitae growth rate is at an impressively fast rate, up to 4 feet per year in the proper growing environment.

Thuja ‘Green Giant’ Hedge makes a dense, thick, lovely hedge with regular pruning.

Green Giant Arborvitae Hedge makes a great accent in any outdoor space with slightly upturned horizontal branching and scale-like dark evergreen foliage.

Durable, tall, and strong-rooted Green Giant Arborvitae makes an especially solid screen or windbreak hedge with almost no disease issues.

Thuja ‘Green Giant’ was introduced to the United States in 1967, when the U.S. National Arboretum planted a specimen sent from a Danish botanist. It was selected for its impressive growth rate and vigor.

USDA Hardiness Zones:5 - 8
Your Hardiness Zone:
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Sun/Shade:Full Sun to Full Shade
Deer Resistance:Some
Watering Requirements:Weekly, or more often in extreme heat
Growth Rate: Fast, up to 3’ to 4’ per year
Mature Size:Up to 12’ height and 4’ width - trimmed
Drought Tolerance:Moderate
West Coast - Sunset Heat Zones:1 - 9 and 14 - 24
Pest/Disease Issues:
No major pest or disease issues. Bagworm and rots may occur.

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Every kind of Hedge imaginable, delivered.

Want to go big and Instant? Or would you rather start small? InstantHedge® now offers ways to buy hedges in all sizes and quantities.

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From 2-3 year old starts to finished hedges
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Finished Hedges - From a few pallets to full truck loads
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*Wholesale pricing is strictly extended to members of the green industry - including but not limited to: Landscape Companies, Garden Centers, Landscape Suppliers, and Landscape Architects.
We reserve the right to review all customer applications and eligibility for wholesale pricing.

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Landscape Gallery

  • 00912843-Thuja-Green-Giant-formal-Asian

    A stone walkway is guided along by a Green Giant arborvitae (Thuja x 'Green Giant') InstantHedge.

  • N0300071_140-Thuja-Green-Giant

    The fine-textured foliage of the Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja x 'Green Giant') softens this stone wall while providing excellent privacy.

  • 123209_140-Thuja-Green-Giant-wall-estate-suburban-urban

    The fine-textured foliage of the Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja x 'Green Giant') softens this stone wall while providing excellent privacy.

  • 116364_140-Thuja-Green-Giant-lawn-estate

    A faster-growing arborvitae (Thuja 'Green Giant') hedge like this forms an effective wall to make a private yard feel more secluded.

  • 124904_140-Prunus-laurocerasus-and-Thuja-Green-Giant

    For varied textures in the landscape, two different types of hedge can be used for more textural persity. Here An English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) and arborvitae (Thuja) hedge are both displayed.

  • 510585928-Thuja-Green-Giant-residential-suburban-estate

    An arborvitae (Thuja) hedge can be grown to a larger height to provide screening of neighboring second-story buildings.

  • N0300306_140-Thuja-occidentalis-asian-driveway-suburban

    A stone path is bordered with this lush, evergreen arborvitae (Thuja 'Green Giant') hedge.

All about Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae Hedge

Thuja Green Giant
Growth Rate

Green Giant Arborvitae was a somewhat mysterious hybrid originating at a nursery in Denmark. After a war, intercontinental transit, and some poor record-keeping, a noteworthy tree was finally set aside in the 1960’s as something very special at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. The characteristic that really impressed the arboretum staff was its unusually large size and fast growth. Years later, as technology improved, DNA testing on the plant showed that the special seedling was a cross between Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata – a giant conifer species native to the Pacific Northwestern US with mature heights up to 230’!) with a Japanese Arborvitae (Thuja standishii – native to Japan, mature heights up to 100’). With the speed of the Thuja ‘Green Giant’ growth rate, it appears to demonstrate what is called “hybrid vigor”, making it grow faster and have better pest resistance than either of its parents. Under good conditions, Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae can grow 3-4’ per year, sometimes even growing 5’ in a year!

Growth Habit

So what makes Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae more desirable than a different fast grower, like Leyland Cypress? The wonderful thing about this hedge is that it has fast growth combined with a narrow, upright habit. At 10 years, you could have a tree that is 12’ tall by 4’ wide, without even trimming it.


Some Arborvitae types tend to go off-color in winter months, developing a brown or bronze cast. Green Giant Arborvitae, however, keeps a beautiful bright green color all year long. Evergreens really should be gorgeous in winter, since they are the only things providing color to the landscape!

Green Giant Arborvitae
Thuja Green Giant maintains its bright green color even in winter.

Many arborvitae tends to have problems with diseases and pests, but the hedge has noteworthy resistance to the common issues. It even has some deer resistance, which makes it an improvement over deer-favorite Thuja occidentalis. The main problems you could encounter would be either too little or too much water or not enough fertilizer. Just give it moderate water, especially right after planting or in hot months, but make sure it is in a well-draining area. Pest problems could include bagworms or scale but these instances are extremely rare due to the vigorous nature of Thuja ‘Green Giant’. Pests tend to attack weak plants, and this variety does not fit that description.

Climate Tolerance

Green Giant Arborvitae is hardy in USDA Zones 5-8, which covers a good portion of the United States. This range can be stretched a bit into Zone 9 regions that are humid in summer. Arid Zone 9 areas will be tough on Thuja ‘Green Giant’ in the summer, but as long as there is ample water it will do fine. This makes it popular in Florida and other southern states.

Green Giant Arborvitae does well in full sun but can also manage in partial shade (at least 6 hours of sun daily).

Green Giant hedge will thrive in almost any type of soil. If you are planting in extremely sandy soil with poor nutrients and water-retention, amend your soil with compost generously before planting and apply a thick layer of mulch yearly to help improve the soil’s structure. If planting in a wet area, mound up the ground where you are planting the hedge to provide some better drainage. Areas with prolonged standing water will be difficult for most plants to endure.

Why Choose InstantHedge to buy Green Giant Arborvitae

As you know, Green Giant grows fast. There is a crucial period in the life of a fast-growing hedge where a strict pruning regimen must be followed, or you could end up with a lanky, thin hedge for the next several decades. The timing, intensity, and frequency of pruning are all important to keep the hedge dense and beautiful, and some of the requirements are counter-intuitive (“If I want my hedge to grow bigger, I should prune it more…wait, what?”)

There is also the issue of spacing. How far apart should you plant Green Giant Arborvitae trees? Generally, the advice is to space Green Giant trees anywhere from 3 feet to 10 feet apart depending on how tall the hedge is desired to grow and how large the plants are to begin with. Clearly, this is a wide range of appropriate spacing, and it can be difficult to tell which option is best for a specific project.

With InstantHedge, we take care of that part for you. When you purchase a Green Giant Arborvitae InstantHedge, you are guaranteed a vigorous, healthy, finished hedge from day one. The hedges will arrive pre-shaped and pre-spaced and with a vibrant root system that is ready to grow and establish. Why not start with a hedge that has already been finished by hedge experts? We have multiples sizes of Green Giant Arborvitae available.

For more information about Thuja x ‘Green Giant’, please visit the American Conifer Society.