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Today we want to share some information on the Thuja occidentalis Congabe on how to care for it. WOW, that is a mouthful, right? So instead, we will use the common name Fire Cheif Arborvitae. The shrub makes for an exceptional ornamentally significant display in spring, and it remains green throughout winter.
In contrast, the flowers and fruit have no ornamental value to the foliage.
What is Fire Chief Arborvitae?
The Fire Chief Arborvitae shrubs are one of those plants you must have in your garden. It is bright golden spring foliage that adds energy to any landscape plant. As mentioned, neither the flowers nor fruits are significant. But look at that gorgeous foliage.
It is a multicolor evergreen shrub you have been waiting for and is a native North American species. Like other landscape plants, it displays well and is a relatively low-maintenance shrub. The plant has a fiery color with soft foliage and is a freezing hardy plant.
You can enjoy its beauty year-round and be deer-resistant living close to a forest. Another fantastic thing is the plants compact and takes up minimal space. The fiery evergreen looks excellent in mixed beds, mass planting, and borders.
Still, you need not grow it in the garden as it looks fabulous in a container to add a pop of color to your living space. You can place the Fire Chief on a deck, patio, porch, or entryway.
These outdoor plants are a natural mutation of the Rheingold, an Arborvitae cultivar. The desirable dwarf conifer shrub has dense branching with feathery foliage. Its bright gold foliage is stunning and turns to deep red in the fall in summer.
It grows slowly and makes for an exceptional display in rock gardens. As the plant matures, it measures two feet tall and wide. The annual growth rate is three inches.
How to Care for Fire Chief Arborvitae
The Thuja occidentalis Congabe is low maintenance and is not fast-growing, needing not much attention.
Right Soil Mix for Your Fire Chief Arborvitae
The Fire Chief shrub can flourish in a wide range of soil types as long as it is well-drained soil. It can also be unforgiving in dry conditions. Yet, it prefers moist conditions, and best not to leave it to dry out completely.
We recommend applying mulch around the root zone during winter to protect it in colder microclimates.
Ideal Light For the Bright Golden Spring Foliage
You do not necessarily require facer plants when growing the Fire Chief Arborvitae. It grows well in full sun but also appreciates some partial shade. So, if you grow it in a relatively sheltered location, it can tolerate the hot summer climates to thrive in the afternoon shade.
It has a relatively fine texture and helps to keep in mind it can lose some density in too much shade. Also, it helps to keep it protected from drying winds when young. Mature plants can handle a bit more intense light in exposed locations.
The Fire Chief is set to be an outdoor plant with full access to sunlight. Other people treat them as indoor plants beside a huge glass entrance or a big window.
Watering your Fire Chief Arborvitae
Providing your Fire Chief Thuja with well-drained soils is the best thing you can do to keep your shrub flourishing. With regular to moderate watering, it can thrive best in full sun. The rule of thumb is to check the soil type you use to see if the top inch is dry and water accordingly.
Temperature & Humidity Level
The Fire Chief shrub is what you need if you want southern living plants. You can plant them in growing zones 5-8. With the rounded form, it is winter hardy in hardiness zone 3a. Therefore, you need not prune it often and only need to trim back the new growth of the current season.
Or you can remove some of the diebacks that have no significant negative characteristics.
How to Fertilize Fire Chief Arborvitae?
The best time to fertilize your Thuja Fire Chief is in early spring and again in summer. The best feed for your plant is one to raise the acid level. After that, you can opt-in to use chemical fertilizer or organic matter. Applying some compost around the roots is perfect.
If you choose a chemical feed, we recommend using a slow-release fertilizer once a year in spring. Or you can apply a fast-release 10-10-10 feed twice a year. You can refrain from using fertilizer when fall arrives as they go into dormancy.
Propagating Fire Chief Arborvitae Plants
If you have a Thuja occidentalis congabe pp19009, propagating the plants is prohibited. But if you do not have one of these, you can use cuttings.
Place some horticultural sand in a nursery pot and drizzle with water by hand. The soil needs to be moist and even out the surface. Leave the container standing in a shady spot.
Take up to a nine-inch semi-hardwood cutting with growth at the tip and mature bark at the base.
Apply the cut end into some rooting hormone and dust off the excess powder.
Make a hole in the sand equal to half the length of the cutting. Insert the rooting end into the hole.
Press some sand around it to hold it upright.
Place the container in a protected outdoor location away from direct sun or wind.
Spray the plant by hand often to maintain the moisture on the foliage and sand using a spray bottle.
Once the cutting roots after four weeks, you can transplant them into a gallon pot with potting soil and keep it in partial shade until it is warmer to plant in the garden.
Fire Chief Arborvitae Varieties
Growing other Thuja varieties with your Fire Chief is a great solution where urban pollution is present. The Thuja plants recommended here can resist the sun and are also highly ornamental.
Western Red Cedar – Thuja plicata
The tree is an essential tree for indigenous people in the Pacific Northwest. While the name reads cedar, is it not, and it can grow up to 175 feet tall. It has dark green foliage with moderate water requirements.
Japanese Thuja – Thuja standishii
It is a timber tree you find growing in Japan and is also one of five sacred trees of Kiso. The tree can grow up to 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. It has gray-green foliage.
American Arborvitae – Thuja occidentalis ‘smaragd’
It is an emerald green tree with vibrant foliage that stands out year-round. The tree is also slow-growing and a semi-dwarf tree.
Fire Chief Arborvitae Diseases and Pests
While the Fire Chief is relatively disease and pest free, there are some insects you need to watch out for. These pests include spider mites, leafminers, bagworms, and scale. Your shrub can get tip blight and root rot from overwatering when it comes to diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions
The good news is you need not prune your Fire Chief Arborvitae as it grows into a globe-shaped shrub with a rounded form. Instead, if you want, you can trim back new growth in the current season or cut away the diebacks
The Thuja Fire Chief can grow up to two feet tall and wide in ten years, making it a slow-growing shrub.
Depending on your species, you can use the Arborvitae as a privacy screen, frame your walkway or driveway, rock gardens, or standalone topiary.