Emeralds Vs Green Giants: Dueling Thujas Competing For Your Garden

When shopping for an evergreen it’s always a good idea to research all of the different varieties to discover what will grow best in your area based upon its growing zone, drought tolerance, disease resistance, care requirements, unique look and more.

While it may not seem like there could be much of a difference between different varieties of the same plant, like the Thuja Green Giant and Emerald Green Thuja because they are both thujas, they actually have striking differences that will greatly change the look of your landscape.

The Differences:

Emerald Green Thujas


Thuja Green Giants

Thuja Green Giants get their iconic name by growing up to massive heights between 20 to 40 feet tall. They also spread out and grow to be about 12 to 20 feet wide. The Green Giant is better suited for areas with a lot of space to fill in. If you have more ground to cover, then consider this large thuja.

Emerald Green Thujas are perfect for smaller landscapes because they only grow to heights between 8 and 12 feet. They have a much smaller spread, growing about 3 to 4 feet wide. Emeralds will fit better in tight spaces around the driveway or property borders. Its smaller size also allows it to grow in containers.

Growing Zones:

Emerald Green Thujas

If you are looking for an evergreen that can stand up to the cold and harsh winter weather, check out the Emerald Green Thuja. It is recommended for growing zones 3 through 8 and can survive freezing temperatures that dip down to -40 degrees. Emeralds are the thuja variety that old man winter can’t stop.

Thuja Green Giants can handle snow and ice, but not at the same level as Emerald Greens. Green Giants are recommended for growing zones 5 through 9, and can withstand freezing temperatures down to -20 degrees, so they still grow extremely well in northern areas. However, Thuja Green Giants are an excellent option for hot areas. They will happily flourish in dry, southern areas where other evergreens can’t take the heat.


Thuja Green Giants

Thuja Green Giants are very attractive with dense, dark green foliage. They provide a dark background for flowering trees and shrubs to pop against. Green Giants have large, wide bases and grow narrower towards the top, giving them a pyramidal shape that causes them to look like giant Christmas Trees.

Emerald Green Thujas have a brighter green glow, which causes them to shine with a bright green hue in the sunlight. They will attract attention to your landscape and can be used as accents in the garden to draw the eye to certain spots. They have a more columnar shape, with the same width almost from the ground up before narrowing towards the top.

The Similarities:

Emerald Green Thujas


Thuja Green Giants

Both Thuja Green Giants and Emerald Thujas have an extremely high resistance to pests and diseases. While other evergreens often fall due to bagworms or spider mites, along with molds and fungi thujas fight them!

They also stand up to extreme weather conditions. Their strong, upright branches won’t snap under heavy layers of snow and ice. With a high level of drought tolerance, they don’t fail during heat waves or suffer dryness brought on by cold winter winds.

Thujas aren’t picky about their soil. They will thrive in a variety of poor soils ranging from ones that are acidic, sandy, and even poor draining soils that are heavy in clay.


By planting Thuja Green Giants about five feet apart, and Emerald Thujas about two feet apart their foliage will fill in to create a solid barrier. Your neighbors won’t be able to peer into your yard or windows with a living privacy wall to stop them.

Thuja Green Giants

Growth Rate and Low Maintenance

Emerald Green Thujas

There isn’t any waiting around or babying when it comes to Thujas. Green Giants and Emeralds have growth rates of up to five feet per year so they will quickly grow into large, mature trees.

Forget the watering and feeding schedules, thujas don’t need them. With an adequate amount of water thujas will grow big and strong on their own. They don’t have a need for fertilizers or pest sprays.

Don’t worry about thujas growing too large, while it’s true that Green Giants can reach monstrous heights, they are also easy to shape and maintain. Emeralds and Green Giants can be easily shaped into hedges and kept at certain shapes and sizes.

The Perfect Tree Exists For The Job

When planning to make an addition to your landscape remember to plan ahead and research your options. Certain plants are perfectly suited for your area, while others or not. Even plants of the same species with different varieties can have a lot of differences.

As a gardener and plant enthusiast I’ve loved growing trees and shrubs my entire life. Unknown to most, there are always new faster fruiting and double blooming plant hybrids emerging on the scene. I often feel the need to share my plant knowledge and new trends with the growing gardening community through my blog!

Originally published at www.fast-growing-trees.com on February 17, 2016.