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Platycladus orientalis 'Morgan'

Previously known as:

  • Thuja orientalis 'Morgan'
Phonetic Spelling
plat-ee-KLAD-us o-ree-en-TAH-lis
Description

'Morgan' is a dwarf conical-shaped shrub that is a cultivar of the Chinese or Oriental arborvitae. It is a dense evergreen shrub with soft feathery foliage. New growth appears chartreuse and turns darker green with age. Overwintering the foliage becomes copper to orange in color. It is a member of the Cupressaceae or cypress family.

In the 1970s, Mal Morgan, a nurseryman from Australia, originated this cultivar from a seedling selection. He named the plant after himself, and it was introduced by Andrews Nursery of Sydney, Australia.

The genus name, Platycladus, originates from two Greek words. Platys, translated, means "broad," and klados references the type of branches. The species name, orientalis, means" from the Orient." The species was previously known as Thuja orientalis 'Morgan;' however, it has been determined that this plant does not belong to the Thuja genus.

'Morgan' prefers full sun, moist, and well-drained soils.  Due to its dense foliage, good air circulation is recommended. To protect the shrub from strong winds or heavy snow, a sheltered site is recommended.

Reportedly, its annual growth is 2 to 3 inches, and the shrub was thought to mature to a height of 20 to 28 inches or 12 to 16 inches wide. However, specimens have been known to reach heights of 8 feet and a width of 6 feet or more. There is not enough data to clearly say how large this shrub may grow.

'Morgan' could be considered as a hedge, foundation planting, or specimen. The chartreuse green foliage of spring, darker green foliage of summer through the fall, and the added color of copper-orange foliage of winter will add color and interest to the landscape.

Seasons of Interest:

Foliage:  Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter

Quick ID Hints:

  • dwarf conical to rounded shaped evergreen conifer shrub
  • soft feathery flat sprays of foliage
  • light green foliage with gold overlay
  • magnificent copper to orange colored foliage in winter

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: This shrub has no serious insect or disease problems. Monitor for bagworms, spider mites, scales, aphids, caterpillars, borers, and mealybugs. The shrub should be protected from snow or wind damage. 

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

 

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Tags:
#evergreen#small spaces#conical#specimen#shrub#pyramidal#conifer#winter interest#dwarf#hedges#foundation planting#evergreen shrub#lime green leaves#winter garden#yellow needles#dense growth#erect#cultivar#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#small spaces#conical#specimen#shrub#pyramidal#conifer#winter interest#dwarf#hedges#foundation planting#evergreen shrub#lime green leaves#winter garden#yellow needles#dense growth#erect#cultivar#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Platycladus
    Species:
    orientalis
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Conical
    Dense
    Erect
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    The foliage appears as scale-like flat sprays. New growth appears yellowish-green and becomes darker green with age. The foliage turns copper or orange shades during the winter.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Specimen