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Fire Chief™ Arborvitae (Thuja)

(21 customer reviews)

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About Fire Chief™ Arborvitae (Thuja)

The phenomenal new Fire Chief Thuja from the Southern Living Plant Collection is the type of plant that leads people to ask “What is that plant?!” These exceptionally uniform shrubs make an almost perfect globe shape that requires no pruning. The Fire Chief’s eye-popping display of red-orange on the tips of its branches and lime-green on the inside appears almost other-worldly. Fully mature plants average 3’x3′ as this shrub is of the dwarf variety.

As the wind shakes these shrubs, the orange tips appear to shimmer on top of the chartreuse green foliage underneath, creating an optical illusion effect. This Thuja is perfect for those looking for a year-round color interest, as its brilliantly golden spring foliage will transition to a deep scarlet red through fall and winter. Whether used as a border, accent, hedge, or mass planting in the landscape or container garden, the Fire Chief refuses to cease turning heads all year long.

Fire Chief Arborvitae Care

The Thuja Occidentalis is a terrific evergreen shrub that makes for a wonderful addition to any landscape. USDA zones 5a – 8b provides the Fire Chief arborvitae the ideal climate to thrive. In addition to being a dwarf this slow growing shrub remains a manageable size and retains a natural globular shape. Use the Fire Chief Arborvitae as part of the foundation planting around your house. It can be planted as a single specimen or as a group of three or even more. It also works well in your flowerbeds, or in shrub beds all around your garden, proving year round interest.

Planting Fire Chief Arborvitae

The striking colors of the Fire Chief foliage is the main attraction of this plant so you will want to be sure you provide it with sufficient sunlight to facilitate the colorful growth. These shrubs thrive in full sunlight during morning sun and in the evenings prefer dappled shade areas.

Watering Your Fire Chief Arborvitae

Once you are ready to place your shrub in the ground remove it from its shipping pot and water deeply to settle. During the first growing season water 2-3 times per week to develop healthy roots. During the following seasons watering can be reduced as this is a water wise plant and grows to be quite drought tolerant.

Fire Chief Arborvitae Soil

Being such an easy and care free plant it should be no surprise to you that it that are not picky about soil types. They are easily grown in several soil types including those consisting of loam, clay and chalk. Although capable of growing in almost any soil type it does prefer well draining, but moist soil.

Common Fire Chief Arborvitae Questions 

How should I prune my Fire Chief Arborvitae?

As stated numerous times this shrub is low maintenance and due to that it requires no pruning. If you do choose to prune do so after 2 years of growth so that your are sure not impede any future growth. Although naturally rounded and compact its possible that it may become a bit “wild” so a light prune is not an issue.

Why is my arborvitae turning brown?

It is both easy and common for new plants to be overwatered leading to a number of issues. The best way to stop your Fire Chief from turning brown is to minimize improper watering. On the other side… it is also possible that it is receiving too little water. For the gleaming green, orange and red foliage that it is known for proper watering and sunlight exposure is imperative.

How far a part should my Thuja occidentalis ‘Congabe’ shrubs be planted?

The bright year round colors of the Fire Chief improves the look of any landscape and will always keep it looking fresh. Space your plants 3-4′ a part if you are looking to create a seamless appearance. If you are looking to cover more area plant 5-6′ a part in mass to create and sea of colorful foliage.

YouTube video

Scientific Name
Thuja occidentalis 'Congabe' PP19009
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Average Size
2-4' H x 2-4' W
Bloom Season

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21 reviews for Fire Chief™ Arborvitae (Thuja)

  1. Elizabeth (verified owner)

    I always appreciate the way these are packaged when delivered.
    They are so beautiful and have turned awesome red colors.
    Happy with my purchases.

  2. Rosemary Carter (verified owner)

    This is a beautiful plant, and it arrived in perfect condition. I combined It with two Gulfstream Nandinias, and the grouping is very colorful. I’m looking forward to watching them grow!

  3. H.N (verified owner)

    My fire chief isn’t doing well, I followed all the instructions.

  4. Judy Medina

    Beautiful, healthy plants! The color combination is amazing. The plants arrived well packed and in great shape, thank you.

  5. Susan (verified owner)

    Better than I even hoped!!

  6. Bryan Measles (verified owner)


  7. Jerry Andrews (verified owner)

    Always arrives fresh, looked much better than similar plants at local nursery……you ask why?
    The Plant—by-Mail are taken from the “Mother Nursery”, the nursery that “made the plant”, and the Fire Chief way shipped by Fed-Ex overnight to my address. Plant safely boxed, watered in, and ready for planting. I am excited to watch the four seasons of the Fire Chief. I have been purchasing my plants directly from Plants-by-Mail for 5-10 years and have never been disappointed.

  8. Charity Tracey (verified owner)

    My first order was 6 fire chief plants which were beautiful and healthy! Packed well and received fairly quick. I will return to website for my needs.

  9. Pat (verified owner)

    Great customer service! Plants were in good shape when they arrived. And so far no shock when they were transplanted. ?

  10. Deborah Magargal (verified owner)

    Purchased three of the Fire Chief Arborvitae. I couldn’t find them in my area of SW Washington State so ordered them here. They arrived in great condition and just had them planted today, zone 8a. Fast shipping and very healthy plants. So happy to have found them.

  11. Wilmer dominguez (verified owner)

    Beautiful plants

  12. Jim (verified owner)

    Fire Chiefs arrived in excellent condition and health…being cared for inside my house due to the extremely cold blast that just plagued the U.S.. The next few days promise much warmer temps (12-28-2022), so plan on getting them in the ground soon. So pleased with the condition of the plants that I will order again without hesitation. Thank you ‘Plants By Mail’ for doing such an excellent job on everything.

  13. Lori (verified owner)

    Saw the Fire Chiefs at a local nursery and loved the color but needed 6 and they only had 2 that were in poor condition. I had never ordered plants by mail before but decided to give it a try. I received my 6 Fire Chiefs quickly and they looked amazing! I will definitely be ordering additional plants in the future! Thanks!

  14. Shelley Hocking (verified owner)

    These are awesome and arrived in perfect condition.

  15. Holly (verified owner)

    Plants arrived quickly, were healthy, and just as described!

  16. S. G. (verified owner)

    I ordered 2 plants and they came packed nicely. They were bigger than I thought so that was great. They look nice . I would order plants from this company again. Thanks

  17. John (verified owner)

    Plants were shipped out quickly, and came very healthy looking. No complaints with PBM, would definitely order from them again.

  18. Chris (verified owner)

    They jammed 6 plants in a box with little to no packaging and then refused a refund when the plants were broken and dirt emptied all out of the pots.

    • Team PBM

      Good afternoon. You were not denied a refund. Per our policy, as stated online, we require pictures be sent of any plants that customers wish to have assessed for possible replacement or refund. This request was not met on your end as of yet. – Christy

  19. Lana (verified owner)

    I purchased 4 of these and they were beautiful and healthy upon arrival. They’re doing great in their new home. I love the foliage amd would highly recommend this for a small evergreen with unique color.

  20. Patricia Burns (verified owner)

    Bought 2 Fire Chiefs to go in new bronze colored urns on front porch. Terrific gold, orangey-red foliage on new growth is outstanding, a real standout. Beautiful young plant, very healthy and well cared for by PBM. May order more.

  21. Connie Bassett

    Great plant! Love the color!

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