Franky Boy Chinese Arborvitae
Thuja plicata 'Franky Boy'
On sunny but blustery day in 1990 somewhere in Austria (we really don’t know what the weather was like, btw), someone spotted something unique growing in a seedbed. That enterprising planthunter decided to not take lunch that day and instead invested a little time in that seedling. Thanks to that person forgoing her midday bratwurst and cheese, today we have ‘Franky Boy’ arborvitae. This cultivar of Chinese arborvitae has fine thread-like foliage and an overall teardrop shape. The American Conifer Society reports that ‘Franky Boy’ can grow up to 4 inches a year, but does best if you trim up to one-third of its previous growth every year. After 10 years, expect a size of only 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, reaching 6 feet tall over time (we will be long gone by then). Summer color is a bright greenish-yellow, while winter foliage changes to orange-ish bronze. You may even find ‘Franky Boy’ in fancy nursery sold as a standard. If you do, definitely grab it and plant a little Seuss-like whimsy into your garden.