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Thuja plicata 'Whipcord'

(Whipcord Western Red-cedar)

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Thuja plicata ‘Whipcord’ is a shrubby, slow-growing, dwarf form of Western Red-cedar that grows with pendulous whipcord-like green foliage which droops from branchlets rising upward, fountain-like,  from the center before arching downward.

This small shrub typically grows as a flattened mound when young, to 2′ (60 cm) tall and to 3′ (90 cm) wide over its first 10 years in the landscape. Eventually it will form a more rounded shrub up to 4 to 5 feet (1.3 – 1.6 m) tall and as wide. Its glossy green foliage usually acquires bronze tones in winter in colder climates.

It is best grown in moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade, thriving in cool summer climates. ‘Whipcord is generally intolerant of dry conditions. Although it performs best in full sun, plants generally appreciate some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates that have different warm season temperatures and soil conditions than the specie’s native habitat of the Pacific-northwest of the U.S.


This cultivar originated as a seedling found in 1986 by Barbara Hupp of Drakes Crossing Nurseries, Silverton, Oregon, an understock supplier to Iseli Nurseries of Boring, Oregon. After years of testing, Iseli introduced the cultivar to the trade in 1999. Since its introduction, tens of thousands of Whipcord cultivars have made their way into North American gardens in no small measure because of its unusual growth habit. Many people don’t think they are purchasing a conifer but an ornamental grass!

Attributed from: Missouri Botanical Garden

5 comments to “Thuja plicata Whipcord

  1. Sara Malone commented

    Mine is much, much darker (I have several). I’d call it dark green, not the bright green of this photograph, which resembles the coloration of Platycladus ‘Franky Boy’ more than T. p. ‘Whipcord’. What do you think? Are mine unusual or is the photo color a bit off? I do love this plant.

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  2. rcsmith commented

    I have always thought of ‘Whipcord’ being a yellowish-green and even almost a brownish-green (in winter). I am curious about your dark green color. I wonder if your drier climate might play a role in the color differences? Here in our northwest corner of Oregon, ‘Franky Boy’, appears more a bright lemon-lime to my eyes (lemon on the outside, lime on the inside).

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  3. Sara Malone commented
    Just saw this – yes, my ‘Whipcord’ is definitely brownish-green in winter, but the rest of the year it is darker than the photo above. I’ll try to find a photo and post. And ‘Franky’ is pretty limey!
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  4. Joseph Kowalski commented

    I just planted one of these mop tops in Massachusetts. I did not know that it also comes available on a “standard” as is pictured in Special Conifers fo Small Gardens …Vol. 1(R. Fincham)….pp.202

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