Platycladus orientalis 'Franky Boy' / Franky Boy Chinese arborvitae

Platycladus orientalis 'Franky Boy' is a fantastic, thread-leaf selection of Chinese arborvitae. This cultivar is distinguishable through its teardrop shape and beautiful golden, fine thread like foliage. Annual growth can be up to 4 inches (20 cm), but this plant does best with a yearly shearing of up to one-third of its previous year's growth. This practice will keep the plant tight and tidy and less prone to splay in parts of the world prone to snow and ice. After 10 years in the garden one can expect a specimen to grow to 3 feet (1 m) tall and 2 feet (60 cm) wide.

As is typical of the species, 'Franky Boy' has seasonal variation in foliage color. In summer it's a pleasing greenish yellow while in winter, the color shifts to more of an orangish-bronze.

Frank Nursery of Heiligen Eiche, Austria selected 'Franky Boy' from a seedbed around 1990. Platycladus orientalis 'Elegantissima' was the seed parent. 'Franky Boy' was one of two plants selected in 2018 for inclusion into the ACS Collectors' Conifer of the Year Program.

Franky Boy after a summer's growth in central Maine, 2013
Photo by Wynne Keller
Platycladus orientalis 'Franky Boy' at Laura Shively's Garden, Bloomington, Indiana.
Photo by Jay Park
Platycladus orientalis 'Franky Boy' — a young plant in a private garden in Petaluma, California. This plant is showing winter coloration.
Photo by David Olszyk
Platycladus orientalis 'Franky Boy' — a closeup of foliage detail in winter.
Photo by David Olszyk



I purchased this type with a skinny trunk: about two ft trunk one ft foliage. How was that created and will I need to cut back ' suckers ' on the trunk?