Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 26 — Techny and Technito Arborvitae

Technito arborvitae

Even at its maximum size, Technito arborvitae (right) stays small. (Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries Inc.)

It’s happened to many gardeners and homeowners. You plant a trio of cute little shrubs in front of your house. Three years later, you’re hacking your way through the brush to get to the door. What happened? Nothing. You’re shrubs just grew to their intended size, and like children that go from pint-sized to six-footers in a flash, it seems to happen overnight.

When planning a landscape one of the most important considerations is the mature size of the shrubs, trees and perennials. Shrubs especially can get out of hand with unsightly results. Choosing the right-sized plant from the outset will save time and labor later.

techny closeup

The color and shape of Techny’s foliage is striking in the landscape. (Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries Inc.)

Depending on the situation, First Editions® Techny™ and Technito™ arborvitae can be great plants for northern gardens. These evergreen shrubs add year-round interest and texture to hedges, foundation plantings and mixed borders. Both plants were developed by the local firm, Bailey Nurseries Inc., and Technito is a smaller version of Techny arborvitae.

Hardy to USDA Zone 3, Techny arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Techny’) can grow 15 to 20 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. It is more resistant to winter burn and browning than other evergreens and is sometimes used to shield tender plants. While slow growing, planting a row of Techny arborvitae can make a nice privacy hedge in a few years. It handles pruning well, especially if done in spring.

Technito (Thuja occidentalis ‘BailJohn’ ) was discovered growing in a field of Techny arborvitae. Unlike its taller relative, Technito will grow only 6 feet tall, making it a delightful evergreen choice for smaller yards or spaces.  While it will never overwhelm a garden bed, Technito provides structure and year-round color, making it a great statement plant for diminutive yards. It has dense foliage cover and maintains its dark green color throughout the winter.

What are your favorite evergreens?



  1. Joe May on June 2, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Wondering how tall Technito globes grow….

    • Mary Lahr Schier on June 5, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      According to the supplier, it will get 2 feet tall by 2 feet wide, but it will need some pruning.

    • Ferrarri Trillo on August 3, 2022 at 6:06 pm

      Well, I’m not sure if mine was a Techny or a Technito, but they were about 5ft tall when I purchased my home in 2015. They were 8ft tall and starving my azaleas of the little sun they do get only 4 years later.

  2. Kally Goschke on September 23, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    How old is the oldest Technito known? Mature sizes cited by growers put on tags are notoriously innnacurate or just a ten year size. Is the stated size of 8 feet the 25 year size or just the ten year size?

    • Mary Lahr Schier on September 24, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      Technito was introduced in 2004. It was a selection found at a nursery in Wisconsin. The nursery says the plant can get 15 to 20 feet high, though it is such a slow grower, it will take a long time to get there. I’ve seen size ranges from 6 to 8 to 10 to 15 feet on websites. Here’s the info from the folks who originally discovered the plant: Hope this is helpful!

    • Mike on August 21, 2020 at 9:02 pm

      I will tell you that mine is about 4 years old, and its taller than me now, and I’m 6’3”. That said, its the best arborvitae I’ve ever planted. I would highly recommend it. Its pretty much bullet-proof, and my property tends to be very hard on arborvitaes, either for exposure reasons, or animal damage. Technito has withstood it all and maintains good color and great form. It gets zero winter damage in a spot where every arb I’ve ever planted has just been fried by the winter sun. I think the sizes listed online and on tags are going to need to be revised as I can see this plant getting much larger given its current growth rate. Time will tell though.

      • Jennifer on October 20, 2021 at 5:39 pm

        This is very promising to hear. I’m deciding between Techny and Technito for a 40′ hedge area I want to add to my house in Duluth. I’m on a busy road and a bit concerned about they being damaged by the snow from the city plow… I’m leaning towards Technito because I don’t want to prune a 20′ tall hedge in years to come…

  3. John Buelow on October 18, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Where can I buy them> I would like small young ones.

    • Mary Lahr Schier on October 18, 2021 at 7:01 pm

      These are very widely available in Minnesota. Check any local nursery that offers shrubs or trees.

  4. […] when given the space they need to grow into their natural form. Lacking space: Try some of these smaller arborvitae or other small-stature […]

Leave a Comment