Chinese Juniper Shrubs: Tips On Caring For Chinese Juniper
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By: Jackie Carroll
Although the original species (Juniperus chinensis) is a medium to large tree, you won’t find these trees in garden centers and nurseries. Instead, you’ll find Chinese juniper shrubs and small trees which are cultivars of the original species. Plant taller varieties as screens and hedges and use them in shrub borders. Low-growing varieties serve as foundation plants and ground covers, and they work well in perennial borders.
Caring for Chinese Juniper
Chinese junipers prefer moist, well-drained soil, but they will adapt almost anywhere as long as they get plenty of sun. They tolerate drought better than excessively wet conditions. Keep the soil evenly moist until the plants become established. Once they begin to grow, they are practically carefree.
You can reduce the maintenance even more by reading the mature plant measurements on the plant tag and choosing a variety that fits the space. They have a lovely natural shape and will not need pruning unless crowded into a space that is too small. They don’t look as nice when pruned, and won’t tolerate severe pruning.
Chinese Juniper Ground Covers
Many of the Chinese juniper ground cover varieties are crosses between J. chinensis and J. sabina. The most popular varieties for this purpose grow only 2 to 4 feet (.6 to 1 m.) tall and spread 4 feet (1.2 m.) wide or more.
If you plan on growing a Chinese juniper plant as a ground cover, look for one of these cultivars:
- ‘Procumbens,’ or Japanese garden juniper, grows two feet tall with a spread of up to 12 feet (.6 to 3.6 m.). The stiff horizontal branches are covered with blue-green, wispy-looking foliage.
- ‘Emerald Sea’ and ‘Blue Pacific’ are members of a group called Shore Junipers. They grow 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cm.) tall with a spread of 6 feet (1.8 m.) or more. Their salt tolerance makes them a very popular seaside plant.
- ‘Gold Coast’ grows 3 feet (.9 m.) tall and 5 feet (1.5 m.) wide. It has unusual, gold-tinted foliage.
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How to Grow Creeping Juniper
If you really don't enjoy spending a lot of time maintaining your garden, or you aren't a fan of mowing the lawn, then Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) could be a perfect choice.
This hardy, low-growing evergreen shrub is often used as an alternative ground cover, although it doesn't cope well with high footfall.
A versatile and popular shrub, it's often used on rocky slopes where other plants struggle to survive, and it can help to prevent soil erosion. This drought-tolerant species is also commonly used in dry regions where xeriscaping is popular.
The foliage is aromatic and usually takes on an eye-catching blue-green hue through the spring and summer.
|Botanical Name||Juniperus horizontalis|
|Common Name||Creeping Juniper, Creeping Cedar|
|Plant Type||Evergreen shrub|
|Mature Size||Up to one foot|
|Sun Exposure||Full Sun|
|Soil Type||Tolerates a variety, but must be well-drained|
|Soil pH||Not particular|
|Bloom Time||only foliage, no flowers|
|Hardiness Zones||3 to 9|
|Native Area||North regions of North America|
Among the most popular conifers for the garden is fragrant juniper. The evergreen "long-liver" has a magnificent appearance, and its aroma allows you to heal from various diseases and strengthen the immune system.
This coniferous plant for the garden has a large number of varieties, it can be either a creeping bush or a tall tree. Among gardeners, common juniper is popular, having the following varieties:
- Hibernica is a columnar tree reaching five meters in height.
- Compressa is a small copy of the previous juniper.
- Green Carpet is a creeping juniper perfectly suited for lawn design.
No less popular is juniper Chinese. It grows well on dry stony soils, characterized by branches of a bluish tint. Such varieties are especially appreciated as Gold coast - a bright shrub of green-gold color, Plumosa - a low-growing coniferous plant for the garden, Blue Alps - a high variety, which is characterized by fragrant blue needles. No less popular is the variety Expansa Variegata - Chinese juniper with scaly needles, combining green with light cream. Gardeners and juniper Kuriwao Gold like a wide shrub, the young shoots of which are yellow in color.
Another coniferous plant ideal for the garden (pictured) is juniper horizontal. It is able to form an attractive carpet on your site, and its average height is about 40 centimeters.
One of the most interesting representatives of junipers is scaly, with decorative hard blue needles. True, he has serious shortcomings: he is sick from the heat and does not tolerate frosts.
An extremely versatile landscape evergreen with countless cultivars in all shapes and sizes the species is usually a bushy, upright small tree interesting needle-like foliage and attractive blue berries, quite variable habit, very adaptable
Chinese Juniper has green foliage. The scale-like leaves remain green throughout the winter. The flowers are not ornamentally significant. It produces powder blue berries from late spring to late winter.
Chinese Juniper is an evergreen tree with a distinctive and refined pyramidal form. It lends an extremely fine and delicate texture to the landscape composition which can make it a great accent feature on this basis alone.
This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.
Chinese Juniper is recommended for the following landscape applications
- Vertical Accent
- Windbreaks and Shelterbelts
Chinese Juniper will grow to be about 40 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 70 years or more.
This tree should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is not originally from North America.
Chinese Juniper 'Spartan'
Architectural, Juniperus chinensis 'Spartan' (Chinese Juniper) is a narrow, pyramidal to columnar, evergreen tree forming a handsome exclamation point in the landscape. Fast-growing, its dense and erect branches bear scale-like, dark green foliage. Ideal for providing year-round structure, it makes a wonderful specimen plant, adds accent vertical lines to the landscape. Perfect for hedges and windbreaks. Quite popular and tough, it is tolerant to heat, cold, drought, and salt.
- Grows up to 15-20 ft. tall (450-600 cm) and 4-5 ft. wide (120-150 cm).
- A full sun lover, this plant is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Tolerates a wide range of soils including clay soils. Drought tolerant once established.
- Perfect as a specimen plant, for foundation plantings.
- Low maintenance, no pruning required.
- Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings
- Native to China, Japan, Mongolia and the Himalayas
Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Keteleeri')
Keteleeri Chinese juniper is a slower-growing broadly pyramidal evergreen tree with light green scale-like leaves. It is a dense, evergreen, small tree with a pyramidal habit that typically grows 15–20 feet tall. It features light to medium green, mostly scale-like foliage that is attractive year-round. This is a female cultivar that produces profuse, grayish-green, berry-like cones. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil for an excellent evergreen screen.
Street: Appropriate for restricted size planting sites recommended by the City of Chicago Urban Tree Planting List
Park/Residential: Appropriate for landscaped planting sites including public parks, residential property, golf courses, cemeteries, etc.
Legacy: For plantings with an expected life span of more than 60 years retained 50 percent or more climate suitability in models for the decade 2080
N/R +35 yrs: Not recommended for plantings with an expected life span of more than 35 years