Juniper shrubs vary in size and shape from very low-growing groundcover to quite tall columns. Juniper shrubs are evergreen and usually planted as low, spreading, bush-type plants. There are approximately 50 species of junipers with hundreds of cultivated varieties available. They are found in most countries in the northern hemisphere. Juniper shrubs are low maintenance, drought tolerant and perform quite well in rock gardens. Most varieties of juniper require very little pruning, if any, unless you desire a topiary effect. Be sure to leave enough room for the juniper plant to spread.
How & Where to Plant Juniper Bushes
Junipers thrive in full sun but tolerate partial shade, and they require well drained soils. They also prefer an acidic pH soil but will grow in soil that are not so acidic. These versatile plants are highly adaptable to many conditions and can be especially helpful in preventing soil erosion, controlling weeds, and achieving plantings on difficult to access parts of a landscape.
Low-Growing Junipers as Groundcover
Fill a rock garden or other large space with low-growing juniper shrubs for a dynamic, self-maintaining result. These types of juniper shrub generally stay a few inches above the ground, preferring to grow outward rather than upward. Plant them three to six feet apart on steep slopes, one to four feet apart in flat gardens. Our fave picks for juniper groundcover are:
- Blue Rug Juniper - Soft, silvery, blue-green foliage all year; extremely cold hardy; great for covering slopes or spilling over retaining walls
- Grey Owl Juniper - Silver-green foliage with slight vase shape, blue berry-like cones attract wildlife summer through winter, elegant form that spreads quickly
- Old Gold Juniper - Evergreen foliage with vibrant golden-hued accents, lacy appearance works well in mass plantings, slow growing with a long lifespan
Columnar Junipers as Garden Accents
Whether you want a pair of topiary sculptures flanking your home’s entryway or you’re looking for a fast-growing privacy hedge, columnar juniper shrubs offer high visual impact with low maintenance obligations.
- Spiny Greek Juniper - Blue-tinted sage-green foliage, grows up to 20 feet high with a 15-foot spread, fast-growing and amenable to topiary shaping
- Green Columnar Juniper - Dark green foliage, strongly pyramidal and upright form is perfect for privacy hedges, can achieve heights of 12 to 15 feet while maintaining width of only four to six feet
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