ID

3010-1473

Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture

Summary

Foliage: Scale-like foliage; evergreen
Height: Depends on cultivar; varies from 6 inches to 2 feet tall
Spread: About 8 feet
Shape: Low-growing ground cover

Main features

Creeping juniper, a conifer, is a ground cover species represented by numerous cultivars (more than 60) that vary in height, form, foliage color, and the presence of juniper “berries” (on females). The typical cultivars in the trade are low-growing (less than 1 foot tall) and have a bluish cast to the foliage; a few taller cultivars are used (see Additional Information section). These cultivars make a beautiful evergreen ground cover that is quite drought tolerant.

Plant Needs

Zone: 4 to 9
Light: Full sun
Moisture: Average to dry
Soil type: Most soils; adaptable to clay soils if well-drained
pH range: Acid to slightly alkaline

Functions

Creeping juniper can be used wherever a low-growing evergreen ground cover is needed. Drought tolerance makes this species adaptable to slopes.

Care

This species requires very little care. The major consideration for the low forms (less than 1 foot tall) is weed invasion because plants are relatively short which facilitates weed seed germination. Be sure to plant creeping junipers in the full sun with well-drained soil. Shade and poorly drained soils will predispose plants to disease problems and poor health.

Additional Information

There are numerous cultivars (more than 60) in the trade. Some of the more popular ones are:

  • ‘Bar Harbor’ low-growing form with bluish green foliage; purplish foliage in winter
  • ‘Blue Rug’ (‘Wiltonii’) low-growing form with silver-blue foliage; foliage has light purplish tinge in winter
  • ‘Blue Prince’ low-growing form with very handsome blue colored foliage
  • Icee Blue® low-growing form with silvery blue foliage
  • ‘Plumosa’ (also called Andorra juniper) a flat mound about 2 feet tall and at least 5 feet wide; foliage turns purplish in winter
  • ‘Plumosa Compacta’ a compact version of the above cultivar

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

November 3, 2010