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Creeping Juniper, Juniperus horizontalis



Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech (first published November 2010, last reviewed March 2024)


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: 4to9
Light: Full sun
Moisture: Average to dry
Soil type: Most soils; adaptable to clay soils if well-drained
pH: Acid to slightly alkaline


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


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 folige 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

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Publication Date

March 7, 2024