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Juniperus - Growing Guide
Introduction to Juniperus
Junipers come in a wide range of sizes suitable for very different locations and roles in the garden. They are all totally hardy and reliable in any well drained soil, usually in full sun. They will tolerate dry, chalky and sandy soils and they need no pruning at all. Juvenile leaves on some junipers (not all) are pointed or needle like while adult leaves are normally scale-like and overlapping. Junipers usually produce male and female cones on separate trees. Female cones are rounded, fleshy, berry-like fruits which can take two to three years to ripen properly.
It is perhaps easiest to divide up those varieties which we grow into their garden contexts:
Dwarf and prostrate growing junipers for the rockery or herbaceous border
J. communis ‘Compressa’ is a miniature pencil shaped conifer growing slowly to about 3ft in height. Its leaves are sharply pointed and deep green to blue green with white banding on the inner surfaces. This is an ideal plant for growing in a tub or patio pot.
J. communis ‘Repanda’ is a green prostrate form which makes excellent groundcover.
J. horizontalis ‘Limeglow’ is a prostrate or creeping juniper with vibrant greenish yellow foliage in spring turning through orange-yellow in autumn and bronze in winter.
J. procumbens ‘Nana’ grows to only 2ft but will creep away in a rockery for many feet more. It has needle-like, pointed yellow green leaves.
J. x pfitzeriana ‘Carberry Gold’ is a larger growing plant which is probably going to be a bit too big for the rockery eventually although it has a prostrate habit and striking creamy yellow foliage all year. 4-5ft eventually. In the heather garden at Windsor Great Park this is used widely in the heather borders.
J. squamata ‘Blue Carpet’ is a similar sized prostrate and spreading juniper with blue-grey foliage. Another useful conifer for the heather garden.
Architectural or columnar junipers
J. scopulorum ‘Skyrocket’ grows as a pencil shaped tree with glaucous grey-green leaves up to about 20ft eventually. It is only about 2ft or so wide even at this sort of height. This means that it can give stature and height in a more formal garden setting perhaps as the central plant in a border?
J. virginiana ‘Blue Arrow’ is an even more striking ‘pencil’ conifer than ‘Skyrocket’ with blue foliage.