Juniper trees are members of the Cypress family and are native to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, India, North America, and South America. They are diverse members of the Cypress family, with about 170 species. Juniper trees are hardy plants. They are found in a wide range of temperatures, except for areas of extreme heat or cold. The trees are generally classified as trees and shrubs, depending upon variety. This guide shows you how to grow junipers in your backyard. It’s easy!
Junipers are a low-maintenance evergreen, ranging in size from 1 1/2 feet to 60 feet. They also come in a wide variety of shapes, from spreading ground covers, to tall trees. Leaves vary, from dark green to light blue-green, and even some yellows.
Did You Know? Dwarf Junipers are used as Bonsai plants.
Plant height: These trees grow up to 60 feet tall.
Plant Hardiness Zones: 4 – 9
Botanical Name: Juniperus Communis
There is a wide variety of Junipers, broken down into four groups:
Ground Cover Junipers – They grow up to 1 1/2 feet tall. Use this variety for ground cover, border edging, rock gardens, and containers on the balcony or deck. They are often grown on hills and other places where soil erosion is a problem.
Dwarf Juniper – Grows up to 4 ‘. These varieties are commonly used as foundation plants, around gardens, ponds, and bonsai plants.
Small Junipers – These grow up to 6 feet. Like small junipers, they are commonly used as foundation plants, around gardens.
Large Junipers – These trees commonly grow up to 25 feet, but some varieties can grow to 60 feet. They are commonly found in nature in the woods.
Juniper has medicinal value. Juniper has been used to treat a very wide range of ailments. If a major medicinal use could be identified, it would probably be its use as a tonic to maintain health. Hundreds of years ago, Europeans added Juniper to gin and made a liqueur called Junivere from the berries. Many gins still have a minute amount of Juniper in the ingredients. So, “Bottoms up” and “Here’s to your health!”
Medicinally, Juniper has been used for:
Did You Know? Juniper was an ingredient in voodoo magic in the bayous of Louisiana.
Juniper is low maintenance and easy to grow. The plants need full sun and a well-drained soil. These drought-tolerant plants do not like wet soil. They can suffer if overwatered. They will grow in a variety of soils, preferring slightly acidic soil. They are also salt-tolerant, and able to grow in areas near the ocean where other plants could not survive.
Planting Juniper – Like any other shrub or tree, dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball. Mix in some rich compost. Remove the rooted plant from the container. Set it into the hole, and carefully loosen and spread the outer roots a little. Then fill in the hole, lightly tamping down the soil. Water thoroughly, 2 -3 times a week for a couple of weeks.
Mulch around plants, to help keep weeds down, and to maintain a tidy appearance.
Additional fertilizer is not necessary, except in the poorest of soils.
These drought-tolerant plants should not be watered, except during a severe drought.
Did You Know? If you are looking to attract birds, they eat Juniper berries.
Ideal Soil pH: 5.0- 6.5.
Aside from use as a Bonsai plant, Juniper requires little pruning.
Pest problems are infrequent. Insect pests include bagworms, webworms, spider mites, leaf miners, and aphids. If insect problems occur, treat with an insecticide.
Junipers suffer few plant diseases. Most Juniper problems are associated with wet soil or too much shade.