Creeping juniper is a species of graceful, aromatic, low-growing, evergreen shrubby conifers native to the boreal and subarctic regions in North America, though some populations are also scattered further south in America. Featuring plume-like horizontal branches, the creeping junipers have blue-green foliage in both spring and summer, turning into dark purple in winter.
|Scientific Name||Juniperus horizontalis|
|Other Names||Trailing juniper, creeping cedar, creeping savin juniper|
|Other Related Species||Juniperus virginiana, Juniperus scopulorum|
|Size||10-30 cm tall, spread 1.8-3.1 m (6-10 ft) wide|
|Leaves||Occur in opposite crossed pairs, sometimes forming whorls of three; scale-like adult leaves (1-2 mm long, 1-1.5 mm broad) and needle-like juvenile leaves (5-10 mm long)|
|Cones||Berry-like, globular to bilobate, diameter of 5-7 mm, dark blue with bluish-white flowers having a waxy texture, usually contain 2 seeds, male cones have a length of 2-4 mm, pollens are shed in spring|
|Bark||Reddish brown, peeled, difficult to spot due to overlapping branches|
|Distribution/Range||Alberta, Labrador, British Columbia, Newfoundland I, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Yukon, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Northern Territories (in Canada); Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Montana, Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Vermont, Wyoming, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota (in the US)|
|Growth Rate||Medium with an annual increase of about 4.6 cm|
|Growing Conditions||Winter Conditions: Arid, cold climate with average January temperature of -14.5 °C to -10 °C
Summer Conditions: Typically dry with great variations in diurnal and annual temperatures; average July temperature is 18.8 °C, tolerates summer drought conditions
Rain: Needs low/moderate amount of rainfall, grows in areas with average yearly precipitation of 12.9-18 inches
Sunlight: Grows well under full sun; tolerant to partial sunlight but may have thin foliage
Soil Requirements: Medium moist, well-drained, dry, sandy, loamy, acidic or slightly alkaline
|Diseases and Pests||Affected by root rots, phomopsis dieback, foliage blight, cedar apple rust; serious pests including juniper scale, juniper webworm, twig borers, bagworms|
|Seed Production||Poor seed producer; seeds are dispersed by wind and wildlife|
|Development||Staminate/pistillate cones are produced in the spring; they mature in summer/early fall|
|Wildlife Value||Mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, and other small mammals feed on this plant; birds such as rose-breasted grosbeaks, yellow warblers, clay-colored sparrows, catbirds, blue jays, black-billed cuckoos, chipping sparrows, and brown thrashers use creeping juniper habitats|
|Uses||Cultivars are used in horticulture and landscaping, makes a great ground cover in rockeries and on sandy soils; also used for erosion control|
|IUCN Conservation Status||Least Concern|
- ‘Wiltonii’: Also called the ‘Blue Rug,’ the prostrate juniper has bluish foliage with a diameter of 5 ft and height of 4-6 inches.
- ‘Plumosa’ or ‘Andorra Juniper’: This variety of junipers is widely used in landscaping despite being highly susceptible to blight. It has a spread of 10 ft and grows up to 2 ft tall.
- ‘Bar Harbor’: Originating from Mount Desert Island, this juniper plant is an excellent prostate groundcover. It grows 1 ft high and spreads to about 6 ft.
- ‘Blue Prince’: This flat-growing variety with fine blue needles grows 6 inches high and spreads up to 5 ft.
There are other cultivars including ‘Blue Chip’, ’Mother Lode’, ’Hughes’, ’Monber’, and ‘Prince of Wales’.
- The berry-like seed cones of creeping juniper plants were used by the Native Americans for making an infusion to treat colds, sore throats, and kidney diseases.
Published on April 23rd 2016 by admin under Juniper.
Article was last reviewed on 5th December 2022.
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