Content Detail

Japanese garden juniper is a low-growing, ground-hugging evergreen reaching 6 to 12 inches high and eventually spreading 4 to 6 feet wide. Excellent as a ground cover, used to stabilize slopes or cascading over low walls. The blue-green foliage turns a slight purple in the winter.

  • Family (English) Cupressaceae
  • Family (botanic) Cypress
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover
  • Foliage Evergreen (foliage year-round)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter, early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Creeping
  • Growth rate Slow

Size & form:

A low-spreading, ground-hugging evergreen shrub or ground cover reaching 6 to 12 inches high and 4 to 6 feet wide. This is a trailing ground cover. Trailing groundcovers have trailing stems that spread horizontally over the ground from the central root system, but do not root to the ground.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Found in the mountains of Japan.

Bark color and texture:

Wide-spreading, stiff branches.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Alternate, prickly, pointed needles in whorls of three. Blue-green to gray-green needles can develop a purplish tinge in winter.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Small, greenish pistillate (female) and yellow staminate (male) flowers.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Small cone.

Plant care:

Plant this juniper in full sun in well-drained soil. It is pH adaptable but Intolerant of wet soils. Spreads at branch tips and can be pruned to maintain size. Excellent cold hardiness.

List of pests, diseases tolerances and resistance:

Phomopsis tip blight, root rot, cedar-apple-rust, webworm, and spider mite. Resistant to deer, drought, erosion, dry soil, rocky soil, and air pollution

Green Mound Japanese garden juniper (Juniperus procumbens ‘Green Mound’):

Soft, ground-hugging, 8 to 10 inches high and 5 to 6 feet wide. Its  blue-green needles do not winter brown and the center does not mound as it spreads.

Nana Japanese garden juniper (Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’):

This cultivar is 6 to 12 inches high and 4 to 6 feet wide with blue-green needles that turn a purplish-green in winter.


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