Content Detail

This durable, low maintenance evergreen shrub that has blue-green foliage consisting of sometimes prickly overlapping scales. It reaches 4 to 6 feet high with a low, 5 to 10 foot wide spreading habit. Once established, it requires little maintenance. Savin juniper is native to the mountains of Europe. In fall it has bluish, berry-like fruits that are really modified cones. There are numerous cultivars available and they vary widely in size and characteristics.

  • Family (English) Cypress
  • Family (botanic) Cupressaceae
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover, Shrub
  • Foliage Evergreen (foliage year-round)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches), Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet), Small shrub (3-5 feet), Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil, 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 Broad, Creeping, Mounded
  • Growth rate Slow

Size and form: 

Savin juniper grows 4 to 6 feet high and 5 to 10 feet wide with an upright, spreading habit. There are numerous cultivars available that vary in size and plant characteristics. Some are low enough to use as trailing ground covers. Trailing groundcovers have trailing stems that spread out from a central root system. Though these stems spread out horizontally over the ground, they do not root to the ground.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

This plant is native to the mountains of central and southern Europe, Asia, and Siberia.

Attracts birds & butterflies: 

Junipers provide food (cones on female plants) and shelter for many species of birds.

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

Opposite leaves are four-ranked, blue-green, and with a blunt tip. Older branches have sharp, pointed, awl-like leaves and emit a rank odor when crushed.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Male and female flowers are on separate plants. They are inconspicuous.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Berry-like cones are on stalks and ripen in the second year.


Plant care:

Established plants withstand drought and wind. Savin juniper will adapt well to open sunny sites. Use for a year-round ground cover, in foundation plantings, on slopes, or in rock gardens.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Cedar-rusts and tip blight diseases  are common problems of these plants.

Broadmoor savin juniper(Juniperus sabina ‘Broadmoor’): 

A male cultivar with good blue-green color, Broadmoor grows up to 3 feet high and can spread 10 feet wide. Resistant to juniper blight.

Buffalo savin juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Buffalo’):  

A female cultivar that grows 12 to 18 inches high and up to 10 feet wide, it has feathery, green foliage and good winter color.

Calgary Carpet® savin juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Monna’): 

A very low, spreading plant, it only reaches about 10 inches high.

Skandia savin juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Skandia’):

A low, spreading, densely branched female cultivar with soft, gray-green foliage. Plants of this female cultivar produce bluish cones that look like berries. Grows just 12 to 18 inches high and spreads 6 to 8 feet wide.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift