Creeping Juniper Ground Cover: Types, Care, and Propagation

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Overview of Junipers.

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Juniper is a coniferous plant of the Cypress family that is available in lots of varieties and grows across many environment zones. A lot of are discovered in the Northern Hemisphere. Junipers can vary from tall evergreen trees, to shrubs, to groundcover varieties. They can be acknowledged by their needle shaped leaves, which turn scaly as the plant grows. Juniper trees have particular blue-colored berries at the ends of their branches. All juniper types produce cones.

Some Juniper is monecious– it has both male and female plant parts, and can reproduce despite the fact that just one tree or shrub is present. Pollen from the male plant parts can enter the air and reach the female cones. The berries that then around found on the plant are what encapsulate the seed. Creeping juniper is dioecious. This indicates that some plants are male and some are female, and among each should be present for reproduction to happen. Both produce cones. Females can be differentiated from males by the berries they produce after they develop.

Juniper has numerous medicinal residential or commercial properties, and numerous plant parts are used for medical purposes. Juniper is believed to serve as a diuretic or antiseptic.

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Creeping Juniper Characteristics.

Creeping juniper, sometimes also called creeping cedar, is a low lying evergreen groundcover. Within the taxonomy of the plant kingdom they are referred to as juniperus horizontalis. Although there are several ranges, they all grow normally no more than 2 feet tall, and will spread and extend roots as they do so. A lot of will spread about 8 feet. Some encompass 10 feet or more. If they are in a container or on a ledge, they will continue growing and “waterfall” over the side. Sneaking junipers generally expand their width by 1 to 2 feet each year.

Stems and Branches: Creeping juniper will begin with a primary, thicker trunk that is brown or gray. Smaller branches will grow off in different directions from that one, remaining close to the ground. Those branches, once developed, will have the very same color as the trunk. New growth stems will be yellowish green. As the plant “sneaks,” its brand-new shoots will extend shallow roots that anchor it to the ground.
Foliage: The leaves of creeping juniper are fine, green to blue feather-like needles. Lots of cultivars exist, and some are truer green while others are better to a blue-gray hue. The leaves turn scaly as the plant matures. In the fall and winter, they rely on a purplish red color, however return to green when spring comes.
Fruit: Female plants will produce bluish purple berries, which are in fact the “cones” of this conifer. These berries are edible. Juniper berries are utilized to flavor gin. Some individuals likewise utilize them to make sauces.

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Types of Sneaking Juniper.

There are over 50 types of the genus juniperus total, and juniper horizantalis is simply among those types. Within the species, over 100 cultivars are utilized and offered in nurseries. Below are some of the most popular varieties if sneaking juniper. Unless otherwise noted, these will grow in USDA strength zones 3-9.

Blue Rug (Wiltonlii Juniper): This is most likely the most popular cultivar. It has a silver blue color and grows 6 inches or less off the ground. It spreads really rapidly, and will likely expand a number of feet in the first season alone after being transplanted from a nursery. It sets well with other evergreens, below trees, or along hardscapes.
Bar Harbor: This cultivar grows taller than the majority of sneaking junipers. It typically grows to 1 foot high or greater. It also has a blue green color, a shade in between that of Blue Carpet and Prince of Wales. It is native to Maine.
Blue Acres: Blue Acres is blue in color, and spreads farther than any other range. It typically reaches up to 20 feet in width. This makes it a great choice for a fast groundcover. It is durable in zones 4-9.
Blue Star: The blue leaves of this variety are denser than on other types. After a few years of growth, it may rise to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It is belonging to central Asia, and grows well in rocky, alpine environments. It will grow in zones 4-8, a narrower range than the majority of junipers.
Emerald Spreader: Emerald spreader is also low-lying, only reaching about 3/4 foot tall. It is a green to slightly blue-green color. This range is primarily found in Alaska and Canada, however likewise will grow in some parts of the northern United States. It will spread in between 4 and 10 feet.
Green Acres: This type of creeping juniper is forest green colored, and will quickly cover expanses as much as 8 feet broad.
Prince of Wales: The forest-green foliage of this variety has to do with average in height when compared to other sneaking junipers. It reaches about 6 inches high.
Lime Radiance: Lime glow is a yellow-green, much lighter shade than other creeping junipers. The leaves turn an orange-gold color in cold weather. It does not grow as quickly as other cultivars, and will typically only reach about 3 1/2 feet wide.
Pancake: Also described as dwarf sneaking juniper, this type grows much closer to the ground. It almost looks like moss, and is forest green in color. Pancake sneaking juniper will only rise to 3 inches above ground, however will spread out a number of feet horizontally.

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Planting and Ongoing Care.

Area: Plant sneaking juniper in an area where it has room to spread out. Also, ensure it will receive a lot of sun. Many people utilize it to complete spaces in garden beds, along slopes in location of yard, or to curtain over retaining walls. It will grow around rocks or other barriers, and is great for rock gardens or xeriscape (low water) landscaping.
Soil: This groundcover is not especially picky about soil, however will do best in soil that drains well. They do not normally need extra raw material or other soil amendments in order to thrive.
USDA Hardiness Zones: Sneaking junipers do better in more northern zones, but will mature to zone 9. Numerous are native to Alaska and central Canada.
Sunlight Requirements: These plants need complete sun to prosper. If grown in the shade they won’t look as dynamic, and will not reach their complete dispersing potential.
Watering: Juniper is classified as dry spell tolerant. It can make it through in drier conditions. When first transplanting, make sure to ensure it doesn’t dry out for the very first couple of weeks. After that, it should only require watering if you are receiving less than 1 inch of rainfall per week.
Fertilizer: Do not fertilize your juniper plant until it has been growing in its brand-new permanent area for a minimum of a full year. After that, you can use the very same fertilizer you would use on other shrubs or trees. Do this in the fall.
Transplanting: Juniper, together with other evergreens, can be planted nearly at any time of year that the ground is not frozen. Spring or early fall are best. If you are digging up a plant to move somewhere else, you will need to collect the entire plant, along with any runners that have actually rooted. Unless the plant is relatively young, this may be a pretty huge job. Most of the times, you are much better off acquiring a new plant from a nursery rather than attempting to move an old one. If you have the persistence, you can propagate your existing juniper plant from cuttings. This approach will require waiting several years for a considerable plant to grow, nevertheless.
Illness: Plants that seem yellowing may have a fungal infection. If you find this problem, thoroughly cut away harmed parts of the plant immediately. Disinfect whatever tool you use before utilizing them somewhere else in the garden to avoid spreading illness.
Bugs: Pests that might affect sneaking juniper are bagworms, spider termites, aphids, or leaf aphids. To control bagworms, remove any webbing or bags you may see growing on the plant. For other bugs, use a pesticide that indicates it is safe for use on shrubs, and that specifically targets the problem pest.

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Landscaping and Coupling With Other Plants.

This low growing shrub appropriates for lots of landscaping and garden designs. It makes a good groundcover if you have a hill that is challenging to trim: simply change lawn with sneaking juniper. It will ultimately fill out the location, and you won’t need to cut the lawn there. It also will obstruct light from reaching weeds.

Many individuals like to plant sneaking juniper around mailboxes or other places that are hard to water. They are quite resistant to dry spell. They likewise go well in hardscapes or in rock gardens, considering that they don’t have really specific soil requirements.

Creeping juniper looks good when paired with other evergreens of varying height and colors. They likewise are beautiful next to or in front of increased bushes. To complete a void, you can integrate it with other groundcovers like sneaking phlox (also evergreen in some zones), creeping sedum, or creeping thyme.


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Creeping juniper can be grown either from cuttings or from seed. Growing by means of cuttings is a much faster method, and will produce a plant that corresponds the original. This is the preferred approach of proliferation.

To grow utilizing cuttings, take a soft wood (newer development) cutting from an existing plant anytime between July and November. The cutting should be between 8 and 10 inches long. Prepare a planter with seed starting mix (one that does not have soil, however rather peat moss, vermiculite, or a combination), and develop a hole where the cutting will go with a knife or a pencil. Remove the leaves from the bottom third of the cutting. Cut a couple of small slits in that bottom third. Put the cutting in the hole in the seed beginning mix. Carefully press the growing medium around the base of the cutting so that it is set securely. Water or mist carefully until the mix is damp. Cover the container with a plastic bag (a gallon size Ziploc bag works fine), being sure that the sides of the bag do not touch the plant. Mist whenever the soil feels dry. The cutting should root after one to two months. Once it does, eliminate the plastic and move it to a window. By the next spring, you should have the ability to plant the cutting outside.


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