These tough evergreen shrubs come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit almost any landscape.

Colorful Combinations

Junipers are interesting evergreens for several reasons. The foliage is one source of interest: Immature plants bear small, sharp needles, but as the plant matures, it grows scale-like leaves, which then bear fruiting cones. Consider the foliage for your planting situation. For instance, if you'll be planting near walkways or other spots that get pedestrian traffic, seek varieties that only have scales—the needles can be quite sharp and cause a temporary rash on some people.

Juniper Care

Their ability to grow in some pretty tough situations, with little care, makes junipers prized in gardens. Although they handle drought well, they need well-drained soil. They also need full sun for the best growth. (They even tolerate winter's salt spray, so they work alongside roads and sidewalks.) Shady spots tend to result in loose, open growth, which reduces the plant's appeal. Coloring on many of the blue/silver varieties may also be less vibrant in part shade. It's important to note that some of the gold foliage varieties need shelter from hot afternoon sun to prevent burning.

Junipers require little maintenance, just minor trimming, and shaping. Never cut them back to the bare stems at their centers, since this wood is usually too old and tough to set new growth. If you're training a juniper into a formal shape, select a variety amenable to regular pruning. Groundcover types are generally not a good choice for that, and should be minimally pruned, if at all.

So Many Choices

Junipers come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. You can roughly group them into three main growth types: groundcover, mid-height or mounding, and tall upright. Each has its own uses and comes in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. As you venture into the world of juniper, it's best to narrow your search down to a single type, and go from there. Within each group, there are still numerous options to choose from, so you'll still have your work cut out for you.

More Varieties of Juniper

Juniper Shrubs Overview

Genus Name Juniperus
Common Name Juniper Shrubs
Plant Type Shrub
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 6 to 12 inches
Width null to 20 feet
Foliage Color Blue/Green, Gray/Silver
Season Features Winter Interest
Special Features Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Layering, Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Good For Privacy, Groundcover, Slope/Erosion Control

'Blue Star' Juniper

blue star juniper
Justin Hancock

Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star' features dense branches of silvery-gray needles with white stripes. This drought-tolerant juniper is compact, growing 2 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Zones 5-9

California Juniper

california juniper
Denny Schrock

Juniperus californica has blue-gray foliage and showy berries that make this native plant very ornamental. It grows 10-15 feet tall and, once established, is exceptionally drought tolerant. Zones 8-10

'Hetzii' Juniper

hetzii juniper
Carol Freeman

Juniperus media 'Hetzii' is an upright shrub, growing 7 feet tall and 10 feet wide, with evergreen foliage shaded with blue. Zones 4-8

Gold Juniper

gold juniper
Peter Krumhardt

Juniperus virginianum 'Aurea' forms a tall (up to 15 feet), loose pyramid of golden evergreen foliage. Zones 2-9

Golden Common Juniper

golden common juniper
William N. Hopkins

Juniperus communis 'Depressa Aurea' is a native plant that has a low habit—2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. New shoots are bright gold. Zones 2-6

'Grey Owl' Juniper

grey owl juniper
Dean Schoeppner

Juniperus virginiana 'Grey Owl' features silvery-gray foliage that turns slightly purple at the tips in winter. It reaches 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 2-9

'Icee Blue' Juniper

icee blue juniper
Denny Schrock

Juniperus horizontalis 'Monber' ('Icee Blue' is a commercial name) maintains a dense, full crown year-round. Brilliant silver-blue foliage is the hallmark of this cultivar. In the coldest climates, its foliage becomes plum purple in winter. Zones 3-9

'Mother Lode' Juniper

mother lode juniper
Peter Krumhardt

Juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode' forms a low-growing mat of bright golden foliage that bronzes in winter. It grows 8 inches tall and 5 feet wide. Zones 4-9

Pfitzer Juniper

pfitzer juniper
Jay Wilde

Juniperus pfitzeriana is a wide, spreading shrub with scalelike leaves. It grows 6 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Zones 4-9

'Maney' Chinese Juniper

maney chinese juniper
Dean Schoeppner

Juniperus chinensis 'Maney' is a low-growing shrub with gray foliage. It grows 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 3-8

Garden Plans for Juniper

Property Line Garden

property line garden illustration
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

This stylish border features a sophisticated color palette. The perennials in the design, chosen for their long season of bloom, offer flowers in violet-blue and yellow shades. Evergreen shrubs in silver-blue and bright chartreuse-gold keep the color scheme going year-round.

Click here to get this free plan.

Clay Soil Garden

clay soil garden plan illustration
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Even if you're stuck with heavy clay soil, you can still grow a lovely garden. Follow this plan for a stunning design that can hold up to dense soil.

Get this garden plan now!

Drought-Tolerant Garden Plan

orange and white florals with greenery outdoor garden next to large fountain
Peter Krumhardt

This informal mixed garden bed features drought-tolerant trees, evergreen shrubs, perennials, and annuals.

Download this plan.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles