Juniperus conferta is a dense, evergreen shrub native to the seacoast of Japan and Sakhalin Island. With prickly blue-green foliage, the Shore Juniper grows as a low-spreading, creeping plant, making it an excellent ground cover plant.
An excellent ground cover for dry, sandy soils, here’s everything you need to know about its care and maintenance.
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|Common Name(s)||Shore juniper, Pacific blue juniper|
|Scientific Name||Juniperus conferta|
|Height & Spread||6-18″ tall and 4-6′ wide|
|Soil||Well drained, sandy soil|
|Pests & Diseases:||Aphids, bagworms, twig borers, scale, rust, and blights|
Juniperus conferta belongs to the family Cupressaceae. These plants can grow up to 6-18″ tall with creeping stems as wide as 8″. The awl-shaped, aromatic foliage features pointed blue-green needles in groups of three.
Ground cover juniper also bears fruit. It produces berry-like seed cones that take on a silvery bloom upon maturity. The plants are sun-lovers and thrive well in medium moisture and well-drained, dry soil. Birds tend to enjoy munching on these berries.
The Shore Juniper belongs to the genus Juniperus that is known for its blue-green, cascading branches. The most famous cultivars are Juniperus conferta ‘Blue Pacific’, ‘Sliver Mist’, and ‘Sunsplash’.
‘Blue Pacific’ is slightly more hardy than others, stands out for its blue-green foliage, and spreads wide as ground cover.
‘Silver Mist’ has a crowded, dense-growing habit and grows 16″ tall. It has beautiful, silvery blue-green foliage that develops a purplish cast in winters.
Lastly, ‘Sunsplash’ is a variegated form of Juniper ground cover that features bluish-green foliage and gold-yellow needles. The foliage remains fresh in all seasons.
Juniperus Conferta Care
The plant can withstand drought, erosion, and air pollution, which makes it easy to care for and maintain as a low-water option. Grow it in well-drained sandy soil with medium moisture and enjoy a rich, ever-green display all year.
Light and Temperature
Juniperus conferta requires full sun and grows well in USDA hardiness zones 6-9. The plant should be grown in a well-lit area where it can get sunlight throughout the day. If growing in a different zone, pay attention to care requirements ahead.
Water and Humidity
As a drought-tolerant plant, the Shore Juniper survives well in dry, arid environments. It only requires medium moisture. Overly wet soil can cause the branches to die or turn brown.
Give the young plants deep watering 2-3 times a week in the first month. Once the plants mature, give them deep watering of about 1-inch per week to retain their green growth.
This species thrives well in well-drained, dry, and sandy soils. It can tolerate acidic and neutral soils but grows especially well in slightly alkaline soils with pH 8-8.5.
Evergreen ground covers don’t need much fertilizer. However, you can treat Juniperus conferta (Shore Juniper) with a complete fertilizer like 12-4-7 or 16-4-8 in early spring and late summer.
If you want to transfer the plant from a container to the garden, simply dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the plant’s root ball. Make sure the place has good-draining soil and full sun exposure.
Gently tilt the juniper to one side and remove the root ball from the pot. Now, place the shore juniper in the hole and add or remove soil accordingly. Spread the roots properly into the hole and refill the soil around them.
Space the plants at least 5-8′ apart to prevent overcrowding. Ensure good circulation and water the soil an inch-deep twice a week to encourage healthy roots.
Juniperus conferta can be propagated by using juniper cuttings. Take healthy branches and cut up 8-10″ long stems. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone and stick them into a well-prepared planter.
Lightly mist the potting mist till it’s moist. Place the planter under indirect sunlight at 60-65 degrees. Mist the cuttings daily and check for root development every 4 weeks.
The best time to prune the plants is late winter to early spring, just before new growth begins. Prune the dead branches beneath the canopy of the plant to improve air circulation.
Juniper conferta is generally a low-maintenance plant that can survive a wide range of conditions. However, despite their resilience, the plants are susceptible to a couple of pests and diseases.
The plant is quite susceptible to aphids, bagworms, twig-borers, and webworms. Simply use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or a strong horticultural oil to ward off the pests from the plant.
To fight fungal blights, application of a copper fungicide or chemical fungicide should handle most of the problem. Bacterial blights can be treated by copper fungicide as well but with a slightly-less-effective outcome.
In order to prevent rust diseases, apply sulfur powers or copper sprays to destroy the infection on the susceptible plants. For effective results, spray at the first sign of disease.
The main problem with junipers is root rot. They are not tolerant to water-logged soil, which can easily lead to the development of fungi that cause root rot. Make sure to have well-draining soil, and water when necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between Juniperus horizontalis and Juniperus conferta?
A: Juniperus horizontalis, also known as Blue Rug Juniper, is closely related to the Shore Juniper. The former is a low-growing, shrub native to North America that forms foliage resembling an evergreen mat. The color is greener and less blue.
Q: How do you space a Blue Rug Juniper?
A: Blue rug junipers should be spaced at least 6-8′ apart to accommodate their vigorous, mature growth.
Q: What kind of fruit does the Shore Juniper bear?
A: Once the plant is mature, it produces fruit that is purplish-black inside the seed cones.
With unique characteristics and a lovely, rich green color, the Blue Pacific juniper is a wonderful shrub for rock gardens, roadside, and seaside planting.
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