Junipers are among one of the toughest plants for the landscape.
It is impossible to generalize about the growth habit of junipers as the species vary from low-growing ground cover types to larger conical-pyramidal forms. Foliage color varies from lustrous dark green, to light green, blue, silver-blue, yellow and many shades in between.
There is no limit to the different uses of junipers in the landscape. They make excellent screens, hedges, windbreaks, ground covers, foundation plants and specimens. As property sizes shrink and houses are packed increasingly closer together, upright junipers become the ideal selection for screening neighbors and providing privacy.
There are a variety of upright juniper specimens:
Eastern Red Cedar
Prairie Pillar Juniper
Rocky Mountain Juniper
Blue Arrow Juniper
Two ball poodle form
Tolleson's Blue Weeping Juniper
There are litereally hundreds of Juniper varieties. How do you know which are worth growing and which might cause you some problems?
Botanically all junipers are Juniperus. Junipers are grown all around the world. More than a dozen species of juniper are native to the United States. One species, Juniperus virginiana is commonly called Eastern Redcedar even though it is not a cedar. The berries (which are actually a fleshy cone, not a berry) are used to flavor gin.
The foliage on junipers can be described as scale-like or prickly needles. They aren't the tradtional long, slender needles like you see on pines or spruce. Some varieties have both the scale-like and the prickly forms of needles and other varieties have just one form.
Junipers are grouped as spreaders and uprights. Spreaders all grow wider than they do tall. Some spreaders are almost global in form, growing evenly wide and tall. Uprights grow much taller than they are wide.
Most of the good landscape varieties of junipers are hardy in zones 3 and 4. One variety, Grey Owl, is hardy to Zone 2. There are other varieties hardy to Zone 2.
Junipers are easy to grow when you meet their few basic needs. Once established, they are relatively drought tolerant. As with all plants, they are only drought tolerant after they have been planted long enough to establish a good root system.
They all do well in full sun. A few varieties will tolerate light shade. Unlike many other evergreens, junipers do not need acid soil. They will tolerate a wide range of soil pH. A few varieties are even tolerant of salt. Junipers adapt well to almost any soil type from sand to clay, but they don't like to stay too wet.