Juniperus horizontalis or creeping juniper is a small-sized, evergreen ground cover shrub native to North America. It has an arched, drooping posture, and forms ample patches, densely branched, up to some meters wide, with a height ranging from 15-20 cm, up to 35-50 cm.
The foliage of the creeping juniper It is of two types, generally in the shape of scales, near the stems; there are also some needle-like leaves, quite sharp; the species has blue-green foliage, covered with a pruinose patina, but there are dozens of cultivars, with folded, yellowish and light green foliage.
During the winter, if the temperatures are very rigid, it can happen that the foliage takes on a reddish or violet color. They are dioecious plants, that is, there are male junipers and female junipers; the female specimens produce small blackish berries, which contain some seeds; the male specimens produce yellowish pine cones.
These shrubs are widely used in gardens, but also in road beds, as they are easy to cultivate and also withstand extreme conditions. They are also used as potted plants, and their posture is also appreciated by bonsai enthusiasts.
Juniperus horizontalis plants prefer sunny positions, although they can tolerate the partial shade without problems. They do not fear the cold, even if very intense and prolonged, and can easily withstand the summer heat, the salty air of the coasts near the sea and also pollution. They can be placed without problems even in mountain environments, given their resistance to cold climates.
The plants of Juniperus horizontalis recently planted must be watered during the hot season, whenever the soil dries excessively, especially in the event of prolonged drought; the plants of creeping juniper by now stabilized, for some years now, they do not need watering, although it may be necessary to supply water during the hottest months of the year. At the end of the winter, place a good quantity of manure or slow release granular fertilizer for green plants at the foot of the bush.
Creeping juniper plants prefer loose and soft, very well drained soils. Junipers are very rustic shrubs, which can develop even in extreme conditions, in poor and stony soils; for this reason they are often used to consolidate the embankments along roadsides. When planting Juniperus horizontalis plants, it is advisable to prepare a peat, pumice and organic substance compound to create the best possible substrate.
The multiplication of creeping juniper plants occurs by seed, in spring, or by cutting, using the tips of newly developed branches, in late spring.
Creeping Juniper - Juniperus horizontalis: Parasites and Diseases
The plants of this variety are rather rustic and resistant, but are often affected by the cochineal and the aphids of the cedar, which quickly ruin the foliage; in the presence of this problem it is good to promptly intervene with the use of specific pesticide products that will effectively counteract the development, so as to preserve the health of the plant.