Common Junipers

The common juniper (Juniperus communis) is a versatile evergreen that is used as a low-growing shrub or a columnar tree. Common junipers are a favorite among landscapers and homeowners for their ability to adapt well to poor soil conditions. Valued for it's ornamental qualities, the common juniper is best used as a hedge or windbreak, but also serves as a good ground cover on sandy or stony areas in need of landscaping.

Gold Cone

Known for it's golden foliage, the gold cone juniper is a member of the Cupressaceae family. The gold cone common juniper is found in USDA growing zones 5 through 7. The hardy gold cone tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, but thrives in medium, well-drained soil. Plant shrubs in areas of full sun and water when soil becomes dry. Gold cones take a columnar form and may reach heights between 3 to 5 feet. Although it is a non-flowering shrub, the gold cone produces a berry that is used to flavor gin. Gold cone junipers are a good choice for small spaces, and are easily incorporated into rock gardens.

Blue Stripe

The slow-growing blue stripe is a dwarf spreading form of the common juniper. Found in USDA zones 3 through 7, the blue stripe juniper is non-flowering and slow growing. Foliage is spiny, dark blue-green in color and is noted for it's blue stripes. Plant this member of the Cupressaceae family where it will have full sun exposure in well-drained soil. Water common juniper shrubs when soil appears dry in texture. Blue stripe juniper is slow growing and spreads about 1 1/2 to 5 feet. The mature blue stripe will only reach a height of 1 1/2 to 2 feet, and is best as a foundation plant or ground cover in areas that are difficult to landscape.

Compressa

The slender compressa common juniper often reaches heights of 2 to 6 feet, but is normally only 1 foot wide. Better known as the pencil point juniper for its tapered form, the compressa has silvery, blue-green foliage and produces a berry that is used to flavor gin. A member of the cupressaceae family, the compressa common juniper thrives in full sun and in moist but well-drained soil. The plants require moderate watering and are highly drought tolerant. The narrow cone-shape of the compressa makes it a good choice for small spaces and for use as a windbreak or screen hedge. Smaller versions of the compressa make a nice potted shrub for decks or patios.

Repanda

Found growing in USDA zones 6 through 9, the repanda common juniper thives in areas of full sun and in medium, well-drained soil. This creeping form of juniper takes on a flat, rounded shape and has silvery, blue-green striped, finely-textured foliage. Reaching heights of 12 to 16 inches, the repanda has a 5-foot spread. A member of the Cupressaceae family, the repanda is not as heat tolerant as other species of the family. Keep the repanda well watered as the soil should remain moist. Repanda junipers produce a berry that will ripen during the second or third year. Use the repanda as a hedge or as a ground cover in rocky areas.

Keywords: common juniper, blue stripe juniper, gold cone juniper, compressa juniper, effusa juniper

About this Author

Amy Deemer has been writing since 1992. Her articles on family life and pets have appeared in the family section of "The Herald Standard" newspaper. Deemer has an Associate of Arts degree in liberal studies from Westmoreland Community college.