Junipers are an evergreen tree with many species and forms. From a low ground cover to a tall tree, junipers are drought-tolerant, woody plants that can thrive in many locations. Junipers do best in full sun. They are not very particular about soil types, as long as they drain well.
Junipers grow as trees that can, depending on the variety, reach 50 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Mid-sized varieties can reach 20 to 30 feet tall with a spread of 6 to 10 feet. Ornamental trees grow well either individually or as a grove of smaller trees. In some cases, rows of columnar trees can make a good windbreak or a well-defined border. Juniper trees can be suitable as topiary, with triangular columnar forms being the most common way of shaping small, mid-size or large junipers.
Because they grow so densely, short junipers--some as small as 6 inches--make good, low-maintenance ground cover. Small junipers also are nice as ornamental shrubs or bushes. A series of junipers planted in a row can be pruned to a manicured hedge. Junipers often grow very quickly, with some species being capable of 12 to 18 inches of growth per year. As a hedge, junipers may need to be trimmed two or three times per year to maintain a manicured look.
Juniper berries are the flavoring agent in gin and are often associated with wild game cooking. Crushed dried berries are used as a spice. Juniper berries lose their flavor quickly so should be consumed soon after purchase or picking. Juniper berries contain a diuretic that makes them not good for people with breast cancer, kidney disease, women who are pregnant and children under the age of 12.