Shore Juniper (Conferta)

The greatest bloom is usually observed in the late spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until fall. Leaves are retained year to year. The Shore Juniper (Conferta) has a moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a moderate growth rate. At maturity, the typical Shore Juniper (Conferta) will reach up to 2 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 2 feet.

The Shore Juniper (Conferta) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by bare root, container, cuttings. It has a none ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have low vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -13°F. has medium tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Shore juniper is an ornamental, low growing shrub from Japan that has good salt tolerance. It is especially adapted for use on back dune seashore landscapes. When planted on banks and terraces, the dense vegetative mats provide good soil erosion protection.

General Characteristics

Shore juniper consists of upright layered stems, growing to one foot tall, that emerge from low growing runner-like stems. Where these stems contact soil adventitious roots will form. Vegetative mats typically form due to this layering process. The evergreen needles have a greenish-blue color, with a waxy coating. The current year’s growth will be terminally located, succulent, and a lighter tone of green. The needles are 1/2 to 1 inch in length and soft. Good color is maintained through winter.

Aromatic, round, blue-green fruit are produced annually. These fruits are produced on second year growth, and are about 1/2 inch in diameter. Shore juniper shows no signs of weediness from natural establishment.

Required Growing Conditions

Shore juniper will grow well under a wide range of site conditions, from loams to very sandy soils. It performs best under full sunlight, allowing it to perform well under seashore conditions. Sand dune and critical area plantings benefit from partial wind protection and the addition of some top soil in the planting hole.

Shore juniper is sometimes girdled by mice where snow covers are of long duration. Thus it may best be used on coastal areas from New Jersey south even though hardy to the north.

Cultivation and Care

Due to the poor production of desirable seed, shore juniper is propagated vegetatively. Cuttings of this juniper are harvested during the dormant season. The use of a rooting hormone increases the success establishing cuttings of shore juniper. Prior to field planting, rooted cuttings should be transplanted into containers. When plants have developed adequate root systems, they can be out planted. As with most rooted cuttings special care must be taken not to damage the root system when transplanting. To aid establishment of shore juniper on sandy sites, a gallon of peat moss should be added to each planting hole. A small amount (100 to 300 lbs./ac./yr.) of a balanced fertilizer, applied within the plants dripline, will also help this species get established. Mulching with bark or wood chips will help conserve moisture and suppress weed invasion. Do not use mulches that may attract rodents.On field sites plant 18 to 24 inches apart. If fertility and weed control are adequate full ground cover can be expected within two years. To establish nursery cutting blocks, in-row spacings can range from 2 to 4 feet, with 4 to 8 feet row spacing desired.

General Upkeep and Control

This section is under development.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) There are numerous cultivated varieties available from commercial nurseries, most of which have been developed for ornamental use. There is only one variety commercially available which is recommended for use on coastal sand dunes in the northeast; this cultivar is ‘Emerald Sea’ (Japan). The breeder’s block of ‘Emerald Sea’ shore juniper is maintained at the Cape May Plant Materials Center in Cape May Court House, NJ. To acquire this plant check with local retail nurseries, or your state’s Plant Material Specialist.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Moderate
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Lifespan Moderate
Plant Nativity Cultivated, or not in the U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Late Spring
Displays Fall Colors No
Shape/Growth Form Thicket Forming
Drought Tolerance Medium
Shade Tolerance Intolerant
Height When Mature 2
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color White
Flower Conspicuousness No
Fruit/Seed Abundance Medium
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Fall
Seed Spread Rate None
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Cuttings
Moisture Requirements Medium
Cold Stratification Required Yes
Minimum Temperature -13
Soil Depth for Roots 14
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 5–7.8 pH
Precipitation Range 30–30 inches/yr
Planting Density 1200–4800 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 14
Minimum Frost-Free Days 130 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance High
CaCO3 Tolerance Medium
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention Yes
Palatability Low
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating None

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA