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Juniperus conferta

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Juniperus coreana
  • Juniperus litoralis
  • Juniperus rigida var. conferta
Phonetic Spelling
ju-NIP-er-us kon-FER-ta
Description

The shore juniper is a dense, low-growing, spreading, decumbent, evergreen, conifer shrub. It grows 1 to 1.5 feet tall and spreads 6 to 8 feet wide. It is a versatile sprawling ground cover with erect branchlets. The leaves are blue-green, fragrant, and awl-shaped. They also have spiny-pointed or prickly pointed needles that are 5/8 inches long and are arranged in groups of three. There is a single stomatal band. The leaves tend to turn bronze-green to yellow-green during the winter. This evergreen is dioecious. The male cones appear yellowish-brown, and the female cone is small and round. The fruit is a berry-like seed cone that is initially dark blue or green and turns bluish-black with a silvery bloom as it matures.   

Shore juniper is native to the sea coasts of Japan and Sakhalin Island in Russia. It is rarely cultivated or sold in Japan. 

The genus name, Juniperus, is the Latin name for the juniper. The specific epithet, conferta, is Latin for crowded and references the foliage of this evergreen.

This evergreen prefers dry, sandy soil, and full sun. It is adaptable and poor soil tolerant and tolerant of hot and dry locations. It is intolerant to excess water and requires good drainage. The shore juniper grows especially well in slightly alkaline soils, but it is tolerant of acidic and neutral soils. This plant is seldom damaged by deer, is drought-tolerant, and is effective for erosion control.

This sprawling ground cover does very well in sandy locations. It may be used in rock gardens, foundation plantings, slopes, and mass plantings. It may also be used for cover over retaining walls.

Seasons of Interest:

Foliage: Year-round         

Quick ID Hints:

  • decumbent, dense, low-growing, creeping, evergreen groundcover
  • fragrant, awl-shaped blue-green foliage and spiny-pointed needles arranged in groups of three 
  • flowers are male yellowish-brown round cones, female cones are round and small 
  • fruit is a berry-like seed cone that is a dark blue to green and then turns bluish-black with a silvery bloom 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Shore juniper has no serious insect or disease problems. It is susceptible to blights, especially in rainy, wet conditions. Cedar-apple rust and root rot can also occur in poorly drained soils. Potential insects include aphids, bagworms, twig borers, webworms, scales, and spider mites. Shore juniper may also suffer from winter injury in colder climates when temperatures drop to -10 Fahrenheit. 

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy, and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

 

 

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'All Gold', 'Blue Lagoon', 'Blue Pacific', 'Emerald Sea', 'Golden PacificTM', 'Silver Mist', 'Variegata'
Tags:
#cultivars#evergreen#drought tolerant#shrub#conifer#lawn alternative#slopes#erosion control#creeping#spreading#needled evergreen#deer resistant#foundation planting#groundcover#rock garden#fragrant needles#alkaline soils tolerant#evergreen shrub#poor soils tolerant#wet soils intolerant#dense growth#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'All Gold', 'Blue Lagoon', 'Blue Pacific', 'Emerald Sea', 'Golden PacificTM', 'Silver Mist', 'Variegata'
Tags:
#cultivars#evergreen#drought tolerant#shrub#conifer#lawn alternative#slopes#erosion control#creeping#spreading#needled evergreen#deer resistant#foundation planting#groundcover#rock garden#fragrant needles#alkaline soils tolerant#evergreen shrub#poor soils tolerant#wet soils intolerant#dense growth#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Juniperus
    Species:
    conferta
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Japan and Sakhalin Island in Russia
    Distribution:
    Native: Japan and Sakhalin Island. Introduced: the United States--AL, CA
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts birds.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer, drought, salt
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Dense
    Prostrate
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a berry-like seed cone that is 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter. They are initially dark blue or green and turn bluish-black with a silvery bloom as it matures.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    This evergreen is dioecious. The male cones appear yellowish-brown, round, and 1/5 inch in diameter. The female cone is small and round.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are blue-green, fragrant, and awl-shaped. They also have spiny-pointed needles that are 5/8 inches long and are arranged in groups of three.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    The bark is reddish-brown and scaly.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are green and then turn reddish-brown.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Foundation Planting
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Erosion
    Heat
    Pollution
    Poor Soil