Julie Marmolejo, Agro / Hort 100G Spring 2002
The Creeping Juniper (common name) belongs to the cypress family (Cupressaceae) and is probably the most common evergreen groundcover. Multiple cultivars are available therefore species of this evergreen would be available at retail outlets almost anywhere. The Creeping Juniper is a dense, low growing ground cover that forms large mats which usually grow under 6 inches in height and spread out to over 6 feet across. The foliage is green to bluish green turning purple in the winter and has elongated branches. This plant would be an excellent choice for homeowners that are looking for relatively inexpensive, easy to grow, drought tolerant and low maintenance landscaping. It has no flowering attributes however, its other features more than make up for this. As an evergreen the Juniperus horizontalis possesses aromatic wood, which is quite pleasant. Additionally, it is so hardy it tolerates hot and dry conditions as well as clay, sandy or compacted soils (and it requires no mowing)! It can be used in foundation planting, as a backdrop for flower gardens or as an aid for soil erosion either on flat or mound shaped areas. When used in the garden, always remember to keep the mature size of the plant in mind. As with most plants, it is open to disease, with the most common being Phomopsis blight, which causes the ends of branches to become brown. Not to worry though, as this can be remedied by spraying the young foliage with a fungicide during the spring and summer.