If you’re thinking about revamping your front or backyard with some new landscaping, flaky juniper varieties are a splendid choice. There are several diverse varieties to choose from allowing you to easily choose one that meets your needs and preferences. There are low growing varieties that are perfect to use for ground cover and taller types which are excellent for creating backyard privacy screens. Some species have enchanting silvery-blue foliage while others change from bright green to a deep blue-green throughout the year. These fabulous evergreens are sure to add unparalleled beauty to the landscaping of your yard, bringing you joy all year long.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about how to landscape with flaky junipers. We will start with an overview of how to grow and care for flaky juniper shrubs. Then we’ll describe the most common varieties and explain how you can use them for landscaping in your front yard or around your patio.
Flaky Juniper Care and Growing Tips for Backyard Landscaping
Like most junipers, Flaky junipers are able to tolerate most soil conditions provided the soil is well-drained. Moist soil is not problematic but water-logged soils can lead to root rot issues. Singleseed junipers grow just fine in dry soils, sandy soils, and even poor-quality soils. If the soil is heavy clay, till in ample organic matter before planting to help with drainage. These junipers are adaptable to various soil pHs from slightly acidic to slightly basic.
Flaky junipers are moderately drought-tolerant and rarely need any supplemental watering after they are established. In fact, overwatering can actually lead to the development of twig blight or root rot. Provide supplemental water if drought conditions occur in the first year after planting.
Juniperus squamata needs full sun for optimal growth. They require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to grow their best. They do not grow well in partial shade and will remain stunted under such conditions.
Temperature & Humidity Considerations
Flaky junipers are not as tolerant of cold temperatures as some other juniper species. They shouldn’t be planted north of USDA hardiness zone 4. They are moderately accepting of heat and humidity. However, the extreme heat and humidity which can occur south of USDA hardiness zone 8 aren’t ideal for maintaining healthy flaky junipers.
Juniperus squamata is a light feeder which can obtain the nutrients it needs for optimal growth from the soil alone. Fertilizing your flaky junipers isn’t necessary to maintain their health. Fertilizers may make them grow quicker, but should not be applied until plants are well established. You can then use 10-10-10 slow-release fertilizers formulated for trees and shrubs in early spring when new growth emerges.
Flaky junipers typically do not need pruning to maintain their shape. This is one factor that contributes to their reputation as being low-maintenance landscape plants. However, older specimens can be pruned to remove dead needles which typically don’t fall off on their own.
Insect Pest Issues
Flaky junipers do not suffer from any serious insect damage. Most commonly, they can be inhabited by bagworms. They can also be fed on by aphids, twig borers, scales, and spider mites on occasion.
Juniperus squamata varieties aren’t susceptible to any serious disease issues, especially if they are planted correctly. If there is a particularly wet spring, they may develop twig blight. When planted in water-logged soils, they can suffer from root rot. They can also be infected with cedar-apple rust and other rust diseases.
6 Popular Flaky Juniper Types for Landscaping (and How to Use Them)
Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Carpet’ grows low to the ground, spreading its mesmerizing blue-gray foliage across the landscape. This low-growing variety can reach a height of about 1 foot and will spread to 4 feet wide. It’s drought tolerance and low-maintenance requirements make it a terrific landscaping plant.
Flaky juniper ‘Blue Carpet’ can be planted in groups to create a mass planting to provide ground cover. This can be useful in landscaping, especially on slopes where ‘Blue Carpet’ will help prevent soil erosion. You can also use it as a border plant along the edges of flowerbeds, walkways to the front porch, or around your backyard patio. Since it is drought tolerant, this variety can be used in xeriscaping and rock gardens too.
Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Carpet’ is the most common variety you’ll find at local nurseries. It forms dense mounds of stunning silvery blue-green needles that retain their color year-round. It can reach a height of 3 feet and spreads to 4 feet wide. Flaky juniper ‘Blue Carpet’ grows best in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8.
When using ‘Blue Carpet’ for landscaping, it makes an ideal ground cover plant. Space plants two feet apart and they will grow into a lovely, compact mat that can provide erosion control on slopes. It can also be used as a foundation plant to create a border around the sides of your home. You can also add a few ‘Blue Carpet’ junipers throughout your garden to add color which lasts through the winter months when deciduous plants lose their leaves. Its drought tolerance also makes it a great choice for rock gardens in the front yard or Zen gardens in the backyard.
Juniperus squamata ‘Holger’ has some of the most interesting foliage of all the flaky juniper varieties. New foliage emerges in spring with a yellow-green hue. It matures to a vibrant shade of blue-green in summer before finally changing to a blue-gray tone in winter. Flaky juniper ‘Holger’ shrubs grow 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. It can be planted in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8.
In the landscape, ‘Holger’ can be used for xeriscaping or in rock gardens thanks to its drought tolerance. It retains its flat top as it matures, making it a good choice to use in foundation flower beds in the front yard. When it reaches its ultimate height, it can provide some privacy in backyards or around patios. No matter how you use ‘Holger’ when landscaping, you’ll be thrilled with the year-round color interest it adds to your yard.
Juniperus squamata ‘Loderi’ has a columnar to pyramidal shape and grows 6 to 8 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. It sports brilliant blue-green foliage year round. This variety does not handle heat and humidity well, performing best in USDA hardiness zone 4 through 7.
Due to its size, the flaky juniper ‘Loderi’ has several landscaping uses. It can easily be used to create a privacy screen in backyards or around porches. It can also help you delineate different areas of your yard. It can be planted on either side of the entryway in the front yard, acting as a focal point. Since it is drought-tolerant, it can also be used for xeriscaping and in rock gardens.
Juniperus squamata ‘Meyeri’ is one of the most beautiful flaky juniper varieties when it is young. Its green foliage is a steel-blue hue, growing along branches that reach up and out, slightly drooping at the tips. However, as it matures beyond 10 to 20 years, it loses some of its appeal. Its foliage can fade and die but remains attached to the branches. It typically grows to around 8 feet tall and up to 7 feet wide, but can sometimes grow up to 15 feet tall.
Flaky juniper ‘Meyeri’ can be used in landscaping to create privacy, acting as a fence around your backyard. It can also be used to add height and color interest in flower beds. ‘Meyeri’ is drought-tolerant enough to be used in rock gardens as well.
Juniperus squamata ‘Prostrata’, also called Prostrate singleseed juniper, is the lowest growing flaky juniper available. It forms dense mats of green foliage, with each needle having a bluish band. It won’t grow more than 1 foot tall and can spread up to 5 feet wide. It should be planted in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8.
Flaky juniper ‘Prostrata’ creeps along the ground making it fantastic for landscaping on hills to help with erosion. This ground-hugging shrub can be used to create mass plantings of ground cover when planted 2 feet apart. It is also a suitable plant for a backyard rock garden or to provide winter color to your front yard flower beds.
Brand, M.H. (n.d.). Juniperus squamata. Plant Database, University of Connecticut College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources.
Breen, P. (n.d.). Juniperus squamata. Landscape Plants, Oregon State University.
Juniperus squamata ‘Meyeri’. (n.d.). Missouri Botanical Garden.
Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’. (n.d.). North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox, North Carolina State University.