If you’ve been looking for a low-growing, evergreen landscape plant to add to your yard, Shore junipers (Juniperus conferta) is a spectacular option! Native to Asia, this fast-growing ground cover plant has many landscaping uses. Depending on the cultivar, they can grow from 6 to 24 inches tall and 3 to 8 feet wide. They also come in a variety of colors which allows you to create a cohesive landscape design using shore junipers.
Whether you plant them in the front yard to improve curb appeal or add them to your backyard garden for year-round color, these plants won’t disappoint! They’re extremely hardy, requiring very little care or maintenance once they’re established. Keep reading to learn all about this fabulous conifer and how you can incorporate it into your next landscaping project!
How To Care For Shore Junipers In Your Yard
Shore junipers, like many junipers, are hardy plants that are quite easy to care for after they’re established in the landscape. As long as you provide them with the right growing conditions, you shouldn’t have to do much to keep them looking great.
Juniperus conferta isn’t picky when it comes to soil type. They can be planted in a wide range of soil types provided they are well-drained. You’ll need to ensure they get about 1 inch of water per week during the first year after planting. After this, roots are established and you shouldn’t need to water them unless it doesn’t rain for more than 2 weeks. Shore junipers grow well in USDA hardiness zones 6A through 9B.
Shore junipers need full sun to grow their best. Six hours or more of direct sunlight is recommended. They will tolerate some shade but tend to have less vibrant foliage and won’t grow as thick. Make sure you fertilize them once a year with a slow-release fertilizer in early spring. Also, try to avoid excessive pruning which can make them lose their natural growth form.
You also won’t have to worry much about pests and diseases impacting your shore junipers. They don’t have any serious pest or disease issues as long as they’re planted in well-draining soil and get enough sunlight.
5 Amazing Shore Juniper Landscaping Uses
1. Use Shore Juniper as an Accent Plant
Several cultivars of Juniperus conferta have stunning foliage, making them ideal plants to use as accents in your front yard. You can add a pop of gold to flower beds with either ‘All Gold’ or ‘Golden Pacific’. The gorgeous foliage of ‘All Gold’ looks fabulous when placed beside plants with purple hues such as Japanese maples or Dianthus as shown above. The silvery blue-green foliage of ‘Silver Mist’ shore junipers pairs well with crepe myrtles and hydrangeas with white flowers.
2. Shore Junipers Work Wonderfully as Ground Covers
Ground cover plants are useful in landscaping to fill in empty spaces and reduce weed growth in flower beds. Shore junipers are low-growing, spreading plants which makes them useful ground cover plants. They form dense mats of foliage which provide enough shade to prevent weeds from growing. Shore junipers come in a variety of colors, so you can pick one that complements the other colors in your landscape design. You’ll also want to pay attention to the mature size of the shore juniper you choose. It’s best to pick a cultivar that will fit the space where you plant it to avoid the need for heavy pruning.
3. Beautify Rock Gardens With Shore Junipers
The creeping, trailing habit of shore junipers and their ability to grow in rocky soils makes them well-suited for use in rock gardens. Their branches will sprawl out, elegantly weaving between rocks and boulders. They will also cascade down over rock faces adding even more interest to your garden. These evergreen shrubs will help your rock garden look wonderful year-round.
4. Plant Shore Junipers on Hillsides to Prevent Soil Erosion
Shore junipers are often used by landscapers to help prevent erosion in yards with steep slopes. The dense, carpet-like foliage they create completely covers the ground as they grow. This creates a barrier between raindrops and the ground, reducing the force of impact which leads to soil erosion. The foliage and branches also slow down water as it moves down hillsides, helping to prevent erosion caused by water runoff. If you have a steep hill in your front or backyard, consider using shore junipers to reduce soil erosion.
5. Use Shore Junipers as Edging Plants
Juniperus conferta can also be used successfully as an edging plant along walkways in the front yard or around a patio in the backyard. They stay short enough that they won’t block plants placed behind them in flower beds. They also tolerate light pruning on the ends of their branches which allows you to trim them back along borders to create a nice clean edge.
Selecting The Right Shore Juniper For Your Landscaping Project
Below is a list of the most popular shore juniper varieties. Each has a brief description of its color, size, and any special characteristics. Use this list to choose the best shore juniper cultivar to meet your landscaping needs.
Juniperus conferta ‘All Gold’ is a variegated cultivar with striking yellow foliage. It grows less than 1 foot tall but spreads up to 8 feet wide. The golden foliage is brightest in spring but retains its yellow hue all year long.
Juniperus conferta ‘Blue Pacific’ has outstanding blue-green foliage. It grows up to 2 feet tall and up to 7 feet wide. Blue Pacific is particularly heat tolerant compared to other shore juniper varieties.
Emerald Sea shore junipers sport medium green foliage with a tinge of blue. This dwarf variety reaches a height of 1 to 2 feet but only spreads to about 3 feet wide. Since it stays more compact, you can plant Juniperus conferta ‘Emerald Sea’ in containers and place them around entryways or on patios.
Golden Pacific TM
Juniperus conferta ‘Golden Pacific’ is a variegated cultivar of ‘Blue Pacific’. It has bright yellow-golden foliage when grown in full sun. With less sun it can have more of a yellow-green coloration. Golden Pacific reaches a mature height of less than 1 foot and spreads up to 5 feet wide.
Silver Mist shore junipers have steel-blue foliage that stands out among other evergreen plants. It can tolerate shade a bit better than the other cultivars of shore juniper on our list. It will grow up to 18 inches tall and 4 feet wide. This cultivar is small enough to plant in containers, just like Emerald Sea.
Breen, P. (n.d.). Juniperus conferta. Landscape Plants, Oregon State University.
North Carolina Extension Gardener Tool Box. (n.d.). Juniperus conferta. North Carolina State University Extension.