Junipers in the garden - types and uses
Northern kings of gardens, hardy and frost-resistant, junipers are indispensable for modern landscape design. Junipers are very different. Tall and bushy, creeping and dwarf, they conquer, first of all, with the beauty and density of the needles texture. In addition, these are perhaps the most unpretentious plants of all conifers. About what junipers are (a detailed description of the species) and how they are used in garden design - this article.
- Description of garden junipers
- Juniper Classifications
- Types of Junipers for the Garden
- The use of junipers in garden design
- Selection of partners for junipers
Description of garden junipers
Representatives of the genus Junipers (Juniperus) are rightly considered one of the most beautiful conifers. Along with firs and pines, they are included in the "base three" of evergreens for the design of gardens. But, unlike other classic conifers, junipers boast much greater variability.
The presence of more than 70 species makes garden junipers one of the most diverse and versatile garden plants. But, despite the significant difference in characteristics, all junipers are easily recognized by their characteristics, which easily distinguish them in the company of any plants.
Junipers belong to the Cypress family (Cupressaceae). These are one of the oldest plants introduced into the culture. Junipers (Juniperus) received their generic name back in the heyday of ancient civilizations.
In nature, junipers are distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, found both in a mild tropical climate, in the subtropics and temperate latitudes, and in the polar zone.
Despite its impressive distribution, most species are found in narrow, isolated habitats. Junipers are plants of mountainous regions, rocks and elephants, but there are species that cover strikingly large areas. Junipers form light forests, the lower tier or undergrowth under deciduous and coniferous with a sparse crown.
Junipers are characterized by a powerful stem root system. The deep occurrence of the central root significantly complicates the transplantation and is considered the main cause of plant death during any manipulations.
The height of garden junipers ranges from 10-15 cm in dwarf and creeping forms to more than 10 m in large trees. Unisexual and bisexual, junipers offer a considerable choice according to the form of growth and the nature of branching. Among them there are both plants with thin, long shoots that form a graphic “feathery” pattern, and almost curly plants.
The kidneys are usually bare. Juniper leaves are collected in whorls of 3 pieces, less often paired, oppositely located, are both needle-shaped and scaly. Needles are invariably lanceolate-linear, with stomatal stripes, needles in young plants. Flakes are diamond-shaped or ovoid. Due to the fact that the awl-shaped young and scaly-shaped mature leaves are simultaneously located on the juniper shoots, the plant acquires a special density and volume of needles. The color represents all shades of green.
Juniper flowering is quite complex. Male spikelets bloom on the side branches or in the axils of the leaves, consist of pairwise arranged or 3 pieces collected in whorls of stamens and unusual anthers. Female spikelets are very variable, bloom on the axillary pedicels or the ends of twigs, and consist of squamous carpels.
Juniper flowering is inconspicuous, but the fruits noticeably adorn the plant. Juniper has special, non-opening, round or oval cones, which are called cone berries due to their tightly closed and rather fleshy, thick scales. In cones, few, up to 10, wingless seeds are hidden. Juniper fruits ripen for an astonishingly long time, usually only by the second year.
It is difficult to get confused in the variety of species, forms and varieties of garden junipers, especially if you focus on very obvious signs, practical questions and basic characteristics. But the simplicity characteristic of the plant selection process does not apply to their official scientific classifications.
Looking at junipers from the point of view of the structure of needles, such as leaves and fruiting, scientists have created a strikingly complex system of subclasses and sections of junipers, which gardeners are not always able to understand.
The official botanical classification of junipers
According to the official classification, junipers are divided into three subgenera, which include separate sections:
- Subgenus Caryocedrus - junipers with needle, up to 4 mm wide leaves. They are collected in triple whorls with a base falling on a branch. Cones with a diameter of up to 2.5 cm are distinguished by seeds fused into a stone-shaped form. This subgenus is represented by stoneberry juniper.
- Subgenus Oxycedrus - junipers with needle, up to 3 mm in diameter, collected 3 pieces in a whorl of leaves and small cone berries with ungrown seeds. Common juniper, the most common type of this plant, belongs to this subgenus. In turn, it is divided into separate sections according to berries and the nature of the stripes on the leaves (for example, the Ohus drodes section with medium green and two white stomatal stripes on the leaves and the Rigidoides section with a white central strip on the leaves).
- Subgenus Sabina - junipers with needle-shaped, triple whorled young and scaly old leaves, with a falling base, unexpressed winter buds. In turn, plants of this subgenus are divided into species with whole and fine-toothed leaves (the difference can be seen only under a microscope) and individual sections, depending on the color of the fruit. Typical representatives of this subgenus are Cossack and Chinese junipers.
Juniper Garden Classification
For horticultural crops, the above classification is not used and is considered absolutely not practical.
In the design of the garden and the selection of plants, it is much more convenient to use less formal, but more convenient classifications. One of them - in the form of growth and plant size - makes it easy to find juniper that ideally meets the task.
General classification of junipers by size and shape of growth:
- Dwarf forms.
- Creeping junipers - differ in height, color of needles, pattern of branches, density of cover.
- Bushy junipers of medium size - with a sprawling or compact bush shape.
- Trees and tall shrubs. For the convenience of selecting plants, they are also divided according to the shape of the crown on:
- pyramidal junipers;
- columnar junipers;
- ovoid junipers (cone-shaped with a rounded apex);
- sprawling junipers.
It is customary to separate the junipers and the color of the needles. Dark green, saturated color is considered “normal” or typical for junipers. But among green junipers there is a huge selection of shades that allows you to fully reveal the beauty of green - from the lightest to almost black tones.
For varieties and decorative forms of junipers, much more interesting colors are also typical - variations of golden colors and blue shades, which, due to the bluish-bluish color, are considered the most fashionable today.
Types of Junipers for the Garden
Out of more than seven dozen species of junipers, less than twenty species are used in garden culture. Most junipers are represented by hybrids, varieties and decorative forms. The following are the main, most popular types of junipers.
Juniper (Juniperus communis)
The most common type of juniper, both in nature and in garden culture, is grown in the form of a bush or tree. It works well both as a tapeworm, and in groups, used for hedges.
This is a slow-growing, but extremely durable species that tolerates formation well. The plant is quite variable in the shape of the crown - from pyramidal to ovoid or oval in shrubs, with a height capable of exceeding 5 m in height. Male plants are distinguished by a narrow and strict silhouette, female - more spreading.
Branches in common junipers are open or ascending, often hanging or bending at the ends. Coarse bark with a grayish coating is combined with sharp needles up to 1.5 cm long. Coniferous berries are round, large, inky with a bluish tint, they can ripen not in the second, but only in the third year.
Hard Juniper (Juniperus rigida)
A beautiful tree view from nature with an ideal columnar shape of the crown, characteristic of males (in females, the crown is openwork-loose). The yellowish thin and very prickly needles up to 2.5 cm in length are located in typical whorls. The plant looks amazingly elegant and conquers with thick lace needles.
Juniper virginianus (Juniperus virginiana)
One of the most powerful species, even in horticultural culture, capable of growing to more than 5 m in height. Considered the main candidate for replacing cypress trees in regions with harsh winters, it is indispensable for alleys, hedges, groups and single parties. The narrow egg or pyramidal crown of young plants only at a considerable age changes to a tiered-spreading one.
The trunk is powerful, with a dark peeling bark. The branches on the trunk are usually evenly spaced, even at the very bottom of the crown is thick. Small, resinous, scaly needles with a dark silver-blue color typical of almost all varieties perfectly emphasize the structure and shape of the branches. Dark blue berries are very beautiful, hold on a plant for a long time.
Juniper high (Juniperus excelsa)
Beautiful trees with a dense, widely pyramidal or ovoid, amazingly dense crown. The branches bend in beautiful arcs, are directed upwards, and branch quite densely. Scaly needles up to 1 cm long, thanks to a bluish bloom, give the plant a nobility. Cones are dark, blue-gray, very beautiful, fruiting is plentiful. This species is used both for alleys or groups, and as a soloist or for strict hedges.
Juniper horizontal (Juniperus horizontalis)
Also known as open juniper - one of the most popular creeping species. The maximum height is limited to 1 m. The long open shoots are densely divided into thin branches that create a graphic pattern, are pressed to the ground, captivating with a pattern of bluish-green foliage that turns brown for the winter. Horizontal juniper is characterized by two types of leaves.
The needles are prickly, dense, needle-shaped, saber-like curved. The scales are small and pressed to the shoots. Berries with a blue coating about 0.5 cm in diameter. This species is one of the most popular shrubs for decorating rockeries, but it also manifests itself perfectly both as a groundcover and in decorating slopes.
Juniper Cossack (Juniperus sabina)
One of the most common creeping species, despite its toxicity. This is a dioecious shrub up to 1.5 m high, forming amazingly dense thickets and massifs due to the active growth in width. Suitable for decorating rocky gardens, and for use as an edge or undergrowth, in arrays and groups.
Branches are rising, open, with a reddish bark. In this species, needle-shaped concave leaves with a white strip are combined with oval small scales. Balls cones up to 7 mm in length are brownish, with a bluish bloom. The plant is valued for its pungent odor. Juniperus davurica, previously considered separately considered as Juniperus davurica, has also been reclassified to this species.
Read more about juniper Cossack in the article: Juniper Cossack in the garden - features of cultivation and variety.
Juniper lying or declining (Juniperus procumbens)
A short creeping juniper that has established itself as a groundcover. With a height of just half a meter (with rare exceptions), one plant can grow up to two meters in girth.
Solid, as if stretching into the distance with tips, open shoots create a very beautiful carpet. The lanceolate needles in triple whorls are distinguished by two white spots at the base. The color is fresh, with a cold tint. Cones up to 1 cm thick with an almost perfect round shape. This type of juniper seems very dense and curly.
Chinese Juniper (Juniperus chinensis)
A very variable and unpretentious species, among whose representatives there are both monoecious and dioecious plants from large, up to 10 m tall trees, to open, creeping shrubs.
Trees differ in a columnar or pyramidal shape, bush plants in an interesting pattern and pattern of shoots. The grayish, with a red shimmer peeling bark is beautiful. The dominance of small oblong scaly leaves gives the curl and density characteristic of all Chinese junipers.
Needle-shaped leaves are preserved only on young and lower old shoots. Even the fruits of this plant can be of various shapes and sizes; blue or almost black small oval or round cone berries are more common. Chinese junipers are one of the best evergreens for topiary art, they are good both in groups and singly, thanks to the beautiful pattern of branches, are suitable for all types of hedges.
Juniper rocky (Juniperus scopulorum)
A view appreciated for strict contours and a "solid" crown, starting from the base. It is grown both as a shrub and as a tree, in a garden culture it is limited to 1-2-meter height. This juniper is characterized by spherical outlines. The branches are thin, which gives the crown a special texture. Scale-shaped leaves of a rhombic form, located opposite, dominate in the greenery. The needle-shaped leaves are quite long, more than 1 cm. Dark blue berries with a diameter of only about 0.5 cm are hardly noticeable.
Scaly Juniper (Juniperus squamata)
An even more volatile species than Chinese juniper. Evergreens, characterized by strikingly dense branching and elongated shoots, shrubs up to 1.5 m high are as common as open forms. Dark bark, sharp and tough lanceolate needles and black pine cones look unusual and spectacular. This juniper is characterized by pattern, clarity of the pattern of needles and shoots, emphasizing its special beauty.
Juniper medium (Juniperus x media)
A hybrid species that forms only male plants and is distinguished by its original structure and rapid growth. At a height of up to 1 m in width, it reaches twice the size. Shaped arcuate, hang on the ends. The crown, spread out in young plants, gradually changes, starting to rise. The needles are mostly scaly, sharp needles are found closer to the base of the branches and differ in the stomatal stripe on the inside with a bluish tint. Changing the light green color of young bushes to darker and more saturated is very effective.
The use of junipers in garden design
Endurance and frost resistance are two characteristics that are considered the main and most valuable among junipers. But winter hardiness differs in different species and even their varieties. This garden culture has other advantages that determine its wide distribution:
- good haircut tolerance;
- the possibility of growing on poor or rocky soils;
- drought tolerance;
- resistance to pests and diseases;
- fungicidal properties.
Unfortunately, with rare exceptions, junipers cannot boast of a growth rate.In addition to slow growth, only dislike for a smoky, polluted environment can be attributed to the disadvantages (the most stable species is Cossack juniper).
The density of the texture, the special beauty of the thick thick needles of junipers distinguish them even in the company of other conifers. Thanks to the dense greenery, junipers always look elegant, create a feeling of delightfully dense and complex coniferous lace. Textures are easily recognizable, but they are strikingly diverse. Junipers allow you to play with the ornamental effect, density and nature of the compositions.
Unusually colored varieties and decorative forms of junipers have always enjoyed special love of both amateurs and professional designers, but even the most boring juniper can become a luxurious decoration of the site.
Covering the soil with a strikingly beautiful carpet, creating amazing texture spots and longline effects, placing bright accents, they, in the possibilities of creating a unique image of ensembles, went far beyond the scope of ordinary evergreens.
Junipers play an indispensable role in garden design. They are introduced into flower beds, mix boarders and rabatki, used at ponds, placed in front gardens, used at paths and on a porch, near recreation areas or a terrace, placed as green guards. Junipers emphasize the beauty of flowering plant species and are considered the main instrument of the game with silhouette and mass.
Junipers are appropriate in landscape, and in strict compositions, all styles of landscape design and in any project. Indeed, for each goal from a huge assortment of junipers you can find a suitable candidate.
Undersized compact junipers in the garden
The most popular today are compact, stunted and creeping species, forms and varieties of junipers, which can be used in the design of even small gardens. They look great as accents or perform the task of creating the background and filling the soil, grow in a limited space and fit into the requirements of modern landscape design.
Creeping species and forms of junipers use:
- as a groundcover;
- to create coniferous arrays;
- to decorate rocky gardens and alpine slides;
- to strengthen and decorate slopes and slopes;
- to create evergreen spots and backgrounds;
- for texture accents.
Dwarf forms and varieties of junipers are used as accents not only in rock gardens and rockeries. Miniature junipers look great on flower beds, and in discounts, and in mixborders, and in ceremonial compositions.
The place of tall junipers in the garden
Tall junipers are almost crowded out by more compact counterparts. Indeed, huge areas that allow even large trees and bushes to be planted are becoming increasingly rare today. Such junipers are more often used in park and city gardening than in private gardens. But oblivion to larger junipers is not threatened.
More compact varieties of trees and bush species of junipers use:
- as single accents, structuring accents and eye-catching points;
- in small, medium and large groups with other shrubs and trees;
- to create skeletal landings around the perimeter of the site;
- like winter-green accents with an eye on the look of the garden in winter.
- for protective landings and hedges.
Without exception, junipers are rightfully considered fragrant plants. The resinous smell, which emits needles and twigs, not only creates a special background for relaxation, but also allows the plant to show its bactericidal and phytoncide properties, helps to clean the air and has a healing effect.
Selection of partners for junipers
Junipers, due to their very special character, regardless of size, are perfectly combined with all types of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs (if neighbors will be satisfied with soil characteristics and lighting at the planting site). The main thing is to observe the recommended distances and not to thicken the landing.
All junipers combine well with each other and can be mixed in one composition for playing with textures and textures. Bright needles of junipers are well adjacent to pines and the best decorative and deciduous shrubs. Juniper combinations with rhododendrons and roses, cotoneaster, barberry, hydrangea, spirea, euonymus, honeysuckle and cinquefoil are very popular. Heather and eric are perfectly combined with junipers, creating a number of contrasting spots and an interesting game of textures.
Among the herbaceous perennials, as partners for junipers, one should give preference to powerful, able to grow and fill the soil, forming dense clumps of plants.
Junipers emphasize the special musical grace of all ornamental cereals, grow well in the company of loosestrife, frankincense, daylilies, milkweed, and veronica. Garden geraniums, touching bulbous accents and classic ground coverings from periwinkle to tamper and hoof are perfectly complement their beauty.
Do junipers grow in your garden? Tell us in the comments which plants they are adjacent to.