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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Characteristics of Blue Rug Juniper

Juniperus Horizontalis, a native of North America and Canada, is the botanical name for Blue Rug or Blue Carpet Juniper, a ground hugging shrub used primarily as an evergreen ground cover. While the Juniperus family is a large one with many varying members, most of them very tall and upright growing, the Blue Rug Juniper arguably may be the most widely used in the landscape both for the home and around commercial buildings. Let us take a look at the many compelling characteristics of the Blue Rug Juniper.

The Blue Rug Juniper is often planted at commercial sites where this trait is a necessity, beauty mixed with function. They are normally planted on sloping areas or hills in staggered rows with decorative stones as the mulch. This sort of planting is extremely low maintenance and perfect for such a situation. This, of course, would also do well for the lazy gardener looking for a fuss free yard.
Unlike some Junipers who have bristly needles which leave your arms scratched up after planting them, those of the Blue Rug are rather soft. The branches themselves grow quite long and are somewhat flexible. The stems therefore can be pinned down to the ground using long U-hooks to force the branches of the bush to grow whichever way the gardener chooses. This is good since the Blue Rug has a tendency to grow all its stems in only one direction.

What makes the Blue Rug Juniper truly unusual by evergreen shrub standards, however, is that its branches root along the way if planted in a rich soil or within an organic mulch. Being able to root along its many stems allows the plant to survive even if the main part of it should die. The gardener need only snip away any dead parts and the rest of it is able to continue. This also enables the savvy gardener to propagate the Blue Rug for using in other parts of the landscape or giving away to friends. The Blue Rug Juniper looks equally great planted in Rock gardens and especially cascading over rock walls.
Blue Rug Juniper can grow up to 5 feet wide but stays low at barely over 4-6 inches off the ground. Rate of growth is moderate so if you are looking for a quick ground cover this might not be it. It takes about five years for a yearling to reach maturity. The most widely sold cultivar is "Wiltonii", a very blue variety with a tinge of gray and green to its foliage. There are, however, many others varieties available to the home gardener.

For the home garden the Blue Rug Juniper could be a lovely addition to a mixed evergreen or shrub border. As the Blue Rug likes a well drained soil the dry, poor soil of a Rockery wouldn't bother it at all and it would look very pretty among miniature evergreens and other Rock garden favorites. It takes drought like a champ. Full sun to part shade is its preferred situation and it is hardy in USDA Zones 3-9.

Come the colder weather the foliage tends to turn a bronzy or purple color and bright blue berries appear on the plant giving it just a bit more charm. Like other evergreens the Blue Rug continues to grow through the winter though perhaps at a slower rate. It's not usually bothered by nibbling animals nor disease.

Now that you know all that makes the Blue Rug Juniper so popular maybe you'll like it for your own landscape. No doubt it will become one of your favorite no-fuss plants.

1 comment:

  1. Question: just planted about 90 blue rugs and the plants are turning yellow at the stem. Landscaper states too much water, then not enough. This is in sandy loam soild with ph of 6.5 and drip irrigation. Please help!!


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