Juniperus horizontalis 'Wiltonii'
Common Name: creeping juniper
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Cupressaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Air Pollution

Culture

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Adapts to a wide range of soils, but prefers a dryish, sandy soil. Tolerates hot, dry growing conditions, somewhat poor soils and many city air pollutants. Intolerant of wet soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Creeping juniper is a procumbent evergreen shrub that is native to Canada and the northern U. S. where it typically occurs in sandy and gravelly soils, sand dunes, rock outcroppings, slopes, prairies and stream banks. It forms a low ground cover that generally rises to 6-18” tall but spreads by long trailing branches with abundant short branchlets to form an often-dense, 4-10’ wide mat. Foliage is primarily scale-like (adult) with some awl-like (juvenile) needles appearing usually in opposite pairs. Foliage is typically green to blue-green during the growing season, but often acquires purple tones in winter. Fleshy seed cones (dark blue berries) generally mature in two years, but are often absent on cultivated plants. ‘Wiltonii’ is a female cultivar noted for its excellent, dense, prostrate form, typically growing to 4-6” tall and spreading to 6-8’ wide. It features silver blue foliage that acquires purple tones in winter. This cultivar is synonymous with J. horizontalis ‘Blue Rug’ and sometimes commonly called blue rug juniper.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Junipers are generally susceptible to blights (dieback of stem tips), particularly in unusually rainy/wet springs. Cedar-apple and related rust diseases spend part of their life cycle on junipers. Root rot may occur, particularly in wet, poorly drained soils. Occasional insect pests include aphids, bagworms, webworm, and scale. Watch for spider mites. Foliage on mature plants will sometimes die back in the center.

Garden Uses

A versatile, sprawling ground cover that tolerates hot, dry locations in full sun. Rock gardens. Foundations. Slopes. Mass plantings. Cascade over retaining walls.