Types of Juniper Shrubs

Junipers are among the most versatile of shrubs, due in part to the range of sizes available. Small enough for ground cover or large enough to create an effective screen for privacy, the different cultivars of these needled evergreens perform many landscaping tasks. The typical juniper tolerates an array of growing conditions, making them a solid option for landscapes from U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 through 9.

The evergreen nature of juniper shrubs makes them desirable to landscapers.

Junipers for Screens

Hetzii is an eastern red cedar cultivar. This juniper shrub grows to between 12 and 15 feet and spreads out to widths that equal its height. Plant this large juniper shrub far enough apart when creating privacy screens to give them room to develop, warns the Missouri Botanical Garden. Hetzii often goes by the name of Hetz juniper in nurseries. Taylor is a red cedar form that grows even taller, to 20 feet, but it is only 3 to 4 feet wide, with a columnar appearance. Taylor has attractive, silver bluish-green foliage. Emerald Sentinel is suitable for screens, growing to 20 feet high and 8 feet wide and featuring dark green foliage.

Junipers for Foundations

Use singleseed juniper cultivars such as Meyeri and Holger as foundation shrubs. Holger grows wider than tall, with heights between 1 and 3 feet. Holger's assets include new growth that is yellow, contrasting with the old green foliage until it, too, changes to green. Meyeri grows to 8 feet tall, with steel blue foliage. Be aware that, over time, Meyeri's foliage loses some of its attractiveness as the dead needles stay on the shrub. Soft green needles highlight the dwarf juniper cultivar Armstrongii. Like nearly all junipers, this type tolerates drought and fails to grow well in very damp sites.

Junipers for Hedges

Often used to make hedges, Grey Owl is a red cedar cultivar growing to 3 feet high. Sea Green is a Chinese juniper cultivar, growing to 6 feet but as wide as 8 feet. Its arching form, resembling a fountain, makes it appropriate for hedges. Sea Green's foliage actually gets darker in winter, notes the University of Connecticut Plant Database. Chinese junipers such as Mac's Golden, Fairview and Old Gold are potential hedge junipers. Mint Julep, with mint green foliage, is another option.

Junipers for Ground Cover

Creeping, Sargent, shore, Chinese, savin and singleseed juniper all come in cultivar form suitable for ground cover. Blue Carpet is a 12-inch high singleseed juniper shrub with blue-green needles. It grows so close to the ground that it seems to form a carpet, covering an area as wide as 5 feet. Effusa is a cold-hardy juniper for ground cover, surviving a USDA zone 2 winter. Creeping juniper cultivars less than 12 inches high, making them ground cover possibilities, include Grey Forest, Blue Chip, Glomerate and Emerald Spreader.

John Lindell

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.