JunipersTrees.com - How
to grow Junipers: cultivation.
The cultivation of Junipers
is no doubt a wide and detailed subject area, but to keep
it simple and provide an easy method that the inexperienced
gardener can readily use we provide the techniques we
have successfully used in England for growing junipers.
Note: The information on this
page is based on personal experience of growing junipers
in England, and no guarantees of success or otherwise can
be given if you follow this advice. Your experiences, climate
and garden situation may be different, and you are responsible
for your own successes or failures.
The cultivational requirements of junipers are minimal,
however there are certain conditions they must avoid if
they are to thrive. Probably the most important of these
is boggy or saturated soil. Junipers need well-drained
soil. If your soil is heavy deeply-dig in several buckets
of gravel or grit (or both) into the area where you are
going to plant a juniper. When planting incorporate organic
matter (such as leaf mould, old well-rotted manure or
garden compost) into the bottom of the hole and mix with
the soil taken from the hole.
Generally speaking, Junipers will grow in acid or alkaline
soil, but some plants that look good with them - and sometimes
grow with them in the wild - such as rhododendrons and
heathers, will not. Such plants require an acidic soil.
You can help to change the ph of your soil by using
products such as:
First thoroughly water the
juniper in its container, unless it is already very moist.
In the open ground prepare the surrounding soil as described
above, then dig a hole for the root ball which is generous.
Do not try to save labour by digging a hole that is
barely big enough, this will usually give unsatisfactory
results once the juniper starts to grow. Incorporate some
organic matter (and extra pea gravel if necessary) then
remove the container from the roots.
Loosen or 'tease out' some
of the longer roots around the bottom of the root ball
to facilitate better contact with the surrounding soil,
and hence better establishment of the plant. Place
the plant in the hole making sure that the soil level
as it was in the pot is at the same level as the surrounding
soil surface, or just below. If it is too deep take the
plant out and add soem more soil; if too high dig the
Fill in around the root ball
with the soil from the hole mixed with some organic matter.
Gently firm with your hands (or feet for big plants) to
remove air pockets - do not stamp the plant into the ground,
it needs to breathe, on the other hand the soil does need
to be reasonably firm. How hard you firm will depend upon
soil texture and moisture content - the wetter and heavier
the soil the less firming will be needed, however some
gentle firming will still be needed.
Keep watered during the first
(and in very dry areas, second) year.
Growing Junipers in Containers
When growing junipers in containers there are some
who use a soil-less compost, and in fact this is the norm
for growing and selling junipers in containers at garden
centres. However, soil-less composts soon lose their nutrients,
they dry out very quickly and blow over in the wind.
Using a soil-based compost
such as the John Innes No. 3 below is much better. However,
soil-based composts can become compacted in containers
after a time, inhibiting free drainage. The best solution
therefore is to mix together soil-based and soil-less
composts to reach a happy medium. The addition of extra
grit and/or sharp sand (not fine builders sand) to the
mix is helpful too.
Pay attention to drainage before
you place the first handfuls of compost into the container
by using broken crocks or stones over the drainage holes
to prevent them clogging with soil. I add some grit or
fine gravel to the bottom of the container as well.
After the first year of growing
in containers your junipers will need feeding. Top dress
in the spring with slow-release plant food like that below.
This can be mixed with compost containing soil for a more
substantial top dressing.
Resources and where to buy:
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Bonsai trees, including junipers, under $30 from Bonsai
Boy of New York.
are Juniper trees?
A scientific look at what juniper trees actually are.
Juniper and Conifer (including Cultivation chapters) Books
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Conifer Cold Hardiness
The Conifer Manual
in the Garden
How to avoid 'design mistakes' and how to use these striking
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however we have found some good ones.
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