Common juniper: photo and description

Juniper berries can be used to flavor drinks, season dishes, heal diseases or poison. Of course, they are slightly toxic, and it all depends on the dose, but in cooking and medicine, fruits of the same type are used. Common Juniper supplies this raw material. For example, only its berries owe the exclusive aroma and taste of gin.

Characteristics of the common juniper

Common Juniper (Juniperus communis) is a coniferous tree or shrub belonging to the genus Juniper from the Cypress family. Unlike most species, the area of ​​culture is very extensive. The common juniper grows in the cold and temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, the tropics of Asia and even in northern Africa. In Russia, it is distributed over the forest-steppe and forests of the European part, throughout Western Siberia, and up to the basin of the Eastern Lena.

The common juniper lives in different regions, where the climate, soil and ecological conditions are very different. Because of this, it is distinguished by great plasticity and variability of forms. Some hobbyists even believe that there are different types of common juniper.

Of course it is not. But it is precisely during the systematization of this ephedra that the ranks of taxa are used, which are lower in the biological hierarchy than the species: subspecies, varieties. Among them are the usual columnar forms, differing in the configuration of the crown, such as:

  • Juniperus communis subsp. Communis;
  • Juniperus communis subsp. Alpina.

The dwarf subspecies created by nature include Juniperus communis subsp. Hemisphaerica, which does not exceed one and a half meters at the age of about 30 years.

There is even a creeping form of Juniperus communis var. Montana, found in alpine regions and marshes.

So people who talk about the types of common juniper are wrong from a biological point of view. But they can be understood. It is difficult for an amateur to imagine that such different plants are not just close relatives, but belong to the same species.

What does an ordinary juniper look like?

Common juniper can be a shrub ranging in size from 1 to 3 m or a tree, more often with several trunks, 8-12 m high.Representatives of this species can be monoecious and dioecious plants:

  1. Females are usually shorter than males and rather spreading, sometimes with slightly drooping shoot ends. Their average height and crown diameter reaches 3-5 m.
  2. Male plants are much more decorative than female ones. They are higher - from 5 to 8 m on average, with a narrow crown, the diameter of which does not exceed 1.5 m.

But to write about the height of the Common Juniper as a species plant is a thankless task. There will always be a variety whose parameters do not fit the description. For example, the dwarf form of the common juniper growing in the swamps and in the alpine valleys, the crown width of which is much greater than the height. Or dwarfs, 30 years old, barely reaching one and a half meters. All of these forms are not very consistent with generalized parameters.

The bark on woody plants belonging to the species is reddish gray. In the trunk and skeletal branches of an adult specimen, it is dark gray or brown-gray, flaky. Shoots are usually directed upwards, and in females they are more distant from the central conductor, while males are distinguished by a slender and compact crown.

The species is considered slow-growing. The annual growth is about 5 cm in width, and the height increases by about 15 cm.

A characteristic feature of the shrubs and trees of the common juniper is that its needles are sharp and prickly on branches of any order, both at a young age and in old specimens. Needles 10-15 mm long, 1 to 2 mm wide, assembled in whorls of 3 pieces, straight, most often gray-green. This effect is created by a white groove and green edges located in the center of the needles. The needles stay on the branches for up to four years.

Common flowering occurs in April-May. In Siberia and other cold regions, it is still cold at this time, and the release of pollen is shifted by a month. Ripening of fleshy cones up to 8 mm in size takes 2-3 years. Their shape can be round or cylindrical, the color is bluish-black, often with a whitish waxy coating. Ripe berries contain 1 to 3 seeds.

The fruits are not only decorative, but also of economic importance. Species plants give the first cones at 5-9 years. A full harvest is obtained from the age of 10, once every 3-5 years, when more than 50 kg of fruits can be harvested from 1 hectare.

The wood is fragrant and durable. But since the diameter of the trunk does not exceed 20 cm, it is used mainly for the manufacture of handicrafts and small-sized consumer goods - beads, combs, souvenirs, etc.

Where does common juniper grow

Common juniper trees and shrubs are not very demanding on soil. They prefer light soil with a neutral and slightly alkaline reaction, they grow on sandstones and stones. Only saline lands are poorly tolerated by the culture.

Although the common juniper is resistant to a lack of moisture in the soil, it does not like dry air. If you arrange good drainage, ephedra can be planted on waterlogged soils. Prefers a sunny position, but will grow in partial shade.

The disadvantages include low resistance to anthropogenic pollution. This prevents the widespread use of culture in the greening of megacities and industrial cities.

How many years does common juniper live

According to Jan Van der Neer, the common juniper is a long-lasting breed and can live up to 2 thousand years. But this applies to species of plants found in their natural environment. In a city, culture will not survive that long, especially since it does not tolerate air pollution well.

The varieties grown from cuttings are short-lived. They usually live for 50-60 years. The same goes for the grafted forms.

Winter hardiness of common juniper

Taking into account the wide spread of culture across the globe, it is impossible to give an unequivocal answer to this question. Subspecies native to North Africa will not winter in Siberia without adaptation and shelter. Like the natives of the North, hot regions suffer from high temperatures.

In general, the common juniper has a high frost resistance, and does not freeze in the Middle Lane. By and large, it all depends on two factors:

  • in fact, from the frost resistance of the variety;
  • places where a tree or shrub is grown.

That is why it is recommended to buy seedlings of any plants in local nurseries. Most varieties overwinter in zone 3 without shelter and problems, but there are more thermophilic or cold-resistant varieties.

Common juniper varieties

Descriptions with photos of common juniper varieties make it possible to fully understand how diverse the culture is. It would be used much more broadly, but it does not tolerate polluted air.

Juniper ordinary Meyer

The Meyer variety (Meuer) is one of the most popular, often used in landscape design. It was created around 1945 by the German breeder Erich Mayer, after whom it was named.

Forms a multi-stemmed, very dense bush with a beautiful top-shaped crown of a regular, symmetrical shape. An adult plant reaches 3-4 m with a diameter of 1.5 m. Annual growth is 10-12 cm. Spiny needle-like needles are silvery-green in color, young ones are a tone lighter than mature ones. By winter it becomes bluish-green.

Long skeletal branches are strongly branched. They are thick, tough, evenly spaced in relation to the center of the bush, directed upwards at an acute angle. The ends of the branches sometimes droop.

Frost resistance is very high - grows without shelter in zone 2. Prefers sunny position.

When describing the common Meyer juniper, it should be noted that it is a resistant variety. That is, it can be safely propagated independently by cuttings - most young plants will not deviate from the maternal form.

Juniper ordinary Suecika

This variety is a cultivated species tree that grows naturally in Scandinavia. Common juniper Suecica forms a dense, multi-stemmed shrub with a wide columnar crown up to 10 m high. It is usually planted in parks and botanical gardens. In culture, the varieties bred on the basis of Sueziki are better known. Often, manufacturers and amateurs do not bother with their differences, and are simply called Suecica. And then they are surprised that the seedlings taken from different nurseries turn into plants that are unlike each other. To understand the varieties obtained from the common Suecik juniper, their description will be useful.

IN 2

It has a very compact, narrow crown. At a height of 2.5-3 m, the width does not exceed 30 cm, it grows slowly. The branches are directed almost vertically, rigid, covered with blue-green needles, tightly pressed against each other. A variety of Swedish selection.


This common juniper is obtained from the Suecik form in the Oldenburg nursery. Transferred for sale by G. Bruns in 1970.

The variety is very similar to the original form, but it has a looser crown, and, most importantly, the highest resistance to rust. So it can be safely planted next to fruit trees.

Suecica Aurea

The form was found in Schneverdingen (Lower Saxony) by G. Horstmann. It is a compact shrub with a narrow crown. At the age of 10, it reaches up to 1-1.5 m with a width of 30 cm. Young needles are yellow, by the middle of the season they become golden-green.

Suetsika Nana

This dwarf variety has been cultivated since 1929. The crown is narrow, in the form of a column. Height - no more than 1.5 m with a width of 30 cm, needles are bluish-green.

The original Suetsika variety and its forms are undemanding to soils, grow better in the sun, but tolerate partial shade well. Only in Suesica Aurea, with a lack of light, the needles lose their golden color.

Juniper ordinary Wallis

Created by the Dutch nursery Bressingham Nursery in 1981. The Wallis common juniper variety is bred from the female and propagated by cuttings. It is a bush up to 2 m high, with a crown width of about 1.5 m. It grows slowly, annually adding 10-15 cm vertically, the diameter increases by 5 cm.

Strong shoots are directed upwards at an acute angle, forming a crown resembling a bowl. The tips of the branches hang down. Young needles are one tone lighter than mature, green, prickly, small.

Frost resistance - zone 3 without shelter.

Common juniper Sentinel

Another common juniper with a very narrow vertical crown. The name of the variety is translated into Russian as a guard, a sentry. An adult plant reaches 3-4 m in height, with a diameter of 30-50 cm. The branches are very dense, tightly pressed against each other and directed vertically upward.

The needles are prickly, young - bright green, by the end of the season it becomes dark green with a bluish tint. Prefers sunny locations. Hibernates in zone 2.

This juniper lends itself well to pruning and can be used to create topiary forms.

Juniper ordinary Green Carpet

The name of the variety is translated as Green Carpet. This juniper is distinguished from the creeping form and grows almost horizontally. An adult plant reaches a height of 20-30 cm with a crown diameter of 2 m.

The needles are sharp, but soft, the young growth is bright green, darkens by the end of the season.

Juniper ordinary Gold Kon

The Gold Kon or Golden Cone variety was bred by German breeders in 1980. Differs in yellow needles. Forms a crown in the form of a cone rounded at the top. The height of an adult plant is 2-3 meters, the diameter is up to 0.5 m. The annual growth is 10-15 cm. It is frost-resistant. Loses its golden color in the shade.

Common juniper in landscape design

The only thing that limits the use of common juniper in landscape design is its poor resistance to anthropogenic pollution. If conditions permit, the culture will look great on the site, and does not require special care.

The open horizontal forms of common juniper look good in low flower beds or along the edge of tall beds. The culture is planted in rockeries, rock gardens, against the background of large and small landscape groups.

Cultivars created from the female forms of the common juniper usually have a wide pyramidal crown, with a depression in the center and drooping tips of the shoots. From this, the bush becomes like a flowerpot. This feature is often played up by landscape designers, placing junipers in romantic gardens.

But the most popular are the numerous varieties with a narrow-columnar crown. They are planted in the form of an alley, as a vertical accent in landscape groups and flower beds. Such junipers are not used as a tapeworm. In a single planting, they are good only in the cemetery.

The plant lends itself well to pruning; topiary can be created from columnar varieties. Common juniper is often grown as a container crop, but only outdoors - it will not live long indoors.

Planting and caring for common juniper

If the culture is planted outside the city, problems with it rarely arise. The polluted air greatly complicates the care of ordinary juniper. The owners seem to be doing everything right, following the recommendations, and the plant is withering away.

Important! It is quite possible that not mistakes in care, but highly polluted air will lead to diseases or even death of the common juniper.

Seedling and planting plot preparation

The landing pit is prepared in advance. It is dug with a depth of at least 70 cm in order to place drainage, the diameter should exceed the size of the earthen coma by 1.5-2 times. It is not necessary to completely change the soil, the common juniper is undemanding in this regard and can not stand only saline soils. If necessary, the earth is made looser with the help of sod land, peat and sand are added.

Drainage is laid in the planting pit, filled with 70% substrate, and filled with water. Allow to settle for at least 2 weeks.

Common juniper seedlings are best taken from local nurseries. Moreover, it is advisable not to buy the dug at all, even with an earthen lump trimmed with burlap. The fact is that the species does not tolerate transplantation, especially in adulthood.

Important! Better to spend the extra money on container-grown juniper than to discard the plant that has not taken root.

Adult conifers of this species dug up in nature almost never take root. So if you take an ordinary juniper from the forest, then only small specimens.

How to plant common juniper

Common juniper grown in a container is planted throughout the season. Plants dug out with an earthen clod are placed on the site in spring or autumn. Preference should be given to planting at the beginning of the season in regions with a temperate and cold climate, in the south - when the heat subsides, in October-November.

The algorithm for planting an ordinary juniper is as follows:

  1. Part of the substrate is removed from the planting pit.
  2. The plant is placed in the center, the root collar should be flush with the ground. That is, you need to plant a juniper so that the surface of the earthen coma taken out of the container is covered with only a thin layer of soil - no more than 0.5 cm.
  3. If the variety is narrow-columnar, more than 50 cm in height, it is better to tie it to a peg previously driven into the bottom of the pit.
  4. The soil is poured gradually, constantly compaction.
  5. The juniper is watered abundantly, spending at least a bucket of water on a small plant. For an adult, you need 10 liters for each meter of growth.
  6. The soil is mulched, better than the processed coniferous bark purchased in the garden center.

Watering and feeding

Immediately after planting an ordinary juniper, water it often and abundantly, not allowing the soil to dry out. Then humidification is carried out several times a season. An exception is hot dry summers. Then watering is carried out every 2 weeks.

Unlike other species, the common juniper can tolerate drought (within reason), and a slight soil locking. But still, it is better to do watering as needed.

Sprinkling the crown is very beneficial for the culture. It is made in a warm time at sunset, but so that the needles have time to dry before nightfall.

It is better to give top dressing to ordinary juniper twice during the growing season:

  • spring with a high nitrogen content;
  • in the fall - potassium-phosphorus.

Often, gardeners are limited to adding a complete mineral complex at the beginning of the season. This is quite acceptable, but autumn feeding allows the culture to better cope with air pollution and successfully overwinter.

Useful for junipers and foliar fertilizers that are applied through the needles. It is recommended to add an ampoule of epin or zircon to the balloon - these substances also allow the culture to withstand stress factors.

Mulching and loosening

It is necessary to loosen the soil under an ordinary juniper only until the culture is completely rooted - the first year or two after planting. In the future, the trunk circle is mulched - this retains moisture, creates a favorable microclimate, and in varieties with a narrow pyramidal crown, sweat protects the root from overheating.

Trimming and shaping

Sanitary pruning of common juniper consists of removing dry and diseased branches. The crown usually does not need to form it. If desired, it is easy to create a topiary from pyramidal varieties. For the initial pruning, you should invite a specialist, the owners will be able to keep their shape on their own.

Preparing for winter

Freshly planted plants need to be sheltered from frost; in the north, it is better to do this for two seasons. In the future, they are limited to mulching the trunk circle. Varieties with a pyramidal crown are tied with twine, otherwise the snow will break the branches.

Reproduction of common juniper

The specific juniper is propagated by seeds after prolonged stratification. Varieties with this method rarely inherit decorative characteristics. They are bred by cuttings, and creeping forms - by layering.

Juniper shoots can be taken all season, but spring shoots take root better among amateurs. On the cuttings taken with a "heel", the lower needles are removed, treated with a stimulant, planted in peat, sand or perlite. Keep in a cool place, protected from the sun, with high humidity.

After about 40 days, rooting is complete, the cuttings are planted in a separate container with a more nutritious substrate. The juniper is moved to a permanent place after 2 years.

Pests and diseases of common juniper

Common juniper is a generally healthy crop. If preventive treatments are carried out regularly, work with clean tools, do not bring infected plants to the site, problems rarely arise. Diseases are fought with fungicides, pests are destroyed with insecticides.

The most common problems that arise are:

  1. Too dry air and lack of sprinkling of the crown contribute to the appearance and reproduction of spider mites.
  2. Moisturizing the crown late in the evening, when the crown does not have time to dry out by night, stimulates the appearance of mealybugs in regions with a warm climate. It is difficult to get rid of it on spiny junipers, so it's best to do everything according to the rules.
  3. In winter, if the crown is not tied, and the snow lies on the branches for several months, a snow shute may develop.
  4. Waterlogging, poor drainage or lack of it, excessively dense soil can cause rot.

To make life easier for yourself, to identify the problem in time and immediately begin treatment, an ordinary juniper should be regularly examined.


Common juniper is an excellent crop for parks and private plots. The only thing that holds back its spread is its low resistance to air pollution.

Watch the video: A shrub of Juniper on a dune (January 2022).

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