For all the things that are right about a juniper - the color, texture and diversity of the plant - there's one thing that's wrong.
"I think junipers are the most misunderstood plant grown in our area," said Mary Ann Woodworth, of Greenbrier Nursery.
And that misunderstanding stems from not knowing how to care for the plant.
Because there are many cultivars to this family, it's first important to know something about the family history.
"When most people think of junipers, they think of the ground cover, but there are weepers and uprights that can fill in tight spaces," said Mary Alice Woodrum, a Master Gardener who has successfully grown the plant in her North Augusta garden. "They go from one extreme to the other. There are varieties that have big, bold color and some are evergreens. There is even a tiny bonsai variety for those who like an Oriental look."
Before adding any of the varieties to a landscape, be sure to also know the plant's mature height.
"You've got to marry the right plant with the right place," Woodrum said.
"If it's used in the wrong place, it will outgrow its location, and that's a big problem," explained Horticulturist Jane Waldrop, of Martinez. "Choose a variety that will grow into that space."
This area naturally provides the ideal growing conditions for junipers.
"Junipers are a pretty tough plant," Woodrum said. "They can take the heat and still thrive."
Just don't forsake watering all together.
"If they get too dry, they'll get mites on them," Woodrum said.
The results of improperly pruning a juniper is another task that makes some gardeners want to pull their hair out, and likewise the foliage on the plant to fall out.
"Junipers can't be over-pruned," Woodworth said. "If they are, they'll get bald spots on them and generally don't grow back."
"Prune them correctly or not all," Waldrop said.
Junipers come in a wide range of colors and "they're good for any yard," Woodworth said.
"Junipers should really be carefully coordinated with other plants," Woodrum said. "It's really easy to pair it with other plants to make color flow throughout a landscape.
"One really good combination is a blue juniper with a loropetalum, Woodworth shared. "It's an absolutely beautiful combination and adds a nice variety to a garden."
As a shrub, "junipers grow very easily," Woodworth said. "They grow singularly or en masse and are very low maintenance."
"Don't be afraid of them," Waldrop advises. "Just know how to care for them."
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