Old Gold JuniperJuniperus × pfitzeriana 'Old Gold'
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Juniperus × pfitzeriana 'Old Gold'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Old Gold Juniper is a tough and reliable spreading evergreen, growing 2 or 3 feet tall and about 5 feet wide within 10 years. Older plants can be significantly wider, and a foot or two taller. The spring shoots are bright yellow, turning bronzy gold in summer, and holding that color well through winter. Always bright and attractive, this tough plant will grow almost anywhere, under harsh conditions, and it is perfect for covering slopes and rocky ground, planting beside paths and driveways, and for filling spaces in beds.
Full sun will keep your Old Gold Juniper bright and healthy. It grows in any well-drained soil, including sandy and rocky soils, shallow soil, and in urban conditions. Avoid wet soil and shady areas. Pests and diseases are never seen, and deer ignore this tough plant. No pruning is needed or desirable, but if needed its spread can be controlled by trimming younger stems in summer.
When it comes to creating the backbone and structure of your garden, evergreens have an essential part to play. While flowering shrubs come and go with their interest, evergreens bring stability and form. Junipers in particular give us lots of colorful foliage and these fast-growing plants are tough and durable. The larger spaces in beds can be hard to fill if you don’t want a lot of height, but the Old Gold Juniper does that trick very well. Spreading at least 5 feet across but typically just 2 to 3 feet tall, it can be planted below windows, in front of taller plants, or on slopes, creating elegant layers of foliage that always looks great. Its rich coloring, that really is the deep yellow of old gold, combines with graceful foliage arching over at the tips, on a tough plant that thrives in hot and dry places, and in poor soils too.
The Old Gold Juniper is a broad, spreading evergreen shrub that grows at least 6 inches a year, so that after just 10 years it will be at least 5 feet across, rising in layers to just 2 or 3 feet tall. It has a graceful form, with many broad, spreading branches arching outwards and then curving downwards at the tips. The branching is spread out, like the fingers of a hand, and each small stem is covered in flat, scale-like leaves. The bright yellow new growth in spring is slender and arches over. As the leaves mature over summer they darken to a bronzy gold, which holds well during the winter months. The foliage on older branches is more greenish-gold. These color changes create a rich, textured effect that is always interesting and colorful, and that blends well with all the other plants around it.
Like all conifer evergreens this tree continues to grow during its entire life. Depending on growing conditions it will continue to grow to a larger size in time, so always allow plenty of room for its final development, or trim carefully – see maintenance tips below – to keep it within the area you have for it.
This evergreen is perfect for blending with taller, rounded forms around your home. Use it at corners, where it can arch out freely, or plant it in front of more upright bushes. Use it below windows, where it will not grow tall and block them. Plant one or a pair at the top of a flight of stairs, or on either side of a doorway. Mass plant it on slopes or among boulders in rocky areas. Use it alongside a path or driveway, where it will grow over the hard edge, softening its geometry and making an attractive border. Do not plant in small spaces without enough room for its future development.
The Old Gold Juniper is entirely hardy in zone 4, and it grows perfectly in all warmer zones, all the way into zone 9.
Plant in full sun for the best color and growth. It thrives in any well-drained soil, including sands and gravels, and rocky soils. It will grow in shallow soil over rock, and in many places unfavorable for most other plants. Urban conditions are tolerated well, and even areas with construction debris are acceptable. Avoid any wet or low-lying areas – too much water is the only enemy of the Old Gold Juniper. Once established it tolerates drought well, so you can freely use it in hot and dry locations.
When your plant is young, water it regularly, but after one or two growing seasons it needs no particular care at all. Fertilizer blended for evergreens will encourage strong growth when it is young. It normally has no pests, and no diseases, unless it is planted in a wet location. Deer leave it alone, and it is unaffected by air pollution and traffic fumes.
Pruning is not normally needed, and the best plants are those that have not been trimmed, as it is easy to destroy the attractive arching foliage effect by trimming. If you do need to reduce its spread, trim in summer after the first new growth has developed. Select an upward facing shoot along a stem and cut back to just in front of that shoot – it will hide the cut end and preserve the natural spread of the plant. If you anticipate needing to trim your plant to keep it smaller, it is better to trim a little each year than to wait until it is too big and then remove big branches. You can also remove underneath branches completely, to raise the plant taller, or remove some of the top branches when they are young, to keep it a little lower.
The Old Gold Juniper is a selected form of the Pfitzer juniper, Juniperus x pfitzeriana. This plant is a natural hybrid between two other junipers, the savin juniper, Juniperus sabina, and the Chinese juniper, Juniperus chinensis. It was collected growing wild in Inner Mongolia, and later, in the 1890s, identified at the Späth Arboretum, in Berlin. The original plant is still growing there. With blue-green foliage, that plant can grow very large.
Over the last century unique shoots have grown from time to time on plants of the Pfitzer juniper in several countries. The first form with golden leaves, called ‘Pfitzeriana Aurea’, was found in 1923, growing on a branch of a Pfitzer juniper at the D. Hill Nursery in Dundee, Illinois. In the middle of the 1950s a superior form, brighter and more compact, was found at the F.J. Grootendorst Nursery in Boskoop, The Netherlands. It was called ‘Old Gold’ for its color and remains today one of the very best golden spreading junipers.
Spreading junipers are always incredibly popular, and no wonder. Their reliability and hardiness is renowned, and for easy landscaping they have no equals. The Old Gold Juniper is certainly the most popular of the golden spreaders, so our stock never stays on the farm for long. Order yours now, while we can still satisfy your needs – this is truly a great landscape plant.