Gold Star Juniper

Juniperus x pfitzeriana 'Bakaurea'

Gold Star Juniper

Juniperus x pfitzeriana 'Bakaurea'

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Gold Star Juniper is a reliable spreading evergreen that will cover an area 6 feet across within about 10 years, developing levels of horizontal branches in a mound about 3 feet tall. The tips of the branches are slightly pendulous, and this plant has a graceful and elegant look. The gold tips are set off by sea-green to chartreuse older foliage, and the color holds well through winter. An excellent ground cover for slopes and banks, giving good erosion control. Grow it at the front of beds edging driveways, in rock gardens or in the spaces between taller shrubs.

  • Low arching mound of gold and sea-green foliage
  • Good coloring throughout the winter months
  • Excellent ground cover for slopes and sunny areas
  • Cold, heat and salt-spray resistant
  • Top-rated deer-proof plant

Full sun is best for the Gold Star Juniper, which is cold resistant, and resists drought and salt-spray once established. It grows well in any well-drained soil, from clay to sandy gravel. Avoid wet areas and shade. It isn’t bothered by pests or diseases and rated highly for resisting deer too. Allow enough room when planting to be able to avoid trimming, and never cut back into older branches, which can’t re-sprout.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-9
Mature Width 5-6
Mature Height 3-4
Zones 4-9

A spreading mound of golden foliage, radiating out like a star across your slopes and fronting your beds – the Gold Star Juniper is a wonderful year-round addition to your garden. It’s one that won’t have you out trimming, or one that you will regret buying once it engulfs your beds. Yet it’s broad enough to cover significant areas, rising 3 feet into the air and spreading out with a 5-foot reach. The golden needles stay that way all through the year, and look especially beautiful from late fall to early spring, a time when evergreens become the focus of garden interest, and when they really become the stars of our landscape. Don’t leave your garden lacking in winter beauty or bare of color – the tough and reliable Gold Star Juniper will grow almost anywhere, even at the coast, and thrive with minimal attention from you. You can give yourself a gold star for being smart enough to plant it.

Growing the Gold Star Juniper

Size and Appearance

The Gold Star Juniper is a spreading conifer evergreen with horizontal branches radiating out from the central trunk just like the rays of a star. At first it is a single flat layer, but as it matures it develops multiple layers of branches, rising gradually to about 3 feet tall and ultimately to perhaps 4 feet tall. It spreads outwards into a circle that will become 5 or even 6 feet across within 10 years, so don’t overcrowd it when planting – allow enough room for its development.

The branches are covered in sprays of foliage that is flat against the stems like scale when newly sprouting, but that is otherwise entirely made up of small triangular needles growing around the stems at an angle. These ‘juvenile’ leaves give a fluffy or fuzzy look to the plant, different from the thread-like leaves of many other junipers. The foliage is bright glowing yellow in spring and when newly-sprouted, turning chartreuse to sea-green as it matures. Older leaves are more bluish-green with golden overtones, and even in winter there is a significant golden look to the plant.

The changing foliage colors create a lot of visual depth, with the center of the plant being darker, while the tips are bright yellow. Older plants may develop clusters of blue berry-like cones in winter, but these are not the juniper berries used for flavoring.

Using the Gold Star Juniper in Your Garden

This plant is highly-effective for covering areas of ground, especially on slopes, where it gives good erosion control. Plant it along the front of a bed along a driveway to soften the hard line, setting plants 18 to 24 inches back from the edge. Plant in groups to cover larger areas, allowing 3 or 4 feet between plants. Grow it among boulders and in rock gardens, or in sunny, exposed places, including sea-side locations. Turn a boring and bare slope into a cascade of beauty by mixing the Gold Star Juniper with a variety of other creeping and trailing plants like blue junipers and cotoneasters.


The Gold Star Juniper is very cold-resistant, growing without winter damage in zone 4, and also growing well in just about every part of the country.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Full sun is needed for good growth and color with the Gold Star Juniper. More than an hour or two of shade each day will turn the foliage more green, and encourage root diseases. This plant needs well-drained soil, so avoid wet and low-lying areas, but otherwise, it grows in just about any soil, from heavy clay to dry sands and gravels, including alkaline soils.

Maintenance and Pruning

Deer won’t eat it, and pests or diseases are not found when grown in the sun with good drainage. Really, there is nothing to do with the Gold Star Juniper but plant it, water each week for the first few months, and then enjoy it. It is drought resistant, so watering is rarely if even needed once it is well-established. We recommend allowing enough room when planting to avoid the need to trim, as this easily destroys the graceful arching and softly-weeping form of this tree. If you do need to reduce the spread, never cut back into branches without leaves, as they will not resprout. Remove the tips of branches by hand, cutting back to just in front of a shoot on the top of the stem, to hide the cut and keep it looking natural.

History and Origin of the Gold Star Juniper

If you are even in Berlin, visit the Späth Arboretum, where there is a very old juniper growing that was collected in 1866 by the French missionary and botanist Armand David in Inner Mongolia. At first this plant was thought to be an unusual form of the Chinese Juniper, Juniperus chinensis. In 1947 the American plantsman Peter Jacobus Van Melle took a deeper look at it, and realized it was a natural hybrid between the Chinese juniper and the savin juniper, Juniperus sabina. Both of them grow naturally in Mongolia. He named it Juniperus x media, a name still in use, but today the name Juniperus x pfitzeriana, the Pfitzer juniper, is more correct.

In 1923 a Pfitzer juniper growing at the D. Hill Nursery in Dundee, Illinois sprouted a branch with golden foliage. This became Pfitzeriana Aurea. In 1961 some of those plants were growing at the wholesale nursery of J.C. Bakker & Sons Ltd. In St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. One plant seemed different to the sharp-eyed grower, and he put it aside, growing pieces of it and studying them for 9 years. It was indeed different, with a lower, more compact habit and with entirely juvenile foliage. In 1975 it was patented as Bakaurea, and that patent (PP# 3,801) expired in 1995. Although never registered as a trademark, the name Gold Star was given to this plant, and that name has stuck.

Buying the Gold Star Juniper at the Tree Center

This juniper has been around a while, but it has stood the test of time and still stands out as a great spreading juniper of medium size, that can be relied on for effective planting and durability. It is always popular and desirable, so order now, because out stock will soon all be gone.

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Gold Star Juniper

Juniperus x pfitzeriana 'Bakaurea'