Hillspire JuniperJuniperus virginiana ‘Hillspire' (= J. virginiana ‘Cupressifolia')
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Juniperus virginiana ‘Hillspire' (= J. virginiana ‘Cupressifolia')
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Hillspire Juniper is a slender, upright evergreen with striking green foliage. It never browns or burns, and it will grow to 10 feet tall within 10 years. Ultimately it reaches 20 feet or more, but it stays slender and pyramidal. Even without trimming it will be no more than 2 feet wide when 10 feet tall, and perhaps 8 to 10 feet wide when a mature tree at 30 feet. The green foliage is rich and fresh, and this tree stays green all winter, even in the coldest areas, which is a big plus. This tough, reliable and hardy plant is perfect for accents, specimens, screens and hedges. It’s the perfect low-maintenance plant for any garden.
Grow the Hillspire Juniper in full sun or a little partial shade, in any well-drained soil. Shallow, rocky soils, sandy soil, or clay, all of them are suitable. Once established this plant is very drought resistant, and it is as happy in zone 3 as it is in zone 9 – a tree for every garden across the country. It normally has no pests or diseases, deer and rabbits leave it alone, and it is resistant to salt-spray and strong winds.
Among evergreen conifers, finding pure green, all year round, is surprisingly difficult. Even the small number of green ones often turn bronzy or golden during the winter months, especially in cold areas. Many of us want rich green hedges and specimens all year round, so when we find evergreens that hold their color, they are very desirable. As well, we often have difficult places to plant in, either very cold, very hot, or very dry – and sometimes all three through the year. So here at the Tree Center, when we find a supply of an evergreen that is always rich green, no matter the season, and that is totally hardy in zone 3, yet just as tough in zone 9, we celebrate. Add in big-time drought resistance and deer resistance too and you can only be talking about one plant – the Hillspire Juniper. This tough and reliable evergreen has a strong upright habit, and it will in time reach as much as 30 feet tall. But it is also easily trimmed to keep it shorter, and turned into great hedges, screens, or garden specimens. Simply unbeatable – and a native tree as well.
The Hillspire Juniper is an upright, slender evergreen that grows 6 to 12 inches a year, so that it will be 10 feet tall, and just 2 feet wide, within 10 years. It will grow in time into a tree around 20 feet tall, and it can even reach 30 feet. It has a dense form, with branches that rise upwards, so it remains slim, between 3 and 10 feet wide even as it matures.
The foliage of the Hillspire Juniper is rich green all year round, a big plus for the garden. It is of the type called ‘adult’ – the tiny, scale-like leaves cling closely to the thin stems, making dense clusters of smooth foliage, without the prickly roughness often found in some kinds of junipers. When clipped it forms a very dense surface, soft to the touch, and perfect where you need to pass close by your plants.
Junipers have separate male and female trees, and this is a male tree, so it doesn’t produce any berries. If you have other Junipers which do, like the Canaerti Juniper, the Emerald Feather Juniper or the Emerald Sentinel Juniper, then having a Hillspire Juniper nearby will give you the big and beautiful berry crops those trees are renowned for.
With its tight form the Hillspire Juniper is perfect wherever you need a vertical specimen or a narrow screen. Even if you don’t clip it this tree won’t spread wide and crowd out other plants, so use it among bushes around your home, between windows or as a pair on either side of a doorway or gate. Use it for accents, in the center of a bed, or at the corners, or to create a focal point at the end of a pathway. Plant a row for screening – it’s fast growing and won’t take long to fill out and reach a good height. 3 feet apart is perfect for a hedge you are going to clip, and 4 or 5 feet apart is the ideal spacing for an unclipped screen. Because it is salt and wind resistant, it can be planted in the most exposed sites.
One of the best things about the Hillspire Juniper is its toughness in the face of both cold and heat. It can literally be planted everywhere in the country (except for southern Florida and coastal southern California), growing well from zone 3 to zone 9, and probably in zone 2 as well.
Full sun is the best position for the Hillspire Juniper, although it will be fine if there are a few shady hours each day. Since it grows so well in sun it is perfect for those hot, bright spots. It will grow in any soil at all, except for wet ones. Sand, clay, acid or alkaline – it’s all the same to this tree, and the challenges of shallow rocky ground and sandy soil are easily met. This is an outstanding tree for its ability to thrive where many other plants will fail, so tackle those difficult spots with confidence. Once you have watered it regularly while it becomes established, drought is never going to phase it at all. Neither is salt spray, or strong winds, so it’s ideal for beach fronts and coastal gardens.
This tree is normally never bothered by pests or diseases, and neither deer nor rabbits want to eat it. If you want to trim, do this from an early age, because you can’t cut branches back too hard – there must always be some green on a branch for it to re-sprout. Trim regularly if needed, anytime from late spring to early fall, or at any time at all in warm zones.
The Hillspire Juniper is a selected variety of Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperus virginiana. This tree is native to North America, growing over a large part of the east. It can be found growing wild from southeastern Canada all the way into northern Florida, and westward as far as the Rockies, from Montana to New Mexico. It is usually seen growing in areas where other trees cannot become established, because of poor soil and dryness, or a harsh environment. You can see from that how tough a tree it is and understand why it is so hardy and reliable in our gardens.
In the 1920s, the D. Hill Nursery Co., in Dundee, Illinois, was the largest grower of evergreens in America. Sometime around 1925 a seedling red cedar was spotted by a grower at the nursery. It had a very slender form, and excellent green foliage. It wasn’t named until 1946, when it was called, ‘Cupressifolia’, meaning leaves like a cypress. Unfortunately, that name had already been used in 1932 for another plant. So, to avoid confusion, the Hill Nursery tree was renamed as ‘Hillspire’, which is now its correct name.
If you are looking for tough, reliable, minimal maintenance plants, the Hillspire Juniper is the plant for you. The demand is always high for plants like this, so place your order quickly, because these plants will not be at our farm for very long at all.