Silver JuniperJuniperus virginiana 'Glauca'
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Juniperus virginiana 'Glauca'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Silver Juniper is an upright, pyramidal evergreen with striking silver-blue foliage. It grows rapidly, reaching 20 to 25 feet, with a width of only 6 to 8 feet. Its slender profile looks great as an accent or lawn specimen, and this form of a native tree fits well into natural plantings, on slopes and rough ground. Yet it looks good in more formal gardens too, and it can be trimmed as needed for the neatest look. It can also be pruned and trained for a specimen in an Asian garden.
Full sun is best for the Silver Juniper, as that will keep its leaves very silvery. This tree grows well in any well-drained soil, and it tolerates dry, shallow soils, sands, rocks and alkaline soils too. It grows anywhere across the country, in every state , and it is untroubled by pests or diseases, deer, salt or high winds.
Sparkling silver foliage is always a winner in a garden of any style. There is something striking about this effect, that makes these plants ideal as specimens. Placed among green foliage they create a striking contrast. Silver evergreens are always in demand, and the Silver Juniper, a form of the eastern red cedar, is an outstanding example. It is arguably the only native evergreen with silver foliage, so it could be a highlight of any garden of native plants. It could also ‘cross the Pacific’ and be pruned a little to give it the right character for an Asian look in your garden. Silver looks good in the sunlight, and this tree is tough enough to stand out in the hottest and driest spots, ideal for today’s xeric or ‘water-wise’ gardens. It could even be used to make a striking and unique silver hedge that could be a feature of your garden.
The Silver Juniper is an attractive upright evergreen tree, growing 20 to 25 feet tall, with a spread of no more than 6 or 8 feet. This tree has a dense, pyramidal form, with upright branches. Mature trees do eventually develop a more open form if untrimmed. The branches remain close to the ground, but once the trunk becomes visible at the base you will see it is covered in attractive, flaking, reddish-brown bark, and the trunk is fluted, with a flaring base.
The leaves are tiny silver-blue scales that cling tightly to the thin branches, which are in upright spreading fans. This smooth foliage gives the tree a soft feel, unlike other junipers that are often prickly. That is called ‘juvenile’ foliage, while the Silver Juniper has ‘adult’ foliage. In spring the new growth is a striking brilliant silver, and really eye-catching. In summer some bluer tones creep in, with perhaps a little green deep inside the tree, but the overall silver look is held well, and is strengthened by hot sun. In winter in colder zones some attractive bronzy-brown tones may suffuse the foliage.
This is a female tree (Junipers have separate male and female trees), so it produces a big crop of juniper berries. These are round, carried in large clusters, and very ornamental. Green at first, they become striking cobalt-blue, with a silver powdery coating by fall, and they really add to the seasonal interest of this tree. They last well into winter, before being finally taken as an important winter food by your local bird populations. Although this tree will produce berries when grown alone, it will produce more if you plant a male tree nearby. We recommend the Burkii Juniper or the Hillspire Juniper, both attractive male trees with year-round green foliage.
The Silver Juniper makes a striking specimen on a lawn, or in beds among green leaves. Plant it on rocky slopes and in natural settings or wild areas. Plant 3 feet apart for a hedge, and 4 or 5 feet apart for natural screening. Use it as an accent, or a focal point across your yard. Open out the tree by pruning it, and control its growth with stakes to make a striking ‘giant bonsai’ as the centerpiece of an Asian garden. Plant it among a collection of other evergreens of different colors and forms. You can see what a versatile tree this is.
The Silver Juniper grows well from zone 3 all through zone 9, and in all climatic conditions, so it literally can be planted in every state, except for southern Florida and south coastal California.
Full sun is best for the Silver Juniper, but it could be grown successfully with an hour or two of shade each day. It thrives in any well-drained soil, from shallow, rocky sands to heavy clays, and in both acid and alkaline conditions. Only wet soil is unsuitable. If you have hot, dry places, this is the perfect choice. After some regular watering in the first years it will never need water again, even in severe drought. It grows well in tough urban conditions too, tolerating compacted soil and air pollution.
There is no need to trim this tree to keep its pyramidal form for many years, but it does trim easily if you want, anytime between late spring and early fall, or year-round in hot zones. When trimming, don’t cut back to bare branches – these will never re-sprout. You can also train the tree into spirals, pom-poms, and other topiary forms. It almost never suffers from any pests or diseases, deer don’t bother it, and it resists salt-spray and strong winds as well.
The Silver Juniper was selected from among seedlings of the Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperus virginiana. That native American tree has a large range across most of the country, from Canada to northern Florida and west to Montana and New Mexico. It is a true pioneer, moving into disturbed areas and abandoned farms before any other trees. This is why it is such a great plant for those difficult spots in your garden. The variety we call ‘Glauca’ has been known for a long time. It was first recorded by the French authority on conifers, Élie-Abel Carrière, as growing in France before 1868. It was probably first brought back to America by the Arnold Arboretum, in Boston, who brought a plant from the Spaeth Nursery in Germany in 1901. That plant is still growing at the Arboretum, and it could easily be a great-great-grandparent of the tree you will be planting.
This tree is one of our favorite Junipers, with real character, and tough as nails. It is always in high demand, so choose what you need right away, as we won’t be able to satisfy your order once our stock is gone.