For solid, reliable garden plants, that ask very little, and give so much, look no further than the Junipers. Spreading, mounding or upright, they give us wonderful shapes and varied foliage colors, and fill spaces effectively and quickly. Particularly if you live in difficult climates – cold and exposed, or hot and dry, they are great choices, because once established they survive just about anything the weather can throw at them. For a reliable upright form, with enough width for hedges and screens, but not so much as to crowd out your other plants, the Star Power Juniper is our favorite, and once you grow it, it will become yours too.
Growing Star Power Juniper
The Star Power Juniper is a fast-growing tree, adding more than 12 inches a year to its height when young. Within ten years it will be 15 to 18 feet tall, and between 7 and 9 feet wide, making a broad, upright flame-shaped bush, with foliage right to the ground. It has a natural compact shape, but if you want a more formal look, it is easy to trim, and you can create a narrower form, or a shorter one, and adjust it to your wishes, to create the perfect, custom form you want. This rugged plant is perfect for a screen or hedge, with an informal look, or a more trimmed, formal shape. Either way it will give you protection, because this tough plant is resistant to cold, wind and heat.
Junipers have two kinds of foliage. Young seedling plants have leaves that grow outwards from the stems, in a star-like pattern. This protects the plants from grazing animals like deer. Older stems, once the plant is taller, have leaves that cling to the stems tightly, giving a smoother look. Some plants don’t change from the young, juvenile foliage, into the adult foliage, and the Star Power Juniper is like that. As a result, all the leaves stay juvenile for the life of the tree, giving the plant a softer look, and enhancing its resistance to deer and rabbits. That softer look, and the way the leaves look star-like when looked at from the top of a branch, gives this great shrub its name – Star Power. The foliage is a rich, slightly silvery, gray green, and in late fall, when the colder weather arrives, it often takes on a beautiful purple sheen, bringing a new coloring to your garden for the winter months.
Planting and Initial Care
Grow the Star Power Juniper in full sun for best results and compact growth. It will grow in any well-drained soil, including poor, sandy soils and urban conditions. Water newly-planted trees at least weekly, especially during summer, but once established this tree is very drought resistant, and thrives in hot, dry locations. Besides drought resistance, it is also resistant to salt -spray, so it grows well near the coast and the beach. It almost never suffers from any pests or diseases, and it is normally left alone by deer and rabbits. For a dense screen or hedge in a few years, plant 3, 4, or 5 feet apart in a row. An extra solid screen can be created by planting in a double row, 5 or 6 feet apart, with the rows 3 feet apart. Stagger the planting so that each plant sits in the space between the plants in the opposite row. If you are using it in planter boxes, for screening a patio or terrace, make sure the boxes have drainage holes, and once the plants are established, only water when the top few inches of soil are dry. If you want to trim your trees, do it in late winter or early spring, and again at the beginning of fall. This will keep your trees covered in fresh foliage, and avoid any risk of winter injury.
History and Origins of the Star Power Juniper
The Star Power Juniper was found in 1998 by Michael Yanny, at Johnson’s Nursery in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. He spotted this unique seedling, with its attractive foliage and rich blue-green coloring. Examination of the plant suggests that it is probably a hybrid tree. This would explain its vigor, toughness and fast growth, since hybrid plants are usually stronger than either parent. The parents are believed to be Juniperus communis, the common juniper, and Juniperus chinensis, the Chinese juniper. The common juniper grows throughout the Northern Hemisphere, across Europe, Russia, Asia and North America. It is found at the Arctic Circle, so it is very winter hardy and tough. Usually a small tree to 30 feet or so, it also grows as a wide, spreading bush. The Chines juniper is found in China, Mongolia, Japan, Korea and southeastern Russia, and it is more like a shrub than a tree, but just as tough, and it is also salt-resistant. It is noted for often keeping its juvenile foliage for life. With parents as tough as these, it is no surprise that the Star Power Juniper is so tough. Johnson’s Nursery named it ‘JN Select Blue’, but it is usually sold as the Star Power Juniper.
Our plants are grown from stem pieces derived from that original plant, and with its rapid growth they will soon be an attractive presence in your garden. The demand for tough plants is huge, and we only have limited supplies of this very desirable bush, so order now, or risk being disappointed by that ‘out of stock’ sign when you come back.