Few garden plants are as useful as spreading junipers, because every garden but the smallest has areas that need covering with reliable, tough plants that always look good and need no special care. Around your house in the foundation planting, on slopes and banks, beside steps, walks and driveways, or in the foreground of beds, these great plants are true garden workhorses, who give you much more than they take in minimal care. There are many to choose from, but often the best is the ‘no-nonsense’ choice, the reliable, older variety that has stood the test of time in millions of gardens and come out a to favorite every time. The honor of that title surely sits with the Tamarix Juniper, often affectionately called the ‘Tam’.
The Tamarix Juniper is a wide-spreading evergreen shrub, that grows no taller than 3 feet, but that can spread at least 10 feet wide, and more in time. It is not ground-hugging, but grows instead in waves of horizonal branches, reaching outwards in all directions. These grow in layers, so that the plant adds an inch or two each year to its height, while spreading at least a foot horizontally in the same time. The foliage is green, with a slight bluish tone, and with a mossy to rough texture. It tends to follow the contours of the ground it is growing on, so on slopes it will grow both downwards and upwards, and at the top of a wall it will undulate gently down, without truly cascading. This broad form is ideal for covering large areas of ground, and particularly in larger gardens and new gardens it is an invaluable plant for covering large spaces with attractive year-round foliage. It fits well into any garden style, from formal to Asian and in xeric, natural styles too.
Growing Tamarix Juniper Trees
Plant the Tamarix Juniper as a single plant to fill the front corner of a shrub bed. Plant a pair on either side of an entrance or set of stairs. It looks great on flat ground, and even better on slopes and banks, where it also reduces soil erosion and binds the soil. For group planting, allow 3 feet between plants, although if you are willing to wait a little longer, plants spaced 5 feet apart will become a solid covering in a few years’ time. Don’t be fooled by the smaller size of new plants. They will add as much as 12 inches every year, so plant well back from the edge of a pathway or driveway, to avoid constant trimming.
The Tamarix Juniper is not only very attractive and useful, it is also very easy to grow. It grows well in all the cooler zones, from zone 3 to zone 7, and it survives harsh winters and hot summers with no problem at all. It grows best in well-drained soil that tends towards dryness, so it is perfect for those hot, dry parts of your garden, and for shallow, rocky and sandy soils. It grows well also in alkaline soils, and in dry clay soils too. This plant is normally not affected by pests, and diseases are only a potential problem if you grow it in wet soils, or in shady places. Deer normally leave it strictly alone, and once established it survives long periods of drought. It grows well in poor, polluted urban soils too. If you want attractive plants but you don’t want work, this plant should be a big part of your garden. Trimming is not needed, or recommended, but if you find your plant getting too large for its position, you can trim it while still keeping its wave-like character. Look at the long horizontal branches and simply cut back to a point directly beneath an upward-facing shoot. This will reduce its spread, without making it look ‘trimmed’. Older plants can also be pruned into a low spreading tree-like form, by removing the lowest branches progressively from the ground up, cutting back to the main, central trunk. In time an attractive trunk, with reddish peeling bark, will be revealed, creating a more exotic looking plant very suitable for Asian-style gardens.
The foliage of the Tamarix Juniper is unique, and of two kinds. All junipers can have leaves that are awl-shaped, that is, like a pointed wedge, pointing outwards from the stems. These are present in all young seedling plants and they are called ‘juvenile’ leaves. In most older plants the leaves are scale-like, called ‘adult’ leaves, and they cling closely to the stems, so that the stem itself is invisible. In the Tamarix Juniper both types of leaves may be present, with the growing tips tending to show adult leaves and internal growth usually showing juvenile leaves. This gives the plants a fuller, more ‘fluffy’ texture than many other junipers have. The color all year round is a rich, soft green, with a bluish tone that is more apparent in plants grown in hot sun and dry soil.
History and Origins of Tamarix Juniper Trees
The Savin juniper, Juniperus sabina, grows wild in mountainous regions of Europe and central Asia, all the way from Spain to eastern Siberia. It always grows at higher altitudes, which is why it is so tough and adaptable to cold, wind, dry and rocky soils, and such a survivor. It can grow more than 6 feet tall and spread 15 feet or even more. It has been grown in gardens of Europe and Asia for centuries, and it was bought to America long ago. The form called ‘Tamariscifolia’ has also been widely grown for a long time, and almost all the plants grown seem to derive from an original plant collected in the wild, which is called Juniperus sabina var. tamariscifolia, and which is distinguished from the main species by its low growth and unique combination of juvenile and adult leaves. Whatever its origins, this great plant is a garden standard, so our stock always sells out fast. Order now for the best plant you can grow for an easy but attractive garden.