A tree or shrub bearing berries of a bluish color, of a warm, pungent, sweet taste, yielding when fresh, by expression, a rich, sweet, aromatic juice. They are useful carminatives and stomachics. The wood of the tree is of a reddish color, hard and durable, and is used in cabinet work and veneering. The oil of juniper mixed with that of nuts makes an excellent varnish; and the resin powdered is used under the name of pounce.
Foliage is a silvery-blue, thus the first half of its common name. The second half comes from its growth habit, as it forms a dense, low mat (rug) -- making it an ideal groundcover. Height 4"-6", spread 5'-6'. Foliage turns a purplish-bronze in winter. Blue Rug spreads rapidly and is relatively resistant to some of the diseases that plague juniper shrubs. Incidentally, what look to be blue "berries" on junipers are technically cones.
Care for Juniper Plants:
No plant is "no-maintenance," but this one is certainly "low-maintenance." Groundcovers that flower require much more care. Space 4'-6' apart to form a dense enough mat to crowd out weeds. To aid their weed-control efforts prior to maturity, make sure they're well mulched (but don't pile up mulch over the plants' crowns). Don't allow fallen leaves and branches to smother young plants. Thin out mature plants for better air circulation, which well help avoid disease; but don't prune severely.
Sun and Soil Requirements for Juniper Plants:
Blue Rug juniper plants thrive in full sun and prefer well-drained soil with an acidic pH. Before planting, prepare the soil with amendments.
Uses for Juniper Plants:
In addition to their use as groundcovers (see below), the juniper shrubs and their relatives make excellent specimens for rock gardens.
More on Juniper Plants and Similar Groundcovers:
There are numerous types of junipers, and they come in a variety of heights, forms, colors (golds, blues and greens) and textures. But note that not all junipers are suitable for groundcovers. Some junipers are trees, while others fit the more usual image of "shrubs," i.e., plants that stand anywhere from knee-high to chest-high. Such plants are suitable for privacy screens and hedges.
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