Landscaping of any site will be decorated with shrubs with bluish needles, such as blue juniper, which is gaining more and more popularity among owners of country houses and urban landscaping services. It is unpretentious in care, frost and drought tolerant, has many varieties - from ground cover shrubs to tall cone-shaped trees. All of them are unusually beautiful, have a blue color, and the color can vary from bright blue to grayish-blue tones.
In this species of juniper, the needles are scaly, soft, though in some varieties, for example, Blue star, it is quite prickly. Shoots are hard, the fruits are cone berries, which are mostly bluish-blue in color. A feature of the blue juniper is the growth of the lower branches almost from the very base of the trunk, which gives the shrub additional attractiveness.
There are a lot of varieties of plants, they differ in shape, size, color.
For example, Scopulorum blue arrow is a tall, cone-shaped shrub with bluish-silver needles, and the green-blue Blue Pacific in height reaches a maximum of 0.5 m. Some varieties change the color of needles in winter (Blue chip is lilac in winter, while it is bluish in summer).
All varieties are winter-hardy, but they grow better in places protected from the wind. They also tolerate summer drought well, watering is rare, but plentiful. The only thing that negatively affects the condition of plants with blue needles is stagnant moisture.
After planting, young seedlings must be protected from direct sunlight. But as the plants grow older, such a need disappears. In winter, shrubs periodically shake off snow to prevent branches from breaking.
As already mentioned, frost and drought are not scary for shrubs with blue needles. Therefore, they can be grown even in the northern regions of Russia. The composition of the soil also does not play a big role, only saline soils are not suitable for this crop. The main thing in leaving is to avoid waterlogging of the soil.
For the best growth of juniper blue, it is recommended to plant it in areas with good lighting, then the color of the needles will be more pronounced. When group planting between seedlings, it is recommended to leave at least 50 cm, and the most optimal option is 2 m, if there is such an opportunity. Prepared plants are planted in pits with a depth of 70 cm and a diameter 2 times the diameter of an earthen coma, on the bottom of which broken brick or sand is laid. In the case of a close occurrence of groundwater, the pit deepens, because the drainage layer should be about 10 cm. When planting, the root neck of the seedling should remain at ground level.
Care consists in sanitary pruning and not frequent watering, about 2-3 times per season. But the amount of water that needs to be poured under each bush is 2-3 buckets.
Juniper blue is responsive to spraying with water. In summer, this procedure is carried out every week.
To protect young seedlings from hard frosts, they are covered with burlap.
Most often, juniper blue is propagated by cuttings. They are cut in the spring in adult shrubs that have reached 8 years of age. Then the cuttings are kept for 24 hours in a growth stimulator and planted in sand mixed with peat. And after a month they are transplanted into the open ground.
The family of scaly varieties is diverse. Represent the most common varieties:
Horizontal varieties are used as ground cover crops, as well as on rocky slopes, in heather gardens and rock gardens. The best representatives are Ice Blue and Blue Chip.
Evergreen Ice Blue has long creeping shoots, which form a bluish-green carpet. Moreover, at the beginning of summer, the color of the shrub is bright blue, and the rest of the time is blue. It tolerates both the sun and partial shade. Ice blue grows slowly, up to 10 cm per year.
Blue chip - one of the smallest shrubs, whose height barely reaches the mark of 30 cm. It also changes the color of the needles depending on the season: in the summer it is bluish, and in winter it takes on a lilac or reddish-brown hue.
The original variety is medium juniper Blue & Gold (height - 80 cm, diameter - 1 m). Its shoots have two colors: blue and yellow. The versatility of the plant lies in the ability to decorate both urban lawns and park compositions. Indispensable for hedges and mixborders.
Rocky junipers look like trees and can grow up to 10 m. They are characterized by a narrow crown starting directly from the ground. The most popular among them are Blue Arrow and Blue Haven.
Blue arrow (blue arrow) in appearance resembles an arrow. Its colon-shaped crown ends with a sharp top directed upwards. The branches are vertical, rigid, tightly pressed to the trunk. The needles are bright blue, soft, scaly. In winter, the plant can suffer from snow, so its branches are tied up and shaken off after snowfalls. Blue arrow often serves as a vertical accent in large-scale landscape compositions, and it takes up little space. Suitable for hedges. No efforts should be made to improve the appearance of blue juniper: nature has already awarded it with an ideal shape.
But the variety with the best coloration among rock cultures is considered Blue Haven (photo 8). His needles are painted in a beautiful sky blue color, and the shade does not change throughout the year. It has a dense broad-conical shape, reaches a height of 3-5 m. It practically does not need watering (only after planting), tolerates any winds and frosts.