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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - March 29, 2009

From: Wakefield, NH
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Blue rug juniper native to New Hampshire
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Is the blue rug juniper native to New Hampshire? I'm considering it for ground cover near lake in zip 03872.

ANSWER:

If by Blue Rug Juniper, you mean Juniperus horizontalis (creeping juniper), then yes, it is native to New Hampshire. According to the USDA Forest Servive Fire Effects Information System, "creeping juniper occurs in the northern portion of the contiguous United States, throughout most of Canada, and in interior and coastal Alaska. Creeping juniper occurs in the Great Lakes states and in the New England states as far south as Pennsylvania. Creeping juniper's distribution throughout its range is disjunct and spotty

According to Floridata, there are at least 60 cultivars of J. horizontalis, the most popoular of which is "wilsonii" AKA "Blue Rug" juniper. It stays less than 6 in tall, and has foliage that is bright steel blue-green in summer, becoming mauve in winter. Creeping juniper will grow in acidic to slightly alkaline soils spreading at a rate of about 15 inches a year. Prune young shoots to encourage branching, but older branches may not produce new growth when pruned.

Light: Full sun is best. Tolerates partial shade, but foliage will be thinner.
Moisture: Established plants are highly drought tolerant.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 - 10.

Please note that several states list creeping juniper as a rare species, so be sure to secure your plants from a reputable source.

 

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