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Juniperus horizontalis (Creeping juniper)
Smith, R.W.

Juniperus horizontalis

Juniperus horizontalis Moench

Creeping Juniper, Creeping Savin

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Synonym(s): Juniperus horizontalis var. argentea, Juniperus horizontalis var. douglasii, Juniperus horizontalis var. glauca, Juniperus horizontalis var. variegata, Juniperus hudsonica, Juniperus prostrata, Juniperus repens, Juniperus virginiana var. prostrata, Sabina horizontalis, Sabina prostrata

USDA Symbol: juho2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

Creeping Juniper is a procumbent, mat-like, evergreen shrub, less than 1 ft. tall but up to 10 ft. wide. Long, trailing branches are covered with conspicuously glaucous, soft-textured, blue-green, scale-type foliage. Juvenile foliage is prickly. Dark blue, berry-like cones with a heavy, white bloom, persist through winter.


From the Image Gallery

14 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Though technically incorrect, the seed cones are often referred to as berries.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Flowers inconspicuous. Pollen cones cream to reddish brown.


USA: AK , CT , IA , IL , MA , ME , MI , MN , MT , ND , NE , NH , NY , OH , RI , SD , VT , WI , WY
Canada: AB , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , SK
Native Distribution: N.S. to s.e. AK, s. to NY, MN, Black Hills, Rockies to CO & c. B.C.
Native Habitat: Open, dry areas; hillsides; wash areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Creeping juniper withstands hot, dry situations but is very intolerant of shade and poor drainage. It is slow-growing, long-lived, and susceptible to juniper blight.


Use Wildlife: Very high.
Fragrant Foliage: yes


Description: Generally, cuttings should be taken after several hard freezes although references point to any time from July to April. Hormone treatment improves rooting. Propagation is also possible by seed. Seed can be sown outdoors in fall or stratified and sown
Seed Collection: Collect ripened fruits in fall or winter, clean by maceration, dry seeds, and store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Stratify at 41 degrees for 30-120 days.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native plants of dune erosion control in Michigan
May 30, 2008
We care for Lake Michigan dune near our home in New Buffalo and would like to provide erosion control with native species that will also enhance the beauty of the dune with long lasting flowers. The ...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

United States Botanic Garden - Washington, DC
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Juniperus horizontalis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Juniperus horizontalis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Juniperus horizontalis


Record Modified: 2023-02-15
Research By: TWC Staff

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