Best Juniper For Ground Cover

May 17, 2019 | Gardens

Name: Juniperus procumbens nana aka green mound juniper 

Type of Plant: A ground cover juniper…truthfully, the only one I commonly recommend. Hardy zone 4 to 9.

Why I Love/Hate this plant: In general, junipers are really great plants that are misused and abused by people who plant them. But some are better than others, and green mound, Juniperus procumbens nana, is the pick of the litter when it comes to groundcover. In my opinion and experience, of course. Why this one instead of ‘Blue Rug’ (which I HATE, btw) or ‘Blue Star’ (nice enough when located and treated well)? I prefer green mound because it grows thickly enough to out-compete weeds. A ground cover, in my opinion, is a plant that is weed smothering, attractive and not so aggressive that it takes over the entire landscape and makes a play for your house later on. Green mound meets this criteria and has the added advantage of being drought tolerant and thriving in full, hot sun.

A Word to the Wise: Don’t plant any juniper where it gets hit by automatic irrigation more than once a week. Less often is better. Place junipers in full sun and initially mulch around the new plants so that they can start to get established without weeds in their early days. Green mound isn’t really fast, but it’s not a poky plant either. Plant it and be patient.

Green mound junipers are light in color which makes them perfect with other conifers that have darker green or bluish tones.

Unlike other ground cover junipers such as Blue Rug (I hate that plant), green mound grow so thickly that weeds don’t grow into and through their branches. Yay!



  1. G. Brockelbank

    Hi Garden Lady,

    Why do you hate the Blue Rug juniper (I assume you mean J. horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’), and does your disdain extend to other varieties of J. horizontalis? I’m a Canadian gardener living in Japan and I’d like to plant a row of low junipers along the top of a retaining wall. I’ve already got three ‘Blue Pacific’ junipers growing on a steep slope, where they are doing very well, but for the new spot I’d like something that spreads less vigorously. J. procumbens ‘Nana’ is one candidate, but a very yellow or very blue juniper would be nice for contrast.

    • CL Fornari

      Thanks for asking Greg! I had this one in particular because it isn’t tight as it ages – very quickly it gets bare centers, and open spaces where the weeds flourish. Blue Star and Blue Pacific are better, but when I’m going for a ground cover I want something that is weed smothering. And the last thing I want to do is pull weeds that are in prickly juniper foliage. So if I’m looking for contrast with the light procumbens ‘Nana’ I’ll choose a grey/green wooly thyme, or the dark green bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), both of which like the same growing conditions as a juniper.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don`t copy text!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This