Japanese garden juniper

Japanese garden juniper has a low-growing habit.

Family (English):


Botanical name:

Juniperus procumbens

All Common Names:

Japanese garden juniper

Family (Botanic):


Season of Interest:

  • Early winter,
  • Mid winter,
  • Late winter,
  • Early spring,
  • Mid spring,
  • Late spring,
  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall,
  • Late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Shape or Form:

  • Creeping

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Size & form

A low-spreading, ground-hugging evergreen shrub/ground cover reaching 6 to 12 inches high and 4 to 6 feet wide.  This is a trailing ground cover.  Trailing ground covers have trailing stems that spread out from central root system.  These stems spread out horizontally over the ground, but do not root to the ground.

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun in well-drained soil, pH adaptable.
Intolerant of wet soils.
Spreads at branch tips and can be pruned to maintain size.
Excellent cold hardiness.

Disease, pests, and problems

Phomopsis tip blight, root rot, cedar-apple-rust, webworm and spider mite.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Deer, drought, erosion, dry soil, rocky soil, air pollution.

Native geographic location and habitat

Found in the mountains of Japan.

Bark color and texture 

Wide-spreading, stiff branches.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, prickly pointed needles in whorls of 3; blue green to gray green.
Can have a purplish tinge in winter.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, greenish pistillate and yellow staminate (male) flowers.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small cone.

Cultivars and their differences 

Green Mound Japanese Garden Juniper (Juniperus procumbens 'Green Mound'): Soft, ground-hugging, 8 to 10 inches high and 5 to 6 feet wide; blue-green needles do not winter brown, center does not mound as it spreads.

Nana Japanese Garden Juniper (Juniperus procumbens 'Nana'): 6 to 12 inches high and 4 to 6 feet wide, blue-green needles turn a purplish green in winter.

Japanese garden juniper is a low-growing, ground-hugging evergreen reaching 6 to 12 inches high and eventually spreading 4 to 6 feet wide. Excellent as a ground cover, used to stabilize slopes or cascading over low walls. The blue-green foliage turns a slight purple in the winter.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Ground cover

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Small plant (6-12 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Location of Juniperus procumbens (Japanese garden juniper) at the Arboretum