An easy-care dwarf conifer
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Common name: Blue Star juniper
Latin name: Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’
Plant type: Dwarf conifer
USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Cultural needs: Moist, well drained, neutral or slightly acidic soil; sun or part shade
Plant size: 2′ x 3′, spreading
Blue Star juniper is a selection from Asian parentage, the Himalayan juniper. A plant from the mountains will need good drainage and at least half a day of sun. Protecting its blue leaves is a waxy coating known as “bloom,” which can be rubbed off to show that it’s really green underneath. The waxy bloom acts to reflect the heat from sun; this conserves moisture in summer, and in winter when water is unavailable in frozen roots. Best of all, the blue is beautiful, with stars at the tips when viewing from above. Near other green and lime-colored conifers, who needs flowers? Easy-care blue star juniper grows slowly—a true dwarf, with dense foliage of needled leaves. Most J. squamata species are dioecious, meaning plants either produce male cones or female fruit. J.s. ‘Blue Star’, as a dioecious plant, is less likely to be allergenic than monoecious junipers. The theme in this photo of Carl and Pat Churchill’s Overlook Garden Railway in southern Maine is friendliness. They regularly invite veterans and other folks living in assisted-living homes to visit, walk the paths of color, and enjoy the peace of a garden mingled with the sounds and sights of a model railroad.