If you have Junipers around or are keen on growing them, you may have thought about planting companion plants.
Junipers are relatively easy to grow and maintain. They also tolerate drought quite well. Companions should more or less share the same characteristics.
Junipers- A Brief Introduction
Junipers are recognized by their cone-shaped seeds. They vary in shape and size, from towering trees to low-lying shrubs. They are evergreen in nature with needle-like foliage and number up to 170 species.
Junipers come in striking colors: yellow-gold, light green to bottle green, or silver-blue to dark blue. You can combine them with similar plants that look aesthetically pleasing and are highly compatible.
This write-up is based mainly on companion planting for juniper shrubs or ground covers.
Blue-Foliage Companion Plants For Junipers
Blue is usually the way to go if selecting plants to grow alongside junipers. Moreover, some juniper species, such as the Juniperus Squamata (Blue Star), look incredibly pleasing to the eye if combined with flowering plants of blue color.
Below are some plants with shades of blue and dark green for your consideration.
Euphorbia grows naturally in many parts of the world, particularly Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America. It’s typically a houseplant but can also survive outdoors.
You can select from a range of Euphorbia varieties, including shrubs, herbs, and cactus-like varieties for growing in your garden. There are over 2000 Euphorbia species, with some being giant trees while others are low-lying groundcovers.
Euphorbias are not fussy about the soil you choose to grow them. Besides, they are drought tolerant and love full-sunlight locations. However, gardeners should be cautious when handling Euphorbia as it contains a milky latex sap that is poisonous and irritating.
Another blue-star Juniper companion plant on our list is Sedum. Again, the easy-to-grow plant genus has many species you could select from.
It needs less care and can thrive in less hospitable environments. Sedums love full sunlight and have moderate water requirements.
Preferably underwater and under-fertilize Sedum to avoid hurting them. When planting, lay the shorter varieties on the ground. Their roots begin sprouting from the point where the plant is touching the ground.
With taller stem varieties, break the stem into a sizable piece and push it to the depth you would like it to grow.
Agave is a succulent perennial characterized by long leaves that form a rosette shape. The plant is drought tolerant and can withstand an arid garden.
You will find Agaves growing naturally in North America, although they can also withstand the cooler climates in the Pacific Northwest.
There are many species of Agave, but one that stands out is the Century plant (Agave Americana). It thrives in varied landscapes and is known to produce a striking, beautiful inflorescence. Unfortunately, the main plant usually dries out and falls after having the inflorescence.
Thanks to the white stripe running down the plant, you can easily spot the American Agave.
Plant agaves directly on the seedbed. They prefer growing in well-draining gritty soil under full sunlight.
Yucca is a sword-like leaf perennial shrub native to South Western United States. There are several plant species you can choose from if you want to grow them alongside your junipers.
The evergreen shrub is adaptable to many different climates and can withstand temperatures as low as -12°c. That said, Yucca grows well in full sun and well-draining soils. A mature Yucca plant grows up to 3 feet tall.
Avoid planting them in sidewalks and areas with high traffic because of their sharp leaves that could cause injuries. Always ensure there is enough room in your garden to accommodate the growth.
Speedwell is a perennial with long-lasting blooms that form blue, white, and pink flowers. The plant is drought-resistant, but you should regularly water it in summers when there is little rainfall.
Speedwell loves sunny locations with well-draining soils. However, it can withstand partial shade and varying soil pH levels.
Sea Form Artemisia (Silver Mound)
The Silver Mound plant has an attractive mounding habit that appeals to many gardeners. In addition, gardeners find the plant valuable for edging in perennial gardens.
Silver Mound thrives best in full to partial sun and loves well-fertilized soils. It’s one of the options to look for as a companion to junipers.
Cushion Bush, also known as Silver Bush, is native to Southern Australia. Tiny yellow flowers on stem tips characterize the plant, but most gardeners love growing it for its foliage.
Their bright, silver stems and leaves reflect light creating a sharp contrast with other plants in the garden.
Cushion bush survives in dry, salty, and poor soils and doesn’t require much tending or care, making it a good companion for junipers. The plant has a short life span, however.
Partridge Feather groundcover is yet another suitable choice for growing along with junipers. The plant has feathery silver leaves with a soft wooly texture and typically grows in a mound.
The yellow to white flowers blossom around late June to early July. The plant stands 3-5 inches tall and 15-24 inches wide when fully grown.
Partridge Feather grows in full to partial shade, making it a good survivor in rocky gardens. In addition, the silver color makes it contrast well with other plants in the garden.
Lavender is an easy-care drought-tolerant plant that can survive in hot and dry conditions.
The best way to plant lavender is through seedlings. The plant usually grows well under the full sun and warm temperatures.
Soils for growing lavender should be well-draining with enough organic matter content.
Dusty Miller is mainly used for landscaping and is characterized by its silvery-gray foliage. Their lacy leaves make them good companion plants for other plants.
The plant is drought and frost-tolerant, with foliage that can withstand harsh weather conditions.
Dusty Miller grows best in the afternoon shade during Summer. Ensure the soils are well-draining to avoid root rot.
Other Blue-Flowered Plants
There are 44 other families of blue-flowered ornamental plants to consider growing alongside junipers. Most of these plants are native to Europe and North America.
Some examples include Hydrangea, Salvia, Lily of the Nile, Rose of Sharon, Cornflower, Dwarf morning glory, Iris, and Lobelia.
Cool Climate Companion Plants
These plants prefer cooler temperatures and usually bloom late into the year. However, they are more delicate and require more tending than the plants above.
Blue asters can blend well with your juniper plants, growing up to 4 feet. Plant Blue Asters via seeds or purchase them as a potted plant.
The ideal conditions for asters include complete to partial sun with well-draining loamy soil. You should continue watering asters until their bloom time.
Columbine is a perennial plant with dark-green foliage and usually blooms into various colors during spring. The dark-green colors turn maroon in fall.
Soils for columbine should be well-draining. They do well under the full sun but don’t tolerate sweltering conditions in summer. Therefore, you want to grow them in partial shade in warmer areas while keeping the soil moist with mulch.
Lupine flowers are both annual and perennial. However, the annual types last for only a season while the perennial types perish and emerge from the same spot in a cyclic manner.
Lupine always doesn’t like to be moved, so you should grow them in a spot where you won’t consider shifting them again. Plant lupine seeds or cuttings in a sunny area with well-drained soil.
Soak the seeds in lukewarm water before planting to soften their hard seed coat. The best time to sow Lupine seeds is in autumn.
Alternatively, you can plant them in the fall to allow them to chill. This leads to faster germination.
Baptisia, also known as false indigo, is a striking perennial that requires minimum care to produce the best of plants. The false indigo flowers blossom into a range of colors: white, blue, and yellow.
The plant is native to Southern North American Prairies. When fully mature, the plant grows to three feet tall, producing flower spikes that increase its size by 12-24 inches.
Baptisia plants have a deep root system that needs time before taking off. Therefore, you will need to be patient for about three years before the seedlings start to produce flowers. The plant is drought tolerant and requires plenty of sunlight to attain fast growth.
Another beautiful flowering plant to grow with Junipers is Blue Poppies. It’s an ancient flowering plant that thrives in various environmental conditions.
Plant blue Poppy plants in your garden via seeds or divide the roots of existing plants. Poppy plants prefer sunny locations and do well in poor to average soil.
Other Plant Categories
Some other plant categories to consider combining with junipers are mentioned below.
Vines and Ground Covers
- Warm Climate Passion Flower
- Morning Glory
The Shade Lovers
- Jacob’s ladder
- Forget me Not
- Blue corydalis
Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper
If growing the Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper, the script is similar. Look for plants that fit their growing conditions with a similar or contrasting color blend.
Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper typically forms a dense mound that grows up to 12 inches tall and spreads 6 feet wide. It turns blue-green when mature but goes purple during winter.
Some Dwarf Japanese Juniper companion plants suited to various garden types include:
The following list is ideal if growing your Japanese Garden Juniper in a Water-Saving Garden.
- Acacia spp, namely the Willow Wattle, Shoestring Acacia, Ovens Wattle.
- Agastache spp, namely the ‘Apricot Sprite‘ hyssop and the ‘Summer Love‘ hyssop.
For gardeners who would love to grow dwarf Japanese Juniper plants along pathways, you could grow them together with.
- Rubra (Antennaria dioica)
- Alpine rock thyme (Acinos alpinus)
There are also a variety of showy flowers that prefer sunny locations, making them a good fit as companion plants. These include:
- ‘Wood’s Purple’ New York Aster
- Gaura spp (“Siskiyou Pink” gaura, “Whirling Butterflies” gaura, and the “Pink Cloud” gaura)
Deer Resistant Plants
Lastly, if living in an area inhabited by deers, we have companion plants resistant to Deers. These include:
- Alyogyne huegelii
- Sedum acre (Gold Moss)
The list of plants you could grow with Junipers is endless. However, the criterion for selection is simple; you want to select companion plants that match the growing conditions of your juniper plant type.
More importantly, since juniper is ornamental, you should also pay heed to get a good mix of colors. Now you know.
Job Kiniale is a certified crop scientist and gardening enthusiast with a passion to help beginning gardeners navigate their newfound hobby. Let’s talk about plants, backyard ideas, and general gardening advice. Outside work, Job loves spending time with family.