Miniature Garden Plant Focus: The Dwarf Miniature Juniper
Can’t see your miniature garden because it’s buried in snow?
Hopefully you have chosen the right kind of trees and plants in your miniature garden that can endure the cold and freezing, right?
I know you’ve heard me extol the virtues of Junipers as great miniature garden plants for the hot weather. They love the full sun and drier soil but they are the best troopers in the winter months too. We can use them with success in containers and right in the garden bed to give us year ‘round interest and color, even in the coldest climates.
So today, we focus on the Miniature Juniper or Juniperus communis ‘Miniature.’
This Miniature Juniper is an improved version of the popular ‘Compressa’ Juniper. Its shape is the same upright column, but it is a bit wider and more cone-shaped than the slender Compressa. The Miniature Juniper can tolerate the wind, cold and reflected sun much better too.
It wears a beautiful green-gray color that gets a little bit of a blush in the colder weather. The fine texture of the foliage is wonderful to work with because it can be easily complimented to match or contrast a variety of miniature garden bedding plants (a.k.a. groundcovers. ;o)
Cold hardy from zones 2 through 6 means it can handle temperatures down in to -50F. This makes it great for pots in the freezing climates too.
Heat hardiness is zones 6 through 1, which means it can tolerate an average of 60 days over 86F. If you are planting them in a container, watch the watering in the hot months and let them dry out to barely damp to avoid over-watering.
Oh, and I must point out that the Miniature Juniper is really a dwarf with a growth rate of 3” to 6” (it’s slower in the NW!) and this is a perfect example of what I preach to be wary of when looking for plants to use in your mini garden. The grower uses the word ‘Miniature’ because it sound cute, not because it is a true miniature with a growth rate less than 1” per year.
Great pairing plants for the miniature gardener are:
– Miniature and Dwarf Mugo Pines
– Groundcover Sedums of any type
– Hen and Chicks, (Sempervirens)
– Groundcover Thymes of any type
All these plants match the light, water and soil requirements of the Miniature Juniper for a successful miniature garden combination that will last over the years with minimal care.
So next time you are looking for a reliable plant for your miniature or fairy garden, consider the Miniature Juniper or any type of baby Juniper for that matter. They are one of the most underused types of dwarf trees and shrubs for miniature gardening and yet, the lowest maintenance. It’s simply reliable evergreen color that fits a multitude of climates and conditions.
See the Miniature Juniper in the store here.
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