Juniper Blue Star, highly appreciated by gardeners and designers, differs from other conifers in its compact size, low growth rate and amazing turquoise color of young shoots. Spread out on the rocks of a rockery or an alpine hill, it resembles a starfish that decided to bask in the sun. Due to its small size, juniper is indispensable when creating mini-landscapes in a small garden, on a loggia or terrace.
Where to plant and how to care for juniper
Juniper flake Blue Star is extremely unpretentious to the conditions of detention. Coniferous plants of this type under natural conditions grow on the poorest soil, sometimes located on the rocky slopes of the mountains. But he also has his own preferences, which must be taken into account when planting in order to preserve the decorative properties of the plant.
One of the important requirements is lighting. Juniper blue star is quite capable of growing in dense shade, but in the absence of sufficient insolation, the wonderful bluish-blue color of its crown becomes dark green. The compact size due to elongation of the shoots can increase slightly, and dense bushes become loose. The plant takes on the form of an ordinary wild juniper, losing most of its qualities.
When choosing a place for planting a blue star of the garden, you must be guided primarily by the duration of lighting it with bright sunlight. This time should be at least half a daylight, and slight shading is possible only in the hottest time of the day - from 12 to 16 hours. Under such conditions, the beauty of juniper is fully revealed, and bright stars of young shoots will flash in early summer against a dark gray background of old needles.
If several bushes are planted on 1 plot of the garden, the distance between the plants should be observed: at least 0.5 m. Given the growth, it is worth planting juniper at a distance of about 2 m. The same applies to group plantings, where different types and forms of conifers are combined .
It is best to purchase planting material with a closed root system, in a container where the bush has grown since it was transplanted at a young age.
This will help to avoid buying a plant with a damaged root system, which is likely to die soon after planting. In addition, planting material with a closed root system can be planted at almost any time of the year.
How to plant juniper (video)
For planting, you need to dig a hole with a depth of 50-70 cm, depending on the size of the plant. The width of the hole should be twice as large as the size of the container in which the bush grows. At the bottom of the pit, pour a drainage layer of sand or gravel, brick fragments, etc. The thickness of the layer is 15-20 cm. On top of the drainage, place fertile soil of peat, garden soil and sand (2: 1: 1, respectively) so that the root the neck of Juniper Blue Star when planting was at the level of the soil. Do not over-deepen the bush when planting: the soil level in the container can only be covered with 2-3 cm of new soil.
Remove the plant from the container along with a lump of earth and put it in a hole. Fill the soil around the root system, pressing it slightly with your hands. For the final compaction of the soil and the filling of possible voids, pour a little water over the covered soil. When the soil settles, you can level the surface by adding the dry mixture to the edges of the pit.
To preserve the soil in a loose state and to slow the growth of weed grass, a layer of mulch is usually placed under the juniper crown. It may consist of gravel, broken brick or pebbles. This is not only protective, but also a rather decorative element for planting conifers. As a rule, a complex fertilizer mixed with sawdust or soil is poured under the mulch layer, which allows it to gradually penetrate the roots of a young plant, replacing regular feeding.
When the juniper grows older, it practically does not need to be fertilized. When grown on too fertile soil, the characteristic shape of the crown may be lost. Plant care in the 2nd year after planting and is further reduced to watering and weeding.
Watering mode and frost protection
In arid regions or in the absence of natural precipitation in the summer heat, juniper should be watered several times during the season. This is especially true for a small young plant or a recently transplanted bush. But even in these cases, excess moisture and its stagnation is an unfavorable factor for juniper.
The amount of water per 1 irrigation should not exceed 10-30 liters, depending on the size of the plant. In the hottest and driest time it is enough to water the blue star once every 2-3 weeks and after 5-7 days to irrigate the crown (after sunset). If rainfall is plentiful and regular, then artificial irrigation may not be needed at all.
In regions with frosts above -25 ° C, with insufficient snow cover or in years when there is little snow at the beginning of winter, but the temperature drops below the indicated values, the juniper can freeze. This will be noticeable only in the spring, when part of its branches dry out and acquire a brown hue. With a small scale of damage, only the decorativeness of the bush will suffer, and dried branches will have to be cut. But for a young small juniper, severe freezing can be fatal. Therefore, after the establishment of frosts in October-November in the northern regions, it is better to cover such plants with a non-woven fabric or spruce branches. Early in spring, the covering material must be removed so that the plant does not warp.
Unpretentious, quickly recovering from damage a plant can become a real decoration of the garden. For many years, flake juniper blue star can grow in one place without interfering with neighboring bushes.