Virtues: Silvery blue juniper is an easy option for adding year-long color that complements the nearby plants in each season. Tall selections such as ‘Wichita Blue’ and ‘Blue Heaven’ (pictured) provide a strong vertical element in the shrub border. They can also embellish an entryway or multiple plants can be used to create an evergreen hedge or windbreak. They also offer resistance to deer, extreme winter hardiness and good drought tolerance.
Common name: Upright blue juniper, Rocky Mountain blue juniper
Botanical name: Juniperus scopulorum; cultivars with strong shape and blue color include ‘Blue Heaven’, ‘Blue Arrow’ and ‘Wichita Blue’
Exposure: Full sun
Season: Year-round for silvery blue foliage and upright form
Foliage: Dense, stiff, short silvery blue needles. The blue color is most pronounced on ‘Wichita Blue’ and ‘Blue Heaven’, while ‘Blue Arrow’ is more of a dusky green-blue.
Habit: ‘Wichita Blue’ grows as a broad pyramid 10 to 15 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide at its base. ‘Blue Heaven’ has a columnar shape and it can reach 20 feet tall and 2 to 6 feet wide. Columnar ’Blue Arrow’ grows 12 to 15 feet tall and 2 feet wide.
Origins: These are selections of Juniperus scopulorum, a species native to the western Great Plains, the Interior West and the Southwest in the US, as well as western Canada.
How to grow upright blue junipers: Choose a site that will accommodate the shrub’s mature size. These junipers prefer sandy soils with good drainage and full sun. Once established they tolerate drought. They will not tolerate waterlogged soils. USDA Zones 3–7.