The wood of juniper is sometimes used as incense because of its strong fragrance.

How to Care for Blue Star Juniper

by Jasey Kelly

"Blue Star" juniper (Juniperus squamata "Blue Star") grows only 2 to 3 feet tall and can create an icy blue border or accent in a full-sun flower bed or rock garden. This low, spreading juniper reaches up to 4 feet wide and is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. Like many other junipers, "Blue Star" isn't particularly needy when it comes to care. Dedicated care during the first year and a few general guidelines will keep this plant healthy.

1. Planting Time

1 Spread organic material, such as high-quality compost, approximately 2 to 3 inches deep over an area three times wider than the diameter of your "Blue Star" root ball during autumn. Organic material helps improve drainage and the soil structure while breaking down over time to feed your juniper. Like other junipers, "Blue Star" prefers an organically rich, well-drained soil.

2. Planting Time

2 Till the compost-covered area to a few inches deeper than the root ball of your "Blue Star." This wider and slightly deeper, loosened soil allows the roots of your juniper to spread more easily and grow stronger.

3. Planting Time

3 Dig the planting hole slightly larger than the root ball and just deep enough to where the crown of the roots sticks above the soil line.

4. Planting Time

4 Break up the roots of container-grown plants with your fingers and place it in the planting hole. Balled-and-burlapped "Blue Stars" can be planted in the burlap within the hole.

5. Care Regimen

1 Water every third day or so during the first growing season. Water the roots deeply and extensively; set your garden hose near the base of the shrub and let it run at a moderate flow for approximately 20 minutes during each watering session. Reduce watering if you are getting sufficient rainfall.

6. Care Regimen

2 Apply an organic, all-purpose fertilizer in the first late winter or early spring before the new growth emerges on your "Blue Star." In general, application rates are approximately 1 tablespoon of a 10-10-10 fertilizer for 1-gallon plants and 2 to 3 tablespoons for larger shrubs.

7. Care Regimen

3 Reduce watering in subsequent years, striving only to keep the soil moist near the roots. "Blue Star" is drought tolerant once established. Once established, fertilizing should only be done as needed and not routinely.

Items you will need

  • Organic compost
  • Roto-tiller
  • Shovel
  • Garden hose
  • Organic all-purpose fertilizer

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images