Trees

Juniperus phoenicea

The Juniperus phoenicea is an ideal conifer garden located in temperate and dry regions, and also is able to withstand light frosts without problems. Its growth rate is rather slow, thus allowing us to control its development and give it the shape that we most want.

And if we talk about its resistance to insects that cause pests and diseases, we will not have to worry about it, at least not too much. But we better tell you everything in more detail below.

Origin and characteristics

Image – Wikimedia/ Sten

Our protagonist is a conifer native to the Mediterranean region whose scientific name is Juniperus phoenicea, although it is popularly known as black juniper or soft juniper. It can reach a height of up to 8 meters, and has dense, evergreen foliage that forms a very branchy round or oval crown. Male and female cones are normally produced on the same plant, but sometimes they are produced on different specimens.

It blooms in late winter or spring, but its fruits do not finish ripening until the second year. They are greenish at first, and then turn red.

What are their cares?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you provide the following care:

Location

The smooth juniper is a tree that must be grown outdoors, in full sun. Of course, although it is not invasive, it is advisable to plant it at a minimum distance of 5 meters from pipes, paved floors, etc. just in case.

Earth

  • Garden: adapts to all types of soils, but prefers limestone with good drainage.
  • Pot: it is not a species to grow in a pot throughout its life; However, as it grows slowly, it can be grown for several years in a universal growing medium mixed with 20% perlite.

Irrigation

  • Garden: being a Mediterranean conifer, it is prepared to withstand drought once it has been planted in the ground for at least a year. Therefore, we will water 2-3 times a week in summer and once every 6-7 days the rest of the year, but only the first twelve months. Later, we will be able to space out the risks.
  • Pot: having a limited amount of soil, watering is a task that we will always have to do, on a regular basis. So, we will give you water 3-4 times a week in summer, and every 4-5 days the rest.

In any case, it is advisable to use rainwater or water without a lot of lime, especially if it is in a pot, because although it can tolerate lime without problems, an excess of it could harm it.

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Guano powder.

As important as water is compost. The Juniperus phoenicea is growing for much of the year, so you need a regular supply of “food” from spring to early autumn. Taking this into account, we will pay once a month with organic fertilizers, such as guano, worm humus, or manure from herbivorous animals such as chicken or cow. If we are lucky and we get them fresh, we will let them dry in the sun for about 10 days.

If it is in a pot, we will use liquid fertilizers, following the indications specified on the product packaging as there could be a risk of overdose.

Multiplication

It multiplies by seeds in autumn, since it needs to spend some cold to germinate in spring. The way to proceed is as follows:

  1. First, we will fill a pot of about 10.5 cm in diameter or a forest seedling tray with a universal growing medium mixed with 30% perlite.
  2. Then, we water conscientiously and sprinkle copper or sulfur to avoid the appearance of fungi, which could spoil them.
  3. Next, we sow the seeds, ensuring that they are not piled up, ideally putting no more than 2 in each pot of that size or alveolus.
  4. The next step is to cover them with a thin layer of substrate, and water again, this time with a sprayer.
  5. Finally, we place the seedbed outside, in semi-shade.

Letting nature take its course, and keeping the substrate moist, will germinate as temperatures improve.

Pruning

It is pruned in late winter. We will remove the dry, diseased or weak branches, and we will cut those that are having an exaggerated growth.

Planting time

Image – Wikimedia/ Balles2601

We will plant it at the end of winter, when the risk of frost has passed.

Plagues and diseases

Very resistant, but it is sensitive to excess watering. It is important to avoid waterlogging so that opportunistic fungi such as phytophthora do not rot the roots. For this reason, it is recommended to do preventive treatments in spring and summer with copper-based fungicides, following the steps indicated on the package.

Rusticity

It resists without problems the frosts of up to -18ºC and the maximum temperatures of up to 40ºC as long as you have water at your disposal.

What uses does it have?

Image – Wikimedia/ Jeantosti

The Juniperus phoenicea is a conifer used as isolated specimen, in groups or as a hedge. Also as a potted plant for many years.

What are you waiting for to get one?

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