Think of the Welch juniper as a good-looking Westerner, new in town, with the power to soothe your worries and solve your troubles.
This slender, upright evergreen is a cultivar of Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum), and it thrives in dry, sunny spots where other plants simply bake.
‘Welchii’ is reminiscent of the columnar ‘Skyrocket’ (another cultivar of the species), but with softer foliage and a slightly wider habit. Its silvery-green foliage can take on a blue hue, especially in winter, and it carries small blue-gray berries that take two to three years to mature.
Common name: Welch juniper
Botanical name: Juniperus scopulorum ‘Welchii’
Plant type: Evergreen
Zones: 3 to 9
Height: 8 to 20 feet
• Sun: Full sun
• Soil: Thrives in dry, rocky soil
• Moisture: Average to dry; won’t tolerate wet soil or high humidity
• Mulch: None needed
• Pruning: None needed
• Fertilizer: None needed
Pests and diseases
• Common problems with juniper blights and cankers; alternate host for cedar-apple rust
• Deer resistant
• One or two ‘Welchii’ can be attractive accents in a small garden without taking up much room, throwing much shade or requiring much in the way of maintenance.
• Its dense foliage works as a privacy screen; plant several at about 4 feet apart to form a hedge or windbreak.
• Like other evergreens, Welch juniper attracts songbirds and other wildlife.
• The foliage of many Rocky Mountain junipers has a blue color or tint that often intensifies in cold weather.
All in the family
• The juniper is a member of Cupressaceae, the cypress family. Redwoods also belong to this family, which is the most widely distributed conifer family, found on all continents except Antarctica.
• There are many Rocky Mountain juniper cultivars available, including ‘Blue Trail’, ‘Gray Gleam’ and ‘Tolleson’s Blue Weeping’.
• Most Juniperus scopulorum cultivars have a columnar habit, but there are a few groundcovers.
Where to buy
• Sooner Plant Farm, soonerplantfarm.com
Photo by Curators of the University of Missouri