The Q&A Archives: Evergreen ground cover

Question: My husband saw this ground cover in Kansas while delivering his load. It's green in the winter-grows very low-3/4 inches, and it creeps long arms of "evergreen" looking needle-like leaves. We think it would be perfect for the area in back of the house where we had septic and fields put in last year. We live in southern Missouri in the Ozark Mtns. so our "dirt" is rock and clay. Hope you can identify this mystery plant for us!

Answer: There are several evergreen groundcovers that your husband may have seen. A likely possibility is one of the Junipers which are commonly available. The ground cover types vary slightly in height and spread as well as color. Immensely popular in landscape usage is the Blue Rug Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'Wiltonii') which grows 5-10" and spreads 5-6' with bluish foliage. Similar cultivars include Bar Harbor and Prince of Wales (green color), and Plumosa Youngstown which turns purplish in winter. Also popular is Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper (Juniperus procumbens 'Nana') with blue-green foliage, growing a foot tall, and spreading 5-6'.

Because of your soil conditions this may be the best bet for your home: Blue Chip Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'Blue Chip') which also displays blue foliage in summer taking on a purplish tinge in winter. It withstands hot situations and is tolerant of heavy soils. It grows 8-10" tall and spreads 8-10' wide. Hope this helps!

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