|Dear Information Center,
I plan to grow Shimpaku junipes on an empty lot in Chicago area for bonsai purpose. Although it is commonly referred in bonsai books as "Juniperus chinensis sargentii" or "Sargent's juniper", shimpaku has many varieties. For example, Japan's shimpaku grows slowly whereas Taiwan's shimpaku are fast growing. Would you help me find out what is the juniper in the US that has characteristics or similar characteristics of a shimpaku juniper, but fast growing. Thanks for your help.
I Ja Chan
|Shimpaku juniper is usually listed as a cultivar of Juniperus chinensis sargentii 'Shimpaku', but some list it as J. x media 'Shimpaku'. Proper name aside, Shimpaku juniper is a cultivated strain and it is likely that different forms of the plant are called Shimpaku in different areas as you suggest.
Our advice is to collect as many different strains as you can, from Japan, Taiwan, and elsewhere. Try growing some from seed. Interview the sources of these plants asking about their understanding of its growth habits and keep these notes. Grow these many different varieties and watch for the one that best suits your needs in Chicago. Such a process will take longer, but is the only way you'll know you have the best one.