The Blue Arrow Juniper is a wonderful narrow accent plant, reaching 10 or 12 feet tall, while staying no more than 2 feet wide. It has dense foliage that is a rich silver-blue all year round, and this tree is hardy even in zone 4, making it a great substitute in colder regions for the Italian Cypress. Fast growing, adding 12 to 18 inches a year, It makes a beautiful specimen and focal point in any garden, from natural and xeric gardens to formal Mediterranean ones, as well as part of a collection of different decorative evergreens. It also looks great in planters and containers, where it will bring height to smaller spaces, without needing much horizontal room. Even on balconies it can be used to fill corners, creating a wonderful atmosphere.
- Extremely narrow vertical accent plant
- Strong silver-blue coloring all year round
- Cold hardy even in zone 4
- Very drought-resistant and heat tolerant
- Grows well even in poor, rocky soils
The Blue Arrow Juniper is extremely tough and easy to grow. Once established it is highly drought-resistant, and it is a perfect choice for low-water gardens, and rocky, semi-natural areas too. It will grow in any well-drained soil, including poor, sandy and rocky ones, and even in coastal areas, where it is resistant to salt-spray and salty winds. It normally has no pests or diseases, and as an American native-plant it fits well into natural areas too. It needs no clipping or trimming to maintain its tight, narrow profile for life, and once established it is extremely low-maintenance and a great choice for busy gardeners.
The Blue Arrow Juniper ticks all the boxes to be a great plant for any garden. Fast growing – 12 to 18 inches a year; a great shade of rich silver-blue; tough, reliable, cold-hardy and drought resistant; and the perfect accent plant with many uses around the garden. Most experts consider it superior to the similar Skyrocket Juniper, as it has the same intense coloring, but stays slimmer and a little smaller overall, while being just as easy to grow. It is fast growing and keeps its narrow profile without any trimming being needed at all.
A great specimen plant, the Blue Arrow Juniper is an evergreen tree that grows rapidly into a vertical pillar, 10 to 12 feet tall and just 2 feet wide after 10 years of growth. This narrow form is highly desirable, and it fits perfectly as an accent in an informal planting, as balanced pairs or groups in formal gardens, and as an ideal specimen for planters and pots. The most striking feature of this plant is the brilliant silver-blue foliage, rich and intense, which retains its color throughout the year, becoming even more intense in spring, when the new growth begins. This dramatic color blends perfectly in any color scheme, and with all the flowering trees and shrubs you might plant around it.
Growing Blue Arrow Junipers
The Blue Arrow Juniper has so many uses in the garden it is hard to know where to begin. At its simplest, plant one at the end of a long lawn, or to create a focal point for a view across your garden. Use it as an exclamation point in a bed of rounded shrubs and other flowering plants. By making the eye pause, you take in so much more of the garden scene. Plant a row for screening, to separate one part of the garden from another, and to emphasize a pathway or driveway. Depending on how far apart you plant them, the effect will be different. Spaced about 3 feet apart you will have an almost solid screen, like a slatted fence. With wider spacing – 5 to 15 feet – you will create an avenue effect. As well, it can be grown in more natural settings, on slopes and in rocky places, and as this is an American native plant, it fits perfectly into any natural garden.
Going in a different direction, you can plant the Blue Arrow Juniper with other, different, evergreens among gravel and rocks for an easy but attractive garden feature. In planters and boxes, it gives you great vertical height, and you can plant annual flowers around the base for a fuller, more colorful effect.
Not only is the Blue Arrow Juniper useful, it is also very easy to grow. It is hardy all the way through zone 4, and just as happy in hot zone 9, including the drier states. This makes it a great substitute for the Italian Cypress in colder areas, since that tree only grows into zone 7. With the same narrow, upright form, you can use the Blue Arrow Juniper to create a Mediterranean ambience in your garden, with trees balanced to frame a doorway or entrance, or planted in the four corners of a patio, terrace or courtyard.
Planting and Initial Care
This tough plant does best in full sun, where the blue coloring will also be more intense, and the foliage dense and tight. It grows in just about any soil, including poor, rocky soils, just so long as they do not stay wet for long periods – good drainage is essential. Water regularly when young, but once established this is a very drought resistant plant, surviving during long dry periods with ease. It is also generally free of pests and diseases, and rarely eaten by deer. Oh, and did we mention that it is also very resistant to salt spray? It is, and it grows well even in exposed coastal locations, so it’s a terrific choice for beach frontages too.
History and Origins of the Blue Arrow Juniper
The Blue Arrow Juniper is a selected form of the Rocky Mountain Juniper (juniperus scopulorum). This North American native-tree grows wild from Washington state to North Dakota, and south into Arizona and southern Texas. It also grows across the northern border in British Columbia, and south into Mexico. It is almost always found growing in dry soil in mountain regions, and its name ‘scopulorum’ means ‘of mountains’.
The wild tree grows between 15 to 20 feet tall, and it is very variable in shape, sometimes growing as a broad, angular shrub, and other times as a more erect tree. This means that seedlings show a lot of variation, and this is exactly how this variety was found, as a unique seedling among a batch growing at Pine Grove Nurseries, in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, in 1949. The seedling was much tighter and narrower than any other forms, and it was carefully preserved, and named ‘Blue Arrow’.