Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Juniperus Indica

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch


Juniperus indica detail (18/02/2012, Kew, London)

Juniperus indica detail (18/02/2012, Kew, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Early spring

Soil: Well drained, moist

Eventual Height: 0.5m to 2m

Eventual Spread: 3m

Hardiness: 2a – 9b

Family: Cupressaceae

Juniperus indica is an evergreen coniferous shrub with a variable growth habit being prostrate and spreading or more bush in habit. Its leaves are dark green/ grey and, as with a lot of coniferous plants, has juvenile and mature forms of leaf. The juvenile are needle like and are up to 8mm long, the mature are scale like and up to 3mm long. The leaves are borne in whorls of three on strong stout main stem shoots. This species is dioecious, with male and female cones on separate plants. The glossy black mature female seed cones are ovoid, berry like, up to 10mm long and contain a single seed. 

Juniperus indica, commonly known as Black Juniper and Dhupi, is native to high altitudes in the Himalayas. It has been found growing at altitudes up to 5,200m making J. indica the highest growing woody plant species.

The etymological root of the binomial name Juniperus, is derived from the old Latin name for the Juniper tree. Indica is derived from the Latin meaning ‘from India’.

Juniperus indica (18/02/2012, Kew, London)

Juniperus indica (18/02/2012, Kew, London)

If available, the landscape architect may find the prostrate variety of Juniperus indica useful as an effective evergreen, low growing, ground cover plant.

Ecologically, J. indica’s fruit is attractive to birds which eat the flesh of the seeds. 

J. indica prefers moist, fertile well drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will not tolerate water logging.

J. indica requires little maintenance.


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