Juniperus chinensis, commonly called Chinese juniper, is a dioecious evergreen conifer that is native to China, Japan, Mongolia and the Himalayas. It is often seen in the wild as a conical tree to 50’ tall and 20’ wide, but also appears in much shorter shrubby or spreading forms. Foliage is dark green. Brown bark on mature stems peels in strips. Although species plants are rarely sold in commerce, a large number of cultivated varieties ranging in size from large trees to large/small shrubs to low-growing groundcovers have become popular ornamental landscape plants. Chinese juniper leaves come in two types: scale-like (adult) and awl/needle-like (juvenile). Cones (pollen and seed-bearing) appear on different plants. Male plants produce catkin-like pollen cones. Female plants produce fleshy, berry-like, whitish-blue seed cones that usually acquire violet-brown tones as they mature over two years.
No serious insect or disease problems. Junipers are generally susceptible to tip and needle blights. Cedar-apple rust and related rust diseases spend part of their life cycle on junipers. Root rot may occur, particularly in wet, poorly drained soils. Canker may attack bark or main stems. Occasional insect pests include aphids, bagworms, webworms and scale.