The Complete Guide for Grey Owl Juniper (Juniperus Virginiana ‘Grey Owl’) Care


The Grey Owl Juniper, otherwise known as the Juniperus Virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ or Eastern Red Cedar ‘Grey Owl’, Juniper ‘Grey Owl’, Juniperus ‘Grey Owl’, Juniperus chinensis ‘Grey Owl’, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its gray-green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Grey Owl Juniper Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Grey Owl Juniper are the following:

  • Water: The Grey Owl Juniper grows best in soil that is always moist.
  • Light: Keep your Juniperus Virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Grey Owl Juniper in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Grey Owl Juniper this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Juniperus virginiana Grey Owl plants

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Grey Owl Juniper belongs to the Cupressaceae family, the genus Juniperus and the species Virginiana, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Juniperus Virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ (ju-NIP-er-us vir-jin-ee-AH-na).

As with other Juniperus’s, the Grey Owl Juniper is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

You might be wondering why your Grey Owl Juniper’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Juniperus Virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A3.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Grey Owl Juniper is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But what exactly does this mean for your Grey Owl Juniper? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Juniperus Virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ can grow up to 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) in 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) and 4′ – 6′ (120cm – 180cm) in 4′ – 6′ (120cm – 180cm). 

These dimensions make the Grey Owl Juniper a relatively large shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 60″ – 72″ (150cm – 180cm) free so the Grey Owl Juniper can spread to its best extent.

Water

In terms of watering, the Grey Owl Juniper is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Juniperus Virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ grows best in soil that is always moist.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively low to average needs in terms of water. 

Juniperus virginiana Grey Owl up close

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Grey Owl Juniper in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Grey Owl Juniper is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Grey Owl Juniper prefers to have soil with good drainage properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Grey Owl Juniper requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Juniperus Virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ in full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being an evergreen plant, the Grey Owl Juniper will be present year round in your garden.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.

Foliage

The leaves from the Grey Owl Juniper have a beautiful gray-green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a needles arrangement in its leaves.

Juniperus virginiana Grey Owl plant with flower

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Grey Owl Juniper is well known for its tolerance to rocky soil, dry soil, drought and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Juniperus Virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ will be fine.

Garden

Now, let’s talk garden and how your Grey Owl Juniper will look best in it.

Most Juniperus Virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ owners agree that this shrub will look great in most contemporary, asian/zen and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Grey Owl Juniper’s best use for landscaping within your garden is as mass planting, hedge, coastal exposure, border, erosion control, ground cover, or a wildlife garden.

Companion Plants

Grey Owl Juniper’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Berberis, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Rosa will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Grey Owl Juniper in your garden or home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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