The Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper (Juniperus Procumbens ‘Nana’) Care Guide


The Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper, otherwise known as the Juniperus Procumbens ‘Nana’ or Garden Juniper ‘Nana’, Japanese Garden Juniper ‘Nana’, or Decumbent Juniper ‘Nana’, is a rather famous shrub to 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 blue-green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

But if you prefer to watch a short video instead, check it out here:

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper are the following:

  • Water: The Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper needs at least weekly watering, or more in extreme heat, preferably with regular water.
  • Light: Keep your Juniperus Procumbens ‘Nana’ in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Dwarf Japanese Garden 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 Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Juniperus procumbens 'Nana' (Garden Juniper) Foliage

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper belongs to the Cupressaceae family, the genus Juniperus and the species Procumbens, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Juniperus Procumbens ‘Nana’ (ju-NIP-er-us pro-KUM-benz NAH-na).

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

Growing Region

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Juniperus Procumbens ‘Nana’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4a, 4b, 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.

Growth and Size

Growth

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

Size

But, how big does the Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Juniperus Procumbens ‘Nana’ can grow up to 6″ – 1′ (15cm – 30cm) in 6″ – 1′ (15cm – 30cm) and 5′ – 6′ (150cm – 180cm) in 5′ – 6′ (150cm – 180cm). 

These dimensions make the Dwarf Japanese Garden 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 72″ (180cm) free so the Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper can spread to its best extent.

Water

In terms of watering, the Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper is a fairly simple plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Juniperus Procumbens ‘Nana’ needs at least weekly watering, or more in extreme heat, preferably with regular water.

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

Juniperus procumbens 'Nana' (Garden Juniper) Plant

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Dwarf Japanese Garden 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. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Dwarf Japanese Garden 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.

This is why most experts agree that the Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper requires soil with loam (silt), sand, clay, high organic matter, and shallow rocky, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

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

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper requires partial to 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 Procumbens ‘Nana’ in full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being an evergreen plant, the Dwarf Japanese Garden 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 Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper have a beautiful blue-green color during most of the year. 

In particular, another noteworthy aspect of the foliage in this plant, is that it has a whorled organization in its leaves.

Juniperus procumbens 'Nana' (Garden Juniper) Care

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Dwarf Japanese Garden 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 Procumbens ‘Nana’ will be fine.

Garden

Now, let’s talk garden and how your Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper will look best in it.

Most Juniperus Procumbens ‘Nana’ 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, gravel and rock garden, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, banks and slopes, and in ground covers; others use it for landscaping in a hillside, coastal exposure, ground cover, mass planting, border, container, erosion control, specimen, green roof, or a topiary.

Companion Plants

Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Rosa, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

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

Conclusion

And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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