Plant Encyclopedia

Montana Moss®

Juniperus chinensis

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Montana Moss® Juniperus chinensis

Discover More Information On Montana Moss®

Immerse yourself in the natural splendor of the Montana Moss® Juniper, scientifically known as Juniperus chinensis, a robust and versatile shrub that is as resilient as it is visually striking. This low-growing evergreen is a masterpiece of texture and color, bringing to mind the softness of moss or the enigmatic beauty of the sea's depths. Perfect for full sun exposures, it basks in the light, showcasing its soft blue-green foliage all year round.

The Montana Moss® is not just about its lush and tactile appeal; it's a plant of practicality and endurance. Thriving in hardiness zones 4 through 9, it demonstrates a remarkable tolerance to cold, making it a reliable perennial across a diverse range of climates. Whether it’s spring's promise, summer's blaze, fall's transition, or winter's chill, this juniper remains a constant, delivering unwavering interest throughout the seasons.

Plant Attributes

The Montana Moss® Juniper, with its evergreen shrubbery status, is a treasure in the garden that stands out for its easy-care nature and enduring beauty. Its short stature, typically growing between 24 to 48 inches tall, makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a low-profile yet impactful landscaping element. The shrub’s spread is equally modest, extending 36 to 60 inches, which allows it to fill space without overwhelming its surroundings. The foliage presents a delightful palette of greens, primarily a captivating blue-green shade that offers a serene visual break in any garden.

This plant’s spreading habit gives it a fluid appearance, often used to great effect as a spiller in containers, softening the edges with its feathery texture. It requires a sunny spot in the garden, flourishing under the full sun where it can bask in six or more hours of sunlight daily, though it can also tolerate part sun conditions of four to six hours. The plant is not only visually appealing but also pragmatic. As a low-maintenance selection, it grows well for foliage rather than flowers, making it an excellent choice for gardeners who prefer a lush, green look throughout the year without the wait for blooms.

Landscape Use

The Montana Moss® Juniper offers a multitude of landscaping uses, demonstrating its versatility in various garden designs and applications:

  • Groundcover: Its ability to spread moderately allows it to provide a lush, carpet-like effect, filling in areas between other plantings or covering less desirable soil with its attractive blue-green foliage.
  • Border Planting: The shrub's dense foliage and spreading habit make it an excellent choice for defining the edges of garden beds, walkways, or as a transition between different sections of the landscape.
  • Edging: For pathways or garden outlines, Montana Moss® can be planted in a row to create a tidy, low-maintenance edge that provides structure and continuity.
  • Lawn Substitute: In regions where water conservation is essential, or for gardeners seeking a low-care alternative to traditional turf, this juniper serves as an attractive lawn substitute.
  • Mass Planting: Utilize it in large groups to form a uniform appearance in the landscape, which can be particularly impactful in commercial or public spaces for easy care and cohesive aesthetics.
  • Specimen or Focal Point: Although typically known for its utility in mass, the unique texture and color of Montana Moss® make it a striking specimen plant, especially when strategically placed to showcase its form.
  • Landscape Filler: In mixed shrub borders or under taller trees, it can fill in the gaps, creating a full, multi-layered garden design.
  • Rock Gardens: Its tolerance for dry conditions and good drainage makes it a perfect companion for rock gardens, complementing the stones with its soft foliage.
  • Coastal Exposure: The juniper's hardiness is ideal for coastal areas where salt spray and windy conditions can limit planting choices.
  • Erosion Control: Its root system helps stabilize slopes and banks, preventing soil erosion while providing greenery.
  • Container Gardens: As a 'spiller' element in larger pots or containers, Montana Moss® can soften edges and add year-round interest.
  • Xeriscaping: With low water requirements once established, it is a fitting selection for xeriscaped gardens focused on drought tolerance.

In each of these uses, Montana Moss® Juniper brings not only its visual appeal but also practical benefits such as low maintenance requirements and resilience, making it a valuable addition to diverse landscapes.

Planting & Care

Planting and caring for the Montana Moss® Juniper (Juniperus chinensis) is relatively straightforward, making it a desirable choice for gardeners of all skill levels. Here’s how to ensure your Montana Moss® thrives:

Planting Instructions:

  • Location: Choose a site with full sun to part sun, meaning at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily, though 6+ hours is ideal.
  • Soil: Ensure the planting area has well-draining soil. Junipers do not like 'wet feet' and can suffer in overly moist conditions.
  • Planting Depth: Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Set the plant in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
  • Spacing: If planting multiple shrubs, space them about 3-5 feet apart to allow for their mature spread.
  • Backfill: Fill in around the root ball with native soil mixed with some compost to give the plant a good start. Avoid piling soil on top of the root ball.
  • Water: After planting, water thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets.

Care Instructions:

  • Watering: While the Montana Moss® is drought tolerant once established, it will need regular watering during the first growing season to develop a deep root system. Afterward, water occasionally, more frequently in extreme heat or if planted in containers.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base to retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Fertilizing: Generally, Montana Moss® Juniper does not require much fertilization. If growth seems slow, you can apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring.
  • Pruning: Pruning is not typically necessary for this juniper unless you wish to shape it or control its spread. If you do prune, do so in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
  • Pests/Diseases: Keep an eye out for common juniper pests such as spider mites or scale. Treat infestations early with appropriate horticultural oils or insecticides.
  • Winter Care: In colder regions, the juniper may benefit from a bit of extra mulch to protect the roots during the winter months.
  • Maintenance: Overall maintenance is minimal. Remove any dead or damaged branches as you notice them to keep the plant healthy.

By following these planting and care guidelines, your Montana Moss® Juniper should become a resilient and attractive part of your landscape for many years to come.

Additional Information

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Montana Moss®


Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Watering Needs: Low once established; requires good drainage.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: joo-NIP-er-us chi-NEN-sis
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Evergreen
  • Growth rate: Moderate
  • Average landscape size: Mature size is moderate, reaching 2-4’ in height with a spread of 3-5’.
  • Special features: Border Plant, Edging Plant, Groundcover, Landscape, Lawn Substitute, Mass Planting, Specimen or Focal Point, Deer Resistant, Winter Interest
  • Dramatic Foliage: Not applicable
  • Foliage color: Blue-green
  • Blooms: Grown for foliage
  • Flower color: Not applicable
  • Flower attributes: Not applicable
  • Garden style: Asian/Zen, Contemporary, Mediterranean, Rustic
  • Design Ideas: Ideal for creating a serene groundcover in Zen gardens, as a contrasting border in Mediterranean themes, or as a rustic, low-maintenance feature in contemporary landscapes. Suited for mass planting, specimen planting in rockeries, or as a landscape filler in coastal conditions.
  • Companion Plants: Complements a variety of plants, such as ornamental grasses, perennials, and broadleaf shrubs.


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