Growing and caring for creeping juniper (Juniperus sabina)

If you do not yet know this wonderful conifer known as creeping juniper it was time. Because it’s a great option to help you fill those empty spaces in the garden and make it look perfect or also to define the paths in a different way. Whatever limit your imagination sets.

Dare to discover this plant which, in addition to being very easy to maintain, has a color that will blend perfectly with the environment where you place it.


Origin and characteristics of creeping juniper

To better understand what the Creeping Sabine’s needs will be, it is important that you first know its characteristics. This way you will better understand how you should take care of it so that it always looks good.

read more: Juniper phoeniceaa conifer for the Mediterranean


  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Division: Pinophyta
  • Class: Pinopside
  • Order: Pinales
  • Family: Cupressaceae
  • Genre: junipers

sabina juniper it’s a creeping bush It comes from the cold climates of Asia and Europe. It grows naturally in central and southern Europe, as well as in western Asia and northern Africa.

In Spain is found in the mountains of the interior, more precisely in the eastern half and in the Cantabrian Mountains.

It grows on mountain peaks between 900 and 2,750 meters above sea level, dry places next to other plants such as Scots pine or juniper, among many others. It is a shrub that can reach a height between 1 and 2 meters, although it depends if it is located in a very windy area. In this case, it will not take off much from the ground.

It has long branches that grow horizontally and its bark is reddish brown or ash brown. Creeping juniper is a evergreen shrub whose leaves are green or bluish green in the form of overlapping scales.

blooms during the month of April and throughout the summer it bears fruit. These flowers are monoecious: on the one hand, the males gather in cones, appearing at the ends of the branches; while the females are formed in solitary cones with opposite scales and appear on short twigs.

This plant produces round, short-stemmed, bluish fruits that are very pretty and decorative, but very poisonous. Great care must therefore be taken to not to be confused with juniper berries. Inside these fruits there can be up to 3 seeds.

The type of foliage sabina juniper gives off a unpleasant peculiar smell when crumpled. From this feature comes the name fetid juniper.

read more: cultivation and properties of juniper (Juniperus communis)

Juniper sabina ‘Variegata’. Photography: Athantor

What is the care of the Creeping Sabina?

location and temperature

The creeping juniper is a plant that will need always outside. To develop optimally, you can place it in an area with full sun, although it also tolerates medium shade. This second option is highly recommended if you live in a region with low altitude and intense sunshine.

It’s a bush that resists the cold very well and frost down to -18°C.

Substrate and subscriber

Depending on where you are going to plant your juniper, it will require one type of care or another.

If in your case you are going to grow it in a pot with a good universal substrate, it will be able to grow well. On the other hand, if you want to plant it in the garden, you should know that prefers calcareous soils although it also tolerates sandy and rocky soils. And it also does well on soils low in nutrients and organic matter.

It is advised that during spring and summer months Fertilize your juniper with organic fertilizers like guano, mulch, or compost. If it is in a pot, you can use liquid fertilizers, always taking care to follow the instructions on the container.


Concerning the watering of this plant, it is an important point which it is necessary to control very well, because can’t stand overcrowding but even less drought. This is why it is important that the substrate you use or the area where you are going to plant it has the ability to absorb water quickly.

You will have to water it alone when the substrate is almost dry, and this will largely depend on the region and climate where you live. Well, in an area where it rains regularly, irrigation will be rather scarce precisely to prevent it from flooding. Whereas if you rather live in an area where there are months when it hardly rains, you will have to give it more often.

To avoid possible problems, we recommend that you check the humidity of the soil before watering the plant, either with a wooden stick or with a digital moisture meter.


It’s a plant sensitive to size due to slow healing, care must therefore be taken not to prune too severely.

Juniperus sabina is usually pruned towards the end of winter. What you will have to do is remove those branches that you see dry, weak or broken and take the opportunity to trim those that are too long. For this type of maintenance you can use secateurs that you will have previously disinfected with alcohol or a few drops of dishwashing liquid.

If you perform both maintenance pruning and training pruning, you will enjoy a healthy, beautiful juniper for many years.

sabina juniper ‘Rockery Gem’. Photography: Afro-Brazilian

What’s its use Juniper Sabina?

These types of plants have different uses, the one you probably have in mind is the decorative or ornamental, but maybe you don’t know about the medicinal properties of creeping juniper.

Juniper Sabina It can be used as a decorative plant in your garden, balcony or terrace. Also, did you see that it is a plant quite easy to maintain and it requires little maintenance. It can be perfect for delineating paths and walkways or in other areas of the garden where you think it can give a different look.

It is also a plant has medicinal use, using its essential oil to help relieve attacks of rheumatism and fight warts. Its oil has disinfectant and antiseptic properties.

It is important to note that care must be taken contains sabinolan alcohol that can cause death.

Cover photo: Juniperus sabina at Kenkävero. Mikkeli, Finland. Author: Tiia Monto

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