Creeping Juniper (Juniperus Horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’): A Comprehensive Guide

As a plant scientist, I’m excited to share insights on the fascinating and versatile creeping juniper, also known as Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the culture, uses, maintenance, and interesting facts about this ground-hugging evergreen plant. Whether you’re a novice gardener or a seasoned horticulturist, this guide will provide valuable information for everyone interested in the care and cultivation of creeping juniper.

What is Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’)?

Creeping juniper, scientifically known as Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’, is a low-growing evergreen shrub that belongs to the Cupressaceae family. This plant is characterized by its creeping habit and needle-like foliage, making it a popular choice for ground cover and landscaping purposes. The ‘Bar Harbor’ variety is highly valued for its striking foliage color and adaptability to various growing conditions, making it a versatile addition to gardens, rockeries, and slopes.

Key Takeaways

Before we delve into the details of creeping juniper care, let’s take a quick look at the key takeaways that will be covered in this comprehensive guide:

  1. Creeping Juniper Care: Understanding the essential requirements for cultivating creeping juniper.
  2. Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’: Exploring the specific characteristics and features of the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety.
  3. Bar Harbor Juniper Plant: Discovering the uses and applications of this juniper variety in landscaping and gardening.
  4. Juniperus horizontalis Characteristics: Understanding the unique growth habits and features of Juniperus horizontalis.
  5. Groundcover Juniper Varieties: Exploring the role of creeping juniper as a ground-hugging plant and its alternatives.
  6. Creeping Juniper Maintenance: Learning about the maintenance practices required to keep creeping juniper thriving.
  7. Bar Harbor Juniper Care Tips: Practical tips for caring for and nurturing the Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’.
  8. Juniperus Horizontalis Growth Habits: Understanding the growth patterns and habits of this low-growing juniper species.
  9. Low Maintenance Juniper Plants: Exploring the suitability of creeping juniper for low-maintenance landscapes and gardens.
  10. Juniperus Horizontalis Landscaping Ideas: Creative ideas for incorporating creeping juniper into landscaping projects.
  11. Bar Harbor Juniper Planting Guide: Step-by-step guidance for planting and establishing the ‘Bar Harbor’ juniper.
  12. Pruning Creeping Juniper: Essential pruning techniques for maintaining the desired shape and health of creeping juniper.
  13. Juniperus Horizontalis Groundcover Uses: Exploring the diverse uses of Juniperus horizontalis as a groundcover plant.
  14. Juniperus Horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’ Features: Highlighting the distinctive features and attributes of the ‘Bar Harbor’ juniper variety.
  15. Creeping Juniper Groundcover: Understanding the role of creeping juniper as an effective groundcover plant.

Now that we have a clear roadmap of the topics we’ll be covering, let’s dive into the specifics of cultivating and caring for creeping juniper.


Understanding the cultural requirements of creeping juniper is essential for ensuring its optimal growth and development. From soil preferences to pruning techniques, let’s explore the key cultural considerations for cultivating Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’.


Creeping juniper, particularly the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety, thrives in well-drained soil and is relatively drought-tolerant once established. When initially planting or transplanting the juniper, it’s important to ensure adequate moisture to support root establishment. However, once the plant is established, it typically requires minimal supplemental watering, especially in regions with sufficient rainfall.

Watering Tips:
– Water deeply but infrequently to encourage deep root growth.
– Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues.
– Monitor soil moisture levels during hot and dry periods, and water if necessary to prevent excessive stress on the plant.


Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’ exhibits a preference for full sun exposure, although it can tolerate partial shade in certain growing conditions. To promote the best foliage color and overall vigor, it’s recommended to plant creeping juniper in a location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Sunlight Considerations:
– Select a sunny spot with well-drained soil for optimal growth and color development.
– Monitor the plant’s response to sunlight exposure and adjust location if necessary to achieve the desired growth habits and foliage coloration.
– In regions with intense heat, partial shade during the hottest part of the day can help protect the plant from excessive stress.


One of the appealing aspects of creeping juniper, particularly the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety, is its ability to thrive in relatively nutrient-poor soil. As a result, fertilization requirements for this plant are generally minimal. However, a light application of balanced fertilizer in the spring can provide a nutrient boost to support healthy growth and foliage density.

Fertilization Guidelines:
– Apply a well-balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formulation, in early spring before new growth emerges.
– Use a slow-release fertilizer to provide continuous nutrient availability without the risk of over-fertilizing.
– Avoid excessive fertilization, as this can lead to rapid, weak growth and increased susceptibility to certain pests and diseases.


Creeping juniper, including the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety, thrives in a wide range of soil types, provided that the soil is well-drained and not overly compacted. It can tolerate sandy, loamy, or rocky soils, making it a versatile option for various landscape settings.

Soil Preferences:
– Ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogging and root rot issues.
– Amend heavy clay soils with organic matter to improve drainage and aeration.
– Avoid planting in consistently wet or waterlogged soil, as this can lead to root suffocation and poor plant performance.


Regular pruning is an important aspect of maintaining the desired shape, density, and overall health of creeping juniper, especially in the case of the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety. Proper pruning techniques can help rejuvenate the plant, remove dead or diseased growth, and control its spread in landscape settings.

Pruning Tips:
– Conduct light pruning throughout the growing season to shape the plant and encourage lateral growth.
– Remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches as soon as they are noticed to prevent the spread of issues and maintain plant health.
– Avoid severe pruning that removes all the foliage from the lower portions of the plant, as this can lead to unsightly bare patches.


Creeping juniper, including the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety, can be propagated through various methods, such as stem cuttings and layering. Propagation is a practical way to expand your juniper collection or share this beautiful plant with fellow gardening enthusiasts.

Propagation Techniques:
– Stem Cuttings: Select healthy, non-flowering stems in early summer, dip them in a rooting hormone, and plant them in a well-draining propagation medium. Keep the cuttings consistently moist until roots develop.
– Layering: Gently bend a low-hanging branch to the ground, make a small incision on the underside, and secure it in place with a small rock or stake. Roots will form at the point of contact with the soil, and the rooted stem can be separated and transplanted once sufficiently established.

Container Popularity

The low-growing and spreading nature of creeping juniper, especially the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety, makes it well-suited for container gardening. Its cascading growth habit and striking foliage color make it an attractive choice for adding visual interest to outdoor containers, patios, and even rooftops or balconies.

Container Gardening Tips:
– Select a well-draining pot or container with adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
– Choose a potting mix specifically designed for container plants to provide optimal growing conditions.
– Monitor moisture levels regularly, as containers can dry out more quickly than garden beds, especially during hot weather.

Common Diseases

Like many plants, creeping juniper, including the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety, is susceptible to certain diseases that can impact its overall health and appearance. Understanding the common diseases and their associated symptoms is essential for effective management and prevention.

Common Juniper Diseases:
Phomopsis Blight: Characterized by tan to brown lesions on the foliage and stems, often leading to dieback and weakened plant vigor.
Kabatina Tip Blight: Causes browning and dieback of the tips of branches, typically affecting new growth.
Rust Diseases: Manifest as yellow to orange spots or pustules on the foliage, leading to reduced photosynthetic capacity and overall plant health.
Root Rot: Soil-borne pathogens can lead to root rot, particularly in poorly-drained or waterlogged soil conditions, resulting in wilting, yellowing foliage, and eventual plant decline.

Disease Diagnosis

Proper diagnosis of plant diseases is crucial for implementing targeted management strategies and preventing the spread of issues to other plants within the landscape. If you notice any abnormal symptoms on your creeping juniper, such as discoloration, wilting, or unusual growth patterns, it’s important to carefully inspect the plant and consider consulting with a professional to accurately identify the issue.

Diagnosis Steps:
– Observe and document the specific symptoms, including the color, pattern, and location of any abnormalities on the plant.
– Take note of environmental conditions, such as recent weather patterns, watering practices, and soil moisture levels.
– Consider consulting with a local extension service or experienced horticulturist to facilitate accurate disease diagnosis and targeted management recommendations.

Common Pests

While creeping juniper, including the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety, is relatively resistant to pest infestations, it can occasionally encounter certain insect nuisances that may impact its growth and appearance. Being aware of common pests and their associated symptoms can help you proactively address any issues that may arise.

Common Juniper Pests:
Juniper Scale (Carulaspis juniperi): Small, immobile insects that often appear as white or brown waxy coverings on the stems and foliage, sucking sap from the plant and causing yellowing or browning of the affected areas.
Bagworms (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis): Caterpillars that construct spindle-shaped bags in which they reside, feeding on the foliage of juniper and other host plants, potentially causing extensive damage if left unmanaged.
Spider Mites: Tiny arachnids that may infest juniper foliage, causing stippling, yellowing, or bronzing of the leaves as they feed on plant sap.

Botanist’s Tips

As a seasoned botanist, I’ve had the opportunity to study and appreciate the unique characteristics of creeping juniper, including the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety. Here are some practical tips to enhance your experience with this fascinating plant:

  1. Site Selection: Choose a well-drained, sunny location for optimal growth and foliage coloration.
  2. Minimalist Maintenance: Embrace the low-maintenance nature of creeping juniper, and avoid excessive fertilization or pruning.
  3. Water Wisely: While creeping juniper is relatively drought-tolerant, adequate moisture is crucial during the establishment phase.
  4. Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Regularly inspect your juniper plants for any signs of pest activity or disease symptoms, and take prompt action if necessary.
  5. Creative Uses: Explore the diverse applications of creeping juniper in various landscape settings, such as cascading over rock walls, accentuating borders, or providing ground cover on slopes.

Fun Facts

To further deepen our appreciation for the remarkable characteristics of creeping juniper, especially the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety, let’s explore some fascinating fun facts about this versatile plant:

  • Historical Significance: Juniper has been associated with various cultural and historical uses, including its role in traditional medicine, spiritual rituals, and the production of gin and essential oils.
  • Longevity: Many juniper species, including Juniperus horizontalis, are known for their exceptional longevity, with some individuals living for centuries and developing intricate, gnarled trunks over time.
  • Wildlife Habitat: Creeping juniper provides valuable habitat and food sources for a diverse range of wildlife, including birds, small mammals, and insects, contributing to the biodiversity of natural ecosystems.

Links to External Resources

For those interested in delving deeper into the world of creeping juniper and expanding their knowledge, I’ve curated a selection of reputable external resources that offer valuable information and insights:

  1. The American Conifer Society: A comprehensive resource for conifer enthusiasts, offering in-depth information on juniper species, cultivation tips, and conservation efforts.
  2. University Extension Services: Local extension services provide region-specific guidance on plant care, pest management, and disease prevention, tailored to your specific growing conditions.
  3. Royal Horticultural Society’s Plant Finder: An invaluable tool for discovering diverse juniper varieties, including the ‘Bar Harbor’ cultivar, and accessing detailed plant profiles that aid in informed decision-making.

In conclusion, creeping juniper, particularly the ‘Bar Harbor’ variety, stands out as a resilient, visually striking, and versatile plant that lends itself to a wide array of landscape applications. By understanding its cultural requirements, maintenance practices, and unique characteristics, gardeners and horticulture enthusiasts can fully appreciate the beauty and functionality of this exceptional evergreen. Whether used as a groundcover, cascading over rock features, or nestled in a container garden, Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’ brings enduring charm and practicality to outdoor spaces.

As we continue to explore the diverse world of plants and their captivating attributes, may the allure of creeping juniper inspire a deeper appreciation for the natural wonders that enrich our lives and the environments we cultivate.


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Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.