Junipers are a common sight in many flowerbeds and landscaped areas. They however are not commonly used in vegetable gardens for companion planting. But even without having them in the garden, they can still be good companions to some other common plants and herbs. In this article, we go over what some of the best companion plants are for juniper bushes and trees.
When picking out a companion plant for junipers it is important to keep in mind which type of juniper you are going to be planting.
Junipers come in several popular varieties. Junipers can be a low ground cover, a small shrub, or even a tree.
Which type you choose will determine the best companion plants to put near it. For example, you do not want to put your blueberry bush under a juniper tree but instead, choose a creeping juniper.
Do Junipers Kill Other Plants – Juniper Alleopathy
Often the question comes up: Are junipers toxic to other plants? The short answer is that they can, but not due to the reason that is commonly given.
Many times you will see that junipers will stop the growth of other plants around them due to allelopathy. Allelopathy with plants is where one plant releases a chemical that inhibits the growth of other plants around it. But according to research that has been done, allelopathy is not what stops most of the things from growing around a juniper. Instead, it is due to a build-up of litter that junipers produce.
There is little evidence that the accumulated litter of Ashe juniper in anyway alters the chemical nature of the soil as it relates to growth and development of other plants (Yager 1993). Soil chemical and physical properties are in fact “improved” by the presence of the juniper litter (Marshall 1995). No allelopathic effects have been shown to be produced by the litter. The major impact of the litter seems to be its physical presence and its alteration of hydrologic properties of the area under the canopy.Biology and ecology of Ashe juniper
Litter from junipers act like mulch. When you have too much litter from any plant or tree on the ground it can cause seeds not to sprout and inhibit the growth of some other plants.
In conclusion, juniper litter was found to effect emergence of bluebunch wheatgrass and bitterbrush. Allelochemical activity did not influence these two species. Increasing juniper litter depth showed a strong negative relationship with emergence, but had no impact on survival.The Effects of Juniper Litter Depth and Allelopathy on Two Native Species
Good Juniper Companion Plants
Junipers, like many evergreens, like acidic soil. So planting them with other plants that also like acidic soil is a great idea.
Blueberries are one of these possible garden companion plants that thrive with acidic soil, and they make a great option as a companion plant for a small spreading juniper bush that can act as a ground cover.
Bamboo is another common recommendation to plant with junipers. Just keep in mind that bamboo can be very invasive and has to regularly be cut back to avoid it taking over an area. Dwarf bamboo is a good choice as a juniper companion.
Lavender is an herb that can grow near junipers. And if you have a Blue Star Juniper the purple lavender next to the blue berries on a juniper can be quite eyecatching.
Frequently Asked Questions about Companion Plants for Junipers
Hostas can grow under junipers. The main thing to remember when growing hostas under junipers is to clean up any litter from the juniper so the hosta has a clear place to grow.
Related Articles for Juniper Companion Plants
- The Effects of Juniper Litter Depth and Allelopathy on Two Native Species; Journal of Undergraduate Research; 2013
- Physiological and Ecological Mechanisms of Allelopathy; Frontiersin.org; 2015
- Biology and ecology of Ashe juniper; Texas Natural Resources Server