Creeping Juniper for a Hanging Basket?

Mister_AJuly 22, 2014

I'm moving into an apartment with a balcony covered by a pergola. Given our long, sometimes harsh winters and cloudy, wet warmer months, I thought a creeping juniper on a hook at the corner would brighten it up. Ideally, I want something that produces attractive berries in the warmer months, has a lively color in the winter, and hangs long enough to put the balcony in partial shade.

Doing some research, I thought juniperus horizontalis 'Blue Rug' would be great, but I am not sure if it is a good candidate for a hanging basket or not, since it seems to want a lot of space when planted in the ground. (I'm not sure if these will just restrict their growth to fit the pot or struggle terribly once the roots become potbound?)

Maybe I am worrying for nothing. Has anyone done this, and if this is a bad choice, are there other similar creeping juniper varieties that might thrive in this situation?

Thanks for any insight and information.

This post was edited by Mister_A on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 21:43

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i think you are on the cutting edge here... go for it.. keep us posted ...

but the bottom line is that conifers are trees ... and i cant think of one tree in a hanging basket that survived for long ...

and if you are in z5 ... well.. pots are hard to keep alive in winter... with or with out a tree in them ... something about them freezing solid .. and winter winds..etc ...

i am sure we would all enjoy speculating... but i highly doubt.. you will ever find someone who tried this .. in your zone ..

again... they are cheap plants ... go for it ..

ken

ps: potting media will be VERY important.. and it would be the cheap stuff that annuals and perennials thrive in .. water management.. year round.. will be important ... go for it ...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 4:48PM
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Mister_A

Thanks. I sort of expected an "are you kidding" answer. :) I was planning to use a mix primarily of the same cactus/palm/citrus soil I use for succulents, as I read junipers prefer sandy/fast-draining conditions and that cactus soil is a good choice.

Those are really my two issues, how juniper will handle being potbound and how to manage the climate. While researching, I did see some old articles describing creeping juniper as good choices for hanging baskets, so I figured it must not be totally insane, but I doubt they were talking about outdoors in New York.

The plant would be in a large, insulated black pot that receives direct sunlight for most of the day (fourth/top floor, south-east corner), shielded from the wind by its own branches and the wall. (We are also Zone 6 depending on which map you look at, but after this winter, I think all bets are off.)

I could always try mounting a planter against the side of the building instead, where the building's own heat loss would probably provide a few degrees of additional heating, but either way, it seems like an interesting challenge and one that should have a solution.

This post was edited by Mister_A on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 18:27

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:17PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

good on the media issue ... one issue down ...

as to any plant.. regarding winter.. GET IT DORMANT.. KEEP IT DORMANT... and it will survive dormancy.. aka winter...

your idea of use of radiant heat.. might interfere with it staying dormant ...

and i dont know if its own branches.. will keep a black pot cold in winter sun ...

ken

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:29PM
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Mister_A

So I'm on the right track with the soil? I was concerned that perhaps I'm making a choice that would let it dry out too easily in the winter and do some harm.

I see your point about the heat of the building. I was thinking in terms of (perhaps I'm kidding myself here) keeping the rootball from freezing solid if it was mounted against the building, but I hadn't considered that it might actually get too warm and come out of dormancy. I found another thread here on junipers that suggests keeping the soil below 42 but never below 25 is the goal.

My thinking re: the branches is that it being a creeper with hanging branches away from the windy side of the building, might help keep the temperature of the pot from changing too rapidly, especially as it gets some winter sun and then is outdoors all night. Maybe this is not really significant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Winterizing a new outdoor Juniper Bonsai

This post was edited by Mister_A on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 18:56

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:46PM
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