Description & Overview

Canaert Juniper is a compact, pyramidal evergreen that has a fluffy appearance and conical form when young. As the plant matures, long, ascending branches give this juniper a distinctive, open form. Copious amounts of cobalt-blue berries stand out against the emerald green foliage, providing even greater appeal and food for birds. This is a striking female cultivar of the native to Wisconsin Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) that will grow to about 25 feet with a spread of around 15 feet.

Core Characteristics

Category: Conifer

Wisconsin Native: No - Variety of North American Native

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 3

Mature Height: 20-25 feet

Mature Spread: 10-15 feet

Growth Rate: Slow

Growth Form: Pyramidal

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Site Requirements: Average, well - drained

Flower: N/A

Bloom Period: N/A

Foliage: Emerald green

Fall Color: Purple/Bronze

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: ¼" blue berry - like cones with whitish bloom

Suggested Uses

Canaert Juniper needs to grow in full sun, anything less with give the plant a much more open habit, defeating the purpose of its use as a screening plant. The shallow, fibrous root system holds soils especially well. However, junipers in general, cannot tolerate wet feet and will quickly die if subjected to flooding or standing water for too long.

Canaert Juniper would do well on a sunny slope that is subjected to hot and dry conditions. It would also do well as a highway, median, or street planting because this bad boy eats salt for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Eastern Red Cedar, of which Canaert is a variety, is among the best trees for protecting soils from erosion, thanks to its ability to withstand drought, heat, and cold.

Due to its height, Canaert Juniper can be used for taller screening needs where fences often fall short. Try mixing it in with other junipers, spruce, or arborvitae for a mix of texture and color. You don’t need to stop there! Use the beautiful green foliage as a backdrop for perennials and shrubs with contrasting colors and textures.

Wildlife Value

It is the host plant for the Cockerell’s moth (Diedra cockerellana), Many-lined Angle (Macaria multilineata), Juniper Seed Moth (Argyresthia alternatella), Juniper Geometer (Patalene olyzonaria), and the Juniper Tip moth (Glyphidocera juniperella).

More and more people are interested in bird-watching. What better way to bring birds to your yard than to provide a natural food source, nesting habitat, and perching site? The blue berries of Canaert Juniper are quickly eaten by most birds, while the foliage provides safe and secure coverage. Attract Hermit Thrushes, Purple Finches, Cedar Waxwings, Northern Flickers, and American Robins. Other birds that will use juniper cones as a food source include Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Blue Jays, Eastern Bluebirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Tree Swallows, Northern Mockingbirds, Gray Catbirds, Eastern Kingbirds, and Bobwhite Quail.

Chipmunks, Gray Fox, Opossum, and Black Bear will also eat the seed cones.

Maintenance Tips

This cultivar shouldn’t need any pruning. Any sheering that needs to occur should be done while the plant is actively growing and new growth is visible. Sheer only the new foliage, not the old.

Pests/Problems

Black Walnut Tolerant: Yes
Deer Resistant: Yes
Rabbit Resistant: Yes

Junipers are the alternate host to cedar-apple rust; do not plant near apples or crabapples.

Deer generally leaves this plant alone; however, during times of food scarcity, they will browse the foliage.

Leaf Lore

The cultivar name Canaerti honors Belgian horticulturist, Frederic Canaert.

When discussing Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), the common name is a bit of a misnomer. It’s a juniper, as there are no true cedars native to North America. Its wood is used to line cedar chests because its odor repels moths.

There are no recognized hybrids at this time; however, population studies suggest in the western part of the range, there is perhaps a blending of genetic differences between Juniperus virginiana and J. scopulorum and Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis).

The oldest known Eastern Red Cedar was found in Missouri and aged to be 795 years old!

Companion Plants

Need to branch out and add some biodiversity to your green screen? Think about various textures, heights, and watering needs when deciding which plants to use in combination with Canaert Junipers. Consider combining with:

  • Star Power Juniper (Juniperus x ‘J.N. Select Blue’)
  • Burkii Juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Burkii’)
  • Mountbatten Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Mountbatten’)
  • Iowa Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Iowa’)
  • Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja plicata x standishii ‘Green Giant’)
  • Techny Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Techny’)
  • Emerald Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’)
  • DeGroot’s Spire Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Degroot’s Spire’)
  • Holmstrup Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Holmstrup’)
  • White Spruce (Picea glauca)
  • Cypress Spruce (Picea abies ‘Cupressina’)
  • Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika)

When used as a backdrop, add a mix of colorful shrubs and perennials such as:

  • Redosier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum kalmianum)
  • Big Bluestem (Andropogon geradii)
  • Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)
Canaert Juniper is a compact, pyramidal evergreen that has a fluffy appearance and conical form when young. As the plant matures, long, ascending bran…
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Written by Beth DeLain