Keeping Your Spartan Juniper Happy - Absolute Gardener

Keeping Your Spartan Juniper Happy

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spartan juniper

Junipers are spiky shrubs that can be found in many yards across the country. They have spindly branches and needles of varying lengths, which give them a spartan look. The spiny branches make these evergreens great for repelling pests such as deer and rabbits from gardens without having to use chemical deterrents or fencing. Some people also plant juniper bushes around their property to deter burglars looking for an easy break-in point!

What is Spartan Juniper?

What is spartan juniper? The spartan juniper, also known by its other name the Junípero Serra, is an evergreen shrub that ranges in height from one to six feet tall. It takes time for spartan juniper to grow, spruce needs at least five years of growth before one can judge sprigs and size. Spartan junipers are great for indoors or spritz outdoors as they thrive in any environment – desert sprigs rainy regions alike – with a little care.

The spartan juniper is characterized by its sprigs of colour that range from green to yellow-green. It is actually a coniferous plant that belongs to the cypress family. It’s also known as “evergreen” with brownish-grey, scaly bark. The spartan juniper is very popular for bonsai.  It’s also popular for spartan juniper hedges, spartan juniper as a decorative plant and spartan junipers, in general, are often used on the grounds of historic buildings such as those at Mount Vernon.

Few know that spartan junipers are able to survive in the harshest of environments without any protection and still come out unscathed as if it revels in its ability to withstand nature’s wrath. The spartan juniper is a great choice for those who want a spritz of spartan juniper as a sprig of mint leaves.

Origins of the Spartan Juniper Plant

spartan juniper
Image: TheTreeFarm

Spartan Juniper is a spiky, hardy plant that can grow up to four feet tall. Originating in the northern regions of Europe and Asia, spartan junipers have been used as natural borders for centuries because they were able to thrive on severe conditions faced by humans living in these areas. In fact, spartan junipers are so spiky and hardy that they were used as weapons during the Middle Ages to help defend against enemy armies.

In the spartan juniper’s natural environment, it can also be found in the western United States and Canada. The spiky plant is often used to prevent erosion on steep hillsides because of its low water requirements. Due to their tough structures spartan junipers are also popular among landscapers who like to use them for property borders or as a spiky barrier.

Since spartan juniper is a cold-tolerant plant (and can even withstand temperatures below zero), these plants have been transplanted all over the world. In some countries, spartan junipers are considered a pest because they are considered invasive. For example, spartan junipers can quickly take over a forest and destroy the ecosystem by shading out other plants that need sunlight in order to survive, while also taking in all of the water supply for themselves potentially starving the surrounding environment.

Spartan Juniper Care Guide

Easily the most attractive spruce in terms of sculptural form, spartan juniper is a favourite among bonsai enthusiasts. Since spartan junipers grow so quickly and they don’t typically require much attention or care, you might be wondering “how do I maintain my spartan juniper?” Luckily, spartan junipers are one of the easiest trees to care for. Here is a spartan juniper care guide that will help you keep your spartan juniper healthy and thriving:


A spartan juniper will be happiest when the soil is well-drained. This means that it should not have standing water on top of it for too long, or else this tree will become unhappy very quickly. The spartan need to make sure to test out the soil in their area and see if they can find sphagnum peat moss. If they can’t find sphagnum, then the spartans should just go ahead and use commercial potting soil that is designed to be well-draining

It’s also very important for spartan junipers to make sure that their roots are not in contact with rocks or any other hard objects. The spartans should be sure to include some organic matter in the soil, such as sphagnum peat moss or compost.


If the spartan juniper is not receiving the proper amount of light, its growth will be stunted. You need to make sure that spartans are in an area with plenty of natural or artificial light year round so their leaves don’t turn yellow and fall off.

The best way to do this is by placing spartans in an area that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight every day. If spartan juniper isn’t getting enough light, you should put it near a window or invest in artificial lighting like grow lights for plants

The type of spartans you buy will determine the amount and quality of natural light they receive. For instance, spartans that have spiky leaves will require more light than sparts with flat, broad leaves.


The spartan juniper is a drought-tolerant plant variety that thrives in hot and dry environments. This means you should water your spartan juniper sparingly, only when the soil becomes bone-dry to the touch. Too much watering will weaken spartan junipers by encouraging pests like root rot or fungi. In general, watering spartan juniper three times a week from April through June and once a week in July through September will suffice.


It is important to know the spartan juniper’s temperature preferences. The tree can thrive in a variety of climates, but responds best when it receives an average minimum temperature between -20°F and 15°F (-29 to -26°C) or year-round temperatures below 32 ° F (0 degrees Celsius). It does not do well in areas with high temperatures or humid climates.

The spartan juniper is a very cold tolerant tree. The plant will need to be shielded from high winds and hot sun in order for it to grow. It can withstand temperate conditions of extreme heat, wind, dryness or humidity better than many plants due to its long needle leaves which are waxy and help the spartan juniper retain water. A good idea for spartan juniper care is to take it into your home during the winter months for it to grow in warmth. This will keep spartan juniper happy and healthy!


spartan juniper
Image: TheTreeFarm

Humidity is spartan juniper’s number one problem. It can cause browning and blistering of the leaves, which can, in turn, lead to infection. Another way for spartan junipers to suffer from a lack of humidity is by not being watered enough. In this case, brown edges will form on the spartan juniper’s leaves.

To avoid both of these problems, spartan junipers should be watered with either a pressurized spray or misting technique once per day in order to increase the humidity around them and constantly provide moisture for their leaves. The soil should also never be allowed to dry out completely as spartan junipers do not grow their own water.

Humidity can also be achieved with spartan juniper by placing them in a cool, dry area that has plenty of sunlight and wind circulating through it. If the spartan juniper is located indoors then this will provide an easy solution to spartan juniper’s humidity problems. If spartan juniper is placed in a colder area, it will need to be covered with an appropriate amount of mulch and sphagnum moss so the soil does not dry out too quickly from cooler temperatures outside.


Fertilisers are essential for spartan juniper trees to grow as they need nutrients. The best time of the year to fertilise spartan junipers is in winter, January-February (in the USA). However, it’s important to make sure you don’t overdo things because spartans can get mildew and fungus if you fertilise them too much.

It’s best to use spartan juniper food which is a mix of nutrients and it also contains trace elements that spartans need such as phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and nitrogen for healthy growth. Use about 25-30g per tree every other year or once each year.

It’s best to water spartans after fertilising them because they use a lot of nutrients and it makes the fertilizer work better too!


The spartan juniper is a lot like the spruce tree in many ways. Some spartans are found to be more toxic than others, and it’s important for homeowners to know which ones they have so that they can take precautions when working with them.

A spartan juniper should not be consumed or eaten in any way.

The spartan juniper can also cause skin irritation, so it’s important to wear gloves when working with them for this reason as well.

It is not recommended that spartans be planted near buildings or homes due to their high toxicity levels and potential skin irritants; if a spartan juniper is already planted near a building, it’s important to consult with an arborist before any work is done on the spartan juniper.


Pruning spartan juniper is a difficult task because the spiny branches can make it painful to walk through. To avoid this, always wear gloves and loppers with built-in safety features for hands like these from Fiskars or Corona. It’s also important to know how often you need to prune spartan juniper, and when.

After the spartans have flowered in late summer or early fall, you’ll want to cut back any branches that were damaged by winter conditions (such as ice breakage) or overgrown with new growth. Now is also an ideal time for selective pruning of spartan juniper to shape the plant. Generally, spartans should be pruned every year in late winter or early spring, before new growth starts.

The number of times spartan juniper needs to be pruned depends on how much it has grown each year and what you’re looking for (a more formal landscape versus a more naturalistic one).

Spartans are more likely to be damaged by spindly growth during the summer months, so it’s best not to prune them then. If you plan on having spartan juniper as part of your landscape through winter, a very late fall or early winter pruning is appropriate for shaping spartans.

If spartan juniper is in a container, spindly growth can be controlled by pinching back sprigs or suckers as they emerge from the ground (though this won’t help if it’s growing from a tree).


Propagation is easy with spartan juniper. The spartan junipers are available for purchase during their juvenile phase which means they have already gone through the first round of pruning and shaping into an aesthetically pleasing form that will grow to be a more or less standard size tree. This stage produces what looks like a small spruce tree with short branches.

Thereafter, one spartan juniper can be propagated by taking a branch, cutting it into two-inch sections and then inserting them in soil that has been moistened with water. The spartans will root in about 14 days as long as they are kept at an optimum temperature of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another propagation method is spiking. A sprig from the desired plant should be cut off and stuck into a pot of soil, then watered daily until established. The new spartan juniper will grow in just as it would have near its mother tree–slowly but steadily, with an occasional spurt for good measure.

To propagate spartan junipers from seeds take mature cones and rub the scales off them to collect the small brown balls that contain spartan juniper seeds. The seed balls should be immediately sown in a pot of moistened soil and covered with dirt by pressing the top down so that they are buried but not too deep.


Once spruce sprigs are fully mature, they need to be replanted into a larger pot. Use the same soil mix that you would for an outdoor plant or purchase one from our shop. Fill it with soil up to halfway and then place the spruce sprig in its new home.

The spruce sprigs should be placed in a circle with about 16 inches of space between each one. They also need to be watered thoroughly before you place them in the pot and again once they’re settled into their new home. Don’t forget to put sponges around the outside of the potted spruce sprigs to help with moisture retention.

Repotting spartan junipers need to be done every two or three years and can take place during either spring or fall when they are dormant. If you repot spartan junipers while they’re still growing, be sure to do so in spring or early winter.

Plant Disease

Plant disease and care are a continual battle for spartan juniper. Keep an eye out for any yellowing, wilting or browning leaves on your spartan juniper and remove them immediately. These can be signs of fungi infestation. If the disease is spotted early enough it’s possible to save the spartan juniper.

If spartan junipers are in pots, keep them over two feet from the ground and place a screen around the base to deter pests like ants or slugs. These can leave spartan junipers vulnerable to disease or infestation.

Spartan Juniper Variegated

Spartan Juniper Variegated spartan junipers have a bark that is dark and gnarled. There are many different varieties of spartan juniper, some with blue-green foliage while others sport an orange tinge to the leaves or even golden spikes. They can grow in various climates such as alpine spartan juniper or spartan junipers that grow in the shade.

Spartan Juniper vs Skyrocket Juniper

spartan juniper
Image: TheTreeFarm

Junipers are often categorized as spartan juniper or skyrocket juniper. The spartans have a denser form and grow at a slower pace, while the skyrockets grow quickly but tend to lose their shape over time. You can plant spartans in more windy areas than you would be able to put up with spindly skyrockets.

Spartan juniper is more drought-resistant than a skyrocket, but spartans also need less water to thrive. Spartans tend to be lighter in colour and have smoother bark when compared with a skyrocket’s hard outer layer

Spartans are less prone to disease than skyrockets but spartans do have their own weaknesses that will need attention over time. For example, spartans are vulnerable to juniper scale, which is a sap-sucking brown insect that can feed on spindly spartan branches and cause them to lose their foliage.

Spartans will need more maintenance than skyrockets but they tend to fare better in areas with heavy traffic or where the soil has been disturbed. Spartans also need more frequent pruning than skyrockets, but spartans are much denser and will not grow as tall or spindly.

Common Issues with Spartan Juniper

  • Pests and disease: spartan juniper is susceptible to a variety of pests, such as aphids. Infected spartan junipers can be treated with neem oil or Azadirachtin. Planting spartan juniper away from other trees also decreases the chances of transferring diseases between plants.
  • Scaling: spartan juniper can be susceptible to spongy bark, which is a continual problem in many climates. This may require treatment with copper-based fungicides or sulfur sprays.

Tips for Keeping Spartan Juniper Happy

Care for spartan juniper can be simple and straightforward. Here are some tips!

  • Make sure there is plenty of space around the spartan juniper for it to grow.
  • Trim spartan junipers at least once a year in late winter or early spring. This can be done by pinching and cutting back the branches. Be sure not too cut off any spindly twigs that will only take up space on your spartan juniper bonsai tree.
  • Provide spartan junipers with plenty of shade and don’t forget to water them occasionally. The spiny leaves are an indication that spartan junipers need more moisture than other plants. They typically dry out quickly in warm weather, so be sure not to neglect this aspect of spartan juniper care.
  • Fertilize spartan junipers with a spruce fertilizer in the early spring. If you have an organic spruce fertilizer, it will be best to use that instead as it is more natural and less harmful for your spartan juniper bonsai tree.
  • Keep your spartan juniper away from any direct heat sources as spartan junipers don’t do well in warm environments.

Spartan Juniper Frequently Asked Questions

How much do Spartan junipers grow in a year?

This is a difficult question to answer. This is because spartan junipers are actually coniferous trees, not shrubs or bushes and at maturity can grow anywhere between 50-70 feet tall! Most spartans typically grow about two inches per year though so you would just have to do the math based on how old your spartan is and how tall it currently is.

How tall do Spartan conifers grow?

The spartan juniper will grow up to 12 feet.

Is Spartan juniper toxic?

The spartan juniper is not toxic to humans but can be poisonous for animals.

Are Spartan junipers prickly?

Typical spartan juniper trees have a coat of spines that are typically sharp and prickly to the touch. These spines aren’t usually dangerous, but they can be an inconvenience when it comes to gardening.

Do Spartan junipers grow fast?

Spartan junipers grow relatively fast. They can also be sheared and trained to provide the desired shape.

How far apart should I plant Spartan junipers?

Plant spartan junipers about 18 inches apart.

Spartan juniper growth rate?

Spartan juniper growth rate is almost two inches per year.

How tall is a spartan?

A spartan juniper can grow up to 12 feet.


The spartan juniper is an elegant tree that can be a joy to grow and maintain. It requires little water, no fertilizer, and has few disease problems. They are slow-growing trees so they may take up space for some time before finally becoming fully grown but once they do their beauty will not disappoint! So if you’re looking for a spartan juniper this year, look no further and enjoy the spartan life! You may find spartan juniper for sale at your local nursery. Or alternatively, here is the juniper tree for sale. 

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