Welch Juniper Thrives in Dry, Sunny Sites

Think of the Welch juniper as a good-looking Westerner, new in town, with the power to soothe your worries and solve your troubles. This slender, upright evergreen is a cultivar of Rocky Mountain juniper, and it thrives in dry, sunny spots where other plants simply bake.

Welch juniper (‘Welchii’) is reminiscent of the columnar ‘Skyrocket’. Both are cultivars of the Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum), but the Welch juniper has softer foliage and a slightly wider habit. Its silvery-green foliage can take on a blue hue, especially in winter, and it carries small blue-gray berries that take two to three years to mature.

Common name: Welch juniper

Botanical name: Juniperus scopulorum ‘Welchii’

Plant type: Evergreen

Zones: 3 to 9

Height: 8 to 20 feet

Family: Cupressaceae

Growing conditions

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: Thrives in dry, rocky soil
  • Moisture: Average to dry; won’t tolerate wet soil or high humidity


  • Mulch: None needed
  • Pruning: None needed
  • Fertilizer: None needed


  • Cuttings

Pests and diseases

  • Common problems with juniper blights and cankers; alternate host for cedar-apple rust
  • Deer resistant

Garden notes

  • One or two ‘Welchii’ can be attractive accents in a small garden without taking up much room, throwing much shade or requiring much in the way of maintenance.
  • Its dense foliage works as a privacy screen; plant several at about 4 feet apart to form a hedge or windbreak.
  • Like other evergreens, Welch juniper attracts songbirds and other wildlife.
  • The foliage of many Rocky Mountain junipers has a blue color or tint that often intensifies in cold weather.

All in the family

  • The juniper is a member of Cupressaceae, the cypress family. Redwoods also belong to this family, which is the most widely distributed conifer family, found on all continents except Antarctica.
  • There are many Rocky Mountain juniper cultivars available, including ‘Blue Trail’, ‘Gray Gleam’ and ‘Tolleson’s Blue Weeping’.
  • Most Juniperus scopulorum cultivars have a columnar habit, but there are a few groundcovers.

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