How to Care For Juniper procumbens “Nana” (Japanese Juniper)

Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a popular dwarf juniper variety. It grows close to the ground and makes an excellent ground-cover shrub for almost any garden application. Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a slow-growing juniper, making it ideal for rockeries or Japanese inspired gardens. This article will act as a comprehensive guide on how to care for Juniper procumbens “Nana”.

What are Juniper procumbens “Nana”?

Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a popular cultivar of Juniperus procumbens, commonly known as Japanese juniper. These evergreen shrubs form dense spreading carpets of coniferous foliage. Like other junipers, Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a member of the Cypress family. Also known as the dwarf Japanese garden juniper, Juniper procumbens “Nana” is native to parts of southern Japan as well as southern and western coastal regions of Korea. This cultivar has also been awarded an RHS Award of Garden Merit because it grows extremely well in conditions experienced in the United Kingdom.


All juniper varieties, including Juniper procumbens “Nana”, belong to the Cypress family (Cupressaceae). The Juniperus genus is also part of the Pinophyta group, otherwise known as conifers. Juniperus procumbens is one of approximately 50 to 67 species that make up the Juniperus genus. There are several cultivars of Juniperus procumbens, including Juniper procumbens “Nana”. This cultivar is often called the dwarf Japanese garden juniper.

Appearance & Characteristics

Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a compact dwarf juniper variety. It forms a low-growing prostrate evergreen shrub. Prostrate shrubs are short in overall height but spread out for several meters using long branches. As the lower branches spread, they can develop extra roots. Juniper procumbens “Nana” creates a dense mat of blue-green needle-like evergreen foliage. In the winter, the foliage can develop a slightly purple tone. Juniper procumbens “Nana” produces fruit cones that look like dark brown or black berries. This cultivar can be identified by the two white dots present underneath each leaf. Juniper procumbens “Nana” also has small pale blue to white flowers during the spring. This dwarf juniper variety is dioecious, which means that each plant is either male or female. Male specimens of Juniper procumbens “Nana” produce pollen during the spring, which is transferred to nearby female specimens for reproduction.

Quick Summary

  • Care Level – Easy
  • Sunlight – Preferably full sun but can tolerate partial shade
  • Watering – Drought-tolerant, low water requirements
  • Humidity – Moderate
  • Temperature – Most temperatures
  • Soil – Most well-draining soil mediums
  • Soil pH – Slightly acidic (5.0 – 7.0)
  • Fertiliser – Once every year or two
  • Repotting – Every two or three years
  • Pruning – Not essential

How to care for Juniper procumbens “Nana”


Juniper procumbens “Nana” grows best in full sun. However, these evergreen dwarf junipers can tolerate partial shade as well. Like other junipers, Juniper procumbens “Nana” will not tolerate full shade because this can stunt the plant’s growth. In ideal conditions, Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants will appreciate around six hours of direct sunlight in the morning and early afternoon. This dwarf variety can be positioned in any garden aspect from east-facing and south-facing through to north or west-facing.


Juniper procumbens “Nana” have minimal watering requirements as they are very drought-tolerant. Most species of juniper don’t like being overwatered. Mature plants might not even need to be watered at all unless they’re growing in exceptionally hot or dry climates. Juniper plants can suffer from root rot and diseases or pest infestations if the soil is waterlogged. Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants that are young or are growing in containers need watering more frequently. If they have recently been planted, water them every one or two weeks until the roots are established. For container specimens, water when the top three inches of soil feel dry.

Humidity & Temperature

Juniper procumbens “Nana” can thrive in a wide range of temperatures. This cultivar tolerates slightly warmer temperatures than many other juniper varieties. These low-growing evergreen shrubs grow best in USDA Zones 4 to 9a. Juniper procumbens “Nana” can handle outdoor winter temperatures in these areas. This variety is very drought-tolerant and prefers moderate humidity.


Juniper procumbens “Nana” is an evergreen variety and will not shed its coniferous leaves. These plants require hardly any cleaning. Like other junipers, the dwarf Japanese garden juniper can largely be left to its own devices.

Fertiliser & Soil

Juniper procumbens “Nana” grows well in most soil mediums. These evergreens need well-draining soil that’s also slightly acidic. Juniper procumbens “Nana” prefer soils with a pH range of between 5.0 and 7.0. These dwarf Japanese junipers are native to coastal habitats and can tolerate soils that lack many nutrients. As a result, Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a slow-growing plant. This cultivar can take between 20 and 50 years to reach its mature size. Although fertiliser can be beneficial for Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants, it’s not essential. These plants should only be fertilised once every two or three years in the spring. Always used a balanced slow-release fertiliser that offers an NPK ratio of 10-10-10.


Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a slow-growing dwarf variety of juniper that can do well in pots. Because of this slow growth rate, these junipers only need repotting once every two or three years. When repotting, give the juniper procumbens “Nana” a fairly large pot that’s approximately eight inches bigger than the last pot. Always perform repotting in the spring.

Growing in the garden

Juniper procumbens “Nana” does best when used as a ground-cover plant in the garden. This variety forms a dense, spreading carpet of coniferous foliage. Juniper procumbens “Nana” is particularly well-suited for rockeries or Japanese-themed gardens. These junipers are incredibly low-maintenance. Juniper procumbens “Nana” needs plenty of full sun and well-draining, slightly acidic soil. This dwarf variety is extremely drought-tolerant and doesn’t require regular pruning. It’s always best to plant a juniper procumbens “Nana” in the spring. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide for planting Japanese juniper:
  1. Excavate a hole that’s twice the depth and width of the rootball. Enrich the soil with a small amount of organic matter such as compost.
  2. Situate the plant in the hole with the rootball oriented slightly higher than the surrounding soil. Gently untangle some of the roots and spread them out.
  3. Backfill the hole with a mix of soil and compost. Tamp the medium down to prevent the formation of air pockets.
  4. Water the juniper procumbens “Nana” in well and continue to water once every one or two weeks until the plant is established.
  5. Use a mulch to help retain moisture and defend the plant against pests. Bark, pine needles, and straw are all good mulches.

How and when to prune Juniper procumbens “Nana”

Juniper procumbens “Nana” grows slowly, so it doesn’t require that much pruning. In fact, most juniper species do not react very well to extensive pruning. Juniper procumbens “Nana” produces a thick carpet of dense evergreen foliage. This dwarf juniper variety can reach a maximum spread of five or six feet but only grows to approximately six to 12 inches high. Prune juniper procumbens “Nana” plants during the spring so that they can recover during the new growing season. Focus on removing any dead or diseased branches. It isn’t necessary to trim back or shape healthy growth. However, if the juniper procumbens “Nana” is spreading more than desired, it can be lightly trimmed back. Avoid removing large amounts of foliage in one go. It can take between 20 and 50 years for a juniper procumbens “Nana” to reach its final mature size, so pruning is not strictly necessary.

Problems with Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants

Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a hardy, low-maintenance dwarf juniper variety. However, there are some pests and problems that can still affect Japanese junipers. Here are the main dangers to be aware of:


Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants can be targeted by some types of aphids, including conifer aphids. Plants that are afflicted by aphids can have brown or yellow leaves or deposits of sooty black mould. Spray the plant with a hose to dislodge the aphids before pruning away any brown, yellow, or mouldy foliage.

Bagworm caterpillars

The nest sacs of bagworm moth caterpillars look similar to conifer cones, with hundreds of potential caterpillars in each sac. Once they’ve hatched, the caterpillars consume juniper leaves. This poses a particular danger to young juniper procumbens “Nana” plants. Locate and remove egg sacs before the caterpillars can hatch.

Juniper scale insects

Juniper scale insects can target most species of the Juniperus genus. If a juniper procumbens “Nana” has wilting brown or yellow leaves, it may be infested with juniper scale. Eliminate the insects using insecticidal soap and remove contaminated foliage.

How to propagate Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants

Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants are propagated using semi-hardwood cuttings. This dwarf juniper species should be propagated during autumn. Here’s a step-by-step to propagating juniper procumbens “Nana” specimens:
  1. Cuttings should be taken in four to eight-inch lengths. Take these cuttings from lower branches that have started developing roots.
  2. Remove the foliage from the lower two inches of the cutting and dip the cutting would in some rooting hormone.
  3. Plant up the cuttings into a well-draining growing medium – a 50/50 mix of multi-purpose compost and perlite is ideal.
  4. Water the cuttings in and keep them moist. Using a propagation tray can speed up the process. Do not let the cuttings become waterlogged. Leave the cuttings somewhere warm and sheltered until they develop roots. This can take up to 12 weeks.
  5. Once the roots have reached approximately three inches long, place each cutting in its own pot. The cuttings should remain in pots for at least a year before being planted outside.

Why you should grow a Juniper procumbens “Nana”

Juniper procumbens “Nana” are low-maintenance prostrate shrubs. This evergreen dwarf Japanese juniper is an excellent ground-cover plant for most gardens. Juniper procumbens “Nana” works particularly well in Japanese-inspired rock or Zen gardens and rockeries. Japanese junipers are also very easy to grow because they do not usually require pruning. Juniper procumbens “Nana” can also be trained into bonsai. This dwarf juniper variety makes an excellent specimen for creating a cascading or semi-cascading form of bonsai. Like other members of the Juniperus genus, juniper procumbens “Nana” is very hardy. Japanese junipers also have a slow growth habit, which is suitable for bonsai trees.

Facts about Juniper procumbens “Nana”


  • FamilyCupressaceae
  • SubfamilyCupressoideae
  • GenusJuniperus

How big does a Juniper procumbens “Nana” bush get?

Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a low-growing prostrate shrub. As a dwarf juniper variety, juniper procumbens “Nana” bushes reach an approximate height of six to 12 inches. The main growth habit of this variety is as a spreading coniferous shrub. Juniper procumbens “Nana” specimens can reach a maximum spread of five to six feet.

How fast do Juniper procumbens “Nana” bushes and trees grow?

Juniper procumbens “Nana” bushes are slow-growing members of the Cypress family and can take between 20 and 50 years to reach mature size.

What are Juniper procumbens “Nana” bushes good for?

Juniper procumbens “Nana” bushes are a fantastic way of adding evergreen ground cover to a garden. This dwarf juniper variety grows in a spreading mat of dense coniferous foliage. Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants are also good in rock gardens or as bonsai trees.

Are Juniper procumbens “Nana” bushes poisonous?

Like other members of the Juniperus genus, juniper procumbens “Nana” can be toxic to both humans and pets. These plants can cause minor and uncomfortable indigestion if eaten.

Juniper procumbens “Nana” Flowers

Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a dioecious variety of juniper, meaning that each plant is either male or female. To achieve pollination, juniper procumbens “Nana” specimens produce small blue-white flowers in the spring. Pollinators then facilitate reproduction between male and female Japanese juniper shrubs.

Common FAQs

How much light do Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants need?

Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants require six hours of bright sunlight if possible. However, they can tolerate partial shade – especially during the afternoon in hot environments.

What is special about Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants?

Juniper procumbens “Nana” is a popular dwarf juniper cultivar due to its spreading, low-growing structure. Japanese junipers make great ground-cover plants for many gardens and can even be grown as bonsai.

Are Juniper procumbens “Nana” good indoor plants?

When used for bonsai, juniper procumbens “Nana” plants do well as indoor plants. These junipers are slow-growing and low-maintenance shrubs, so they can easily be kept in check as bonsai.

Can Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants survive in low light?

Like other species in the Juniperus genus, juniper procumbens “Nana” cannot survive well in low-light conditions. A lack of sufficient sunlight can stunt growth, which is a big problem for slow-growing plants.

Why don’t Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants grow?

Juniper procumbens “Nana” plants may not grow properly if not given enough sunlight. These dwarf junipers need six hours of direct sunlight wherever possible. Waterlogged soil could also hamper the growth of juniper procumbens “Nana” plants.


Juniper procumbens “Nana” is one of the most popular juniper varieties, and it’s easy to see why. This low-growing dwarf juniper species is low-maintenance and stays compact, creating beautiful, dense blankets of evergreen needle-like foliage. Juniper procumbens “Nana” specimens are exceptional ground-cover plants and also make good candidates for bonsai.

Related Posts

How to Care for Solanaceae

Solanaceae, the nightshade, is a family of flowering plants. It includes 102 genera and more than 2500 species. These plants are economically important. Therefore, people cultivate them…

Juniper Berries and Their Uses

Juniper berries are most famously used to flavour gin but have been used by various cultures for thousands of years. Juniper “berries” are actually seeds produced by…

Pruning Seasons For Common Plants

Knowing exactly when to prune a plant is one of the most rewarding aspects of gardening. By learning the exact needs of each plant, gardeners can develop…

Pepper plant characteristics

Peppers (scientific name: Capsicum) constitute a genus of 20-30 plants. However, only five species are what we know as truly cultivated peppers. We all pretty much know…

17 Types Of Pepper Plants

Peppers are among the most popular vegetables and fruits (yes, both!). Many of the world’s cuisines are unimaginable without their influence. It is no wonder – because…

Pruning Juniper Bushes

With their fabulously fragrant scent and beautiful blue berries, junipers are beloved by horticulturalists. Although they are fairly hardy and easy to care for, junipers have some…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *