Juniper shrubs are a drought-resistant shrub with leaves that can be either needle or scale-like. Juniper shrubs are in the genus Juniperus in the cypress family.
While many types of juniper shrubs have the word cedar in their names, they are not a true cedar. Juniper bushes produce berries, which are actually small, fused cones. These cones are used in cooking and to flavor gin.
Common types of juniper shrubs include the alligator juniper, California juniper, Chinese juniper, common juniper and creeping juniper. While the creeping juniper reaches just 1 to 2 feet tall at maturity, other varieties such as the California juniper can reach heights in excess of 35 feet tall. The common juniper, as its name indicates, is most widely found throughout the world. It is highly adaptable to both acidic and alkaline soils, as well as windy conditions. While most species of junipers can be grown as a shrub, in the wild, many grow into a medium-sized tree.
Avoid planting a juniper shrub in an area where apple trees of any kind are present. Junipers carry a fungus known as cedar-apple rust that can cause damage to apple trees and affect their ability to produce fruit.