Greek Juniper

Juniperus excelsa
Cupressaceae, Cypress Family
Greek Juniper
Greek Juniper
Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.
Isaiah 55:13 NIV
Greek Juniper
Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. I am like a flourishing juniper; your fruitfulness comes from me. Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them
Hosea 14:8-9 NIV

Cultural Information

TypeEvergreen Tree
Height30 to 60 feet
Soilmoist, sandy, rocky, well-drained
Exposurefull sun
Leavesneedle-like, scaled, jointed, with a bluish tint to their dark green color; older branches have flattened needles
Fruittiny, purplish-blue cones on female trees; scales become fleshy and bond together to form appearance of berry

Planting Tips

  • hardy to Zone 5
  • J. excelsa known as Greek juniper is a towering, splendid specimen tree; plant in a backdrop to behold in the scenery
  • relatively carefree - little pruning required, low water tolerance, few pests
  • dense canopy provides good winter shelter for birds
  • first grows as tall, columnar shrub; cut away lower branches as desired to form as a tree
  • be aware junipers are highly combustible - not recommended in landscapes vulnerable to wildfire
  • likewise, branches good for fire-pit kindling

Garden to Table

  • juniper boughs have a strong, piney scent, perfect for homegrown Christmas greenery
  • wait to trim tree branches until you can use them in wreaths, garlands, mantle decoration, or sprigs on gift-wrapped packages
  • use tree trimmings in garden beds as fragrant mulch
  • juniper berries (Juniperus communis berries preferred) lend piney flavor to sauces and marinades - let soak or simmer and remove before eating

Additional Resources

See Blog Posts on Greek Juniper
Prayer: Lord, may I be humble before you, admiring your forests and lovely landscapes, mindful that they reflect your glory. You are the one who is majestic in beauty (Ezekiel 31:7). Wherever I love your creation and don’t acknowledge you, Creator, please show me; I likely have idols I don’t even realize, but you will make them disappear (Isaiah 2:18). Cleanse me of my arrogance and restore me as your pristine forest.
-from the NIV God's Word for Gardeners Bible
Greek Juniper
Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. I am like a flourishing juniper; your fruitfulness comes from me. Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them
Hosea 14:8-9 NIV

Photo Credits

ID 52466421 © Ngrig2013 | Dreamstime.com Berries and soft needles of a Juniperus excelsa (taken in Crimea)
©2018 ID 118269645 Sergey Rybin | Dreamstime.com Greek Juniper Juniperus excelsa in the forest in the Crimean mountains, early April
©2011 ID 25015971 Roman Ivaschenko | Dreamstime.com Dried high juniper (Juniperus excelsa) berries
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