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Twisted Torulosa Evergreen

by Shelly Nold

DO YOU HAVE AN ECLECTIC STYLE or flair for the unusual in your landscaping? If so, then the Hollywood or twisted juniper, Juniperus chinensis “Torulosa,” may be just what you are looking for.

NATIVE TO CHINA AND JAPAN, this smaller evergreen grows typically only 20 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide when grown in urban environments. Its height and dense habit make it an excellent choice for a landscape screen. It is also right at home planted singly or in a small grouping. Its natural tendency is to have an almost sculpted shape, making it an appropriate choice for a contemporary or Asian-inspired space.

THE COMBINATION OF COLOR AND FORM is the true value of this evergreen. With its dark green foliage, its branches have a slight twist that gives each plant a soft appearance. We are so accustomed to evergreens with a rigid conical shape it is refreshing to see one that is natural, as if shaped by time and its environment. It is both beautiful and unique whether planted in a landscape or when used in a container on a porch or patio.

A VERY FORGIVING EVERGREEN, it is drought-resistant and tolerant of a variety of soil conditions, but prefers a well-drained site. When selecting a site for planting, choose a site that is in full sun although a little shade is tolerated. Provide a site that is adequate in size so it can grow to its natural height and width. Pruning of this evergreen is not generally recommended because the uniqueness or character of each plant and the natural twisting of the foliage are what it is prized for.

YOU WILL BE REWARDED if you plant the Hollywood juniper in your garden. The playful centerpiece will become an inspired specimen or a fabulous screen that will entertain and inspire you year-round.

Shelly Nold is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.

by Angie McManus

After I prune the branches of my holly trees, can I stick them in my flower box soil and use them as Christmas decorations?

Yes, using plant material that is already on hand is a creative way to spruce up our containers and make them original. I find it easier to leave the soil in the containers and stick the ends of the cuttings down a few inches for some stability; that way when the wind blows they stay in place. Start with the tallest cuttings and use them in the center or the back depending on where you want them, then work your way out and around with the rest. Most evergreens will last all winter like this and then the soil is there for planting in the spring. There are many choices, including yellow and red twig dogwoods, which are stunning this time of year, and don’t forget about deciduous holly or Nandina berries. Contorted filbert or anything with an interesting growth habit will add structure. There are so many choices that each container can be different and at a minimal cost. Next fall, consider using ornamental grass as the center and fill in the sides with pumpkins, hedge apples, and pansies. It makes a very festive display and the ornamental grass needs to be cut back now or in the spring, so this way you are still able to enjoy it.

Go to, click on Home & Garden, then “Ask The Gardener.”

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