Scientific: Juniperus sabina
Common: savin juniper, Arcadia juniper
Family: Cupressaceae
Origin: Mountainous regions of Europe east to central Asia

Pronounciation: Ju-NIP-er-us sa-BI-na

Hardiness zones
Sunset
4-24
USDA 3 (some protection might be needed) - 11

Landscape Use: Filler shrub for parks, gardens, community common areas where landscapes are more visually neglected, 1950s and 60s landscape design motif, bonsai.

Form & Character: Spreading, fountain-like, coniferous, oriental.

Growth Habit: Woody evergreen perennial shrub, moderately sized perennial shrub growing variably from 4 to 15 feet tall with equal or greater spread.

Foliage/texture: Savin juniper has both adult (appressed, scale like) and juvenile (stiff short needle-like, ternate) foliage, small less than 1/4 inch long. Appressed adult foliage is supported on very slender shoots, foliage opposite. Juvenile foliage is only found on seedlings and in lower shaded portions of mature speciemns. Foliar color is a dull green, almost glaucous. Savin juniper is very fine textured.

Flowers & fruits: Dioecious; female cones sub-globose to 5/16 inch across, 2 to 3 seeded, ripen in 2 to 3 years, purplish to brown; male flowers auxiliary and very small, golden yellow to brown, spring; flowers and fruits are inconspicuous.

Seasonal color: Absolutely none

Temperature: Highly tolerant

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Very tolerant

Watering: Infrequent deep summer irrigations are required in Phoenix for survival.

Pruning: Like Chinese juniper, the pruning requirements of savin juniper are minimal; usually only training to shape if desired. That said however, many struggle with how to maintain savin juniper as it matures and typically outgrows its planting space. Often mature savin juniper shrubs have their canopies elevated.

Propagation: Savin juniper cultivars are propagated from cuttings which generally root readily. Some of the upright cultivars are more difficult to root and are grafted, usually onto J. chinensis 'Hetzii' or J. virginiana seedling rootstock.

Disease and pests: Spider mites, juniper scale

Additional comments: Savin juniper was once more popular for use in Phoenix landscapes than it is today. There are many named cultivars such as 'Monna' from Monrovia Nursery. Some taxonomists consider Pftizer juniper (Juniperus x pfitzeriana) to be a hybrid cross between J. sabina and J. chinensis.

Medicinal note: All parts of the plant are poisonous due to several toxic compounds including ethereal oils. An oil extract from savin juniper called "sabine" is reported to have many medicinal uses.