Juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode' / Mother Lode creeping juniper

Juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode' is a creeping, flat, low-growing, coniferous, evergreen shrub which features brilliant gold foliage changing to a golden bronze in winter. Grown primarily as a ground cover, the soft, feathery, scale-like foliage of this unique cultivar will eventually spread 8-10' (2.4 x 3 m) but will only rise 4" (.1 m) off the ground. Creeping branches root as they grow along the ground. Fleshy seed cones (berries) are infrequently produced. Species is commonly called creeping juniper.

Grow in average, dry to medium wet, well-drained soil in full sun. Adaptable to a wide range of soils, but prefers a dryish, sandy soil. To cover a large area, plant 3-4' (.9 x 1.2 m) apart. Tolerant of hot, dry conditions.

An excellent ground cover which is relatively low-maintenance once established. Also a good rock garden plant. Effective in mass plantings around homes, foundations and shrubs. Can be useful for erosion control on slopes. Interesting small accent or specimen value due to gold foliage color.

A bright, golden yellow sport of `Wiltonii', `Mother Lode' holds bright color all summer in full or partial sun. Fall brings a deep yellow-orange becoming tinged with plum by winter for all-season attraction. Use as a focal point, draping over stone, or mass planting as a golden carpet.

Rich gold foliage, turning yellow-bronze in winter; prostrate ground cover or draping over wall; full sun to partial shade; 2-3" (.05 - .07 m) high. [Exerpt from Dwarf & Unusual Conifers Coming of Age A Guide to Mature Garden Conifers
By Sandra McLean Cutler]

Juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode' When accompanied by plenty of green it appears as a gold river, relatively fast growing. It can become somewhat discolored in mid-west winters.
Photo by Charlene Harris
Juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode' This specimen is growing in front of Iseli Nursery in Oregon, were it was found.
Photo by Charlene Harris
Juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode' Photo record donated by Richard and Susan Eyre.
Photo by Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery, Inc
Original plant summer 1985 Discovered in 1982 at Iseli Nursery. Notice the contrast in color on the two sides of the specimen.
Photo by Iseli Nursery, Inc.



I have had a mother lode creeping juniper in one spot for many years and love it! The area where it is was sunny and now is more shady. Can I move the entire plant, or is there a way to leave the extended areas which have rooted, and move the original plant, or what……? Thank you,

Jane Ohio

I'd say since it roots into the ground as it grows you could move the original plant and leave the rooted off shoots in place. Or move the rooted off shoots and leave the original plant. As long as their is a good root system on whatever piece you dig up and replant it should grow just fine.

Ruth Reedy

Exactly how would one apply liquid fertilizer on Mother Lode juniper and gold juniper?

Maxwell Cohn

if a soil test indicates a deficiency, then definitely fertilize in accordance with the instructions on the bottle. Otherwise, conifers don't need fertilizer unless they're forever potted.


Having trouble locating source for J. horizontalis ‘Mother Lode’. In California. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

Maxwell Cohn

Hi Mike, you will see a reply to your question directly below ...

Ronald Schlak

Mike , find a nursery that carries Iseli plants. They for sure can order one for you .

Maxwell Cohn

Thanks Ron. Going forward, please try to reply to the person who asked the question rather than opening a new thread ...

Ronald Schlak

Will do , Dave . I guess I never noticed what I was clicking


Hello ! I am potting a small one today that I will keep as a bonsai. I’ve added rocks to bottom for drainage and amended the souls with very fine gravel, close to sand. Any tips, especially on fertilization will be helpful . Thank you

Mitch Halper

Will the mother lode juniper cascade over a pond liner that sticks out above the pond . I want something that will cover the liner on the sides of the pond.