Juniperus chinensis ‘Hetzii’

Welcome back to another one from ‘murderer’s row‘ as we count down to Shrubs We do Not Like. We are talking about Juniper c. ‘Hetzii’, or as I learned the common name Hetzi Juniper. This Juniper is a shrub I can promise you I will never plant-ever, no matter what.

Form, shape, size, habit, needles, it’s ugly, size, texture, size, doesn’t prune well, doesn’t shear well, size, did I mention size? It gets big, giving me the giggles when I see it planted 4.0ft. from a house. Big people, they can get big.

I dislike this shrub so much, that if I ever see, someone I know planting/using/designing one of these into the landscape we are going to have a fistfight . . . boo-yah!

Here are a couple of these beauties below, notice how they are swallowing the front of the house, and have made the front door . . . disappear!

Juniper swallowing house
hetzii juniperHere’s another fine example:
Wow, look at that form! That style! That 4-season interest . . . what a beauty. How could everyone not want several, or a dozen of those around there house.

I’ve actually ripped out Hetzii 3.0 or 4.0 foot apart 4,0 foot from the house-that were planted in a row across the front of a house. Yikes! Talk about a nightmare. Plus this plant is unforgiving, those needles are rough, scratchy, terrible . . . stays with you for days.

What’s funny about this pic is that I found it on the UConn plant database. This is the “example pic”. Like this is the best one they could find.

If you go to this link there is a tiny little picture of a row along a parking lot-they are massive. I suppose this would be the only use for these monstrosities-a barrier.

If for some bizarre reason you want to know more about this junk go to the U.of Arkansas, extension. there’s a write-up, and history about this beast. You know . . . it almost sounds as though the writer likes this plant.

Ugly JuniperJust look at the gangly mess . . . how attractive. I’m sorry but the Hetzii has nothing going for it. The caption from Floridata mentions it’s popular. It was popular when Nurserymen grew about 5 varieties of conifer shrubs, and that’s what the public got for 60-70 years, but not anymore.


That’s enough. I’m not wasting anymore time on the Juniperus c. ‘Hetzii’ . . . oh wait, here’s a good Juniper.


Addendum: Oh, here’s a look at the landscaped entry 16 years later:

Entry Landscape

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. Can I be so rude as to …
    a) suggest a “tree to be eradicated from planet earth” – Leylandii ?
    I’ve just chopped four feet off the top of a row of these buggers (ancient Briton term) in this new, otherwise blank canvas garden, it still leaves a seven foot high hedge but I hate the stuff.
    b) sneak a question in ?
    I’m treating this blank canvas garden with a decked area, sunken pond and seagrass look and at one end intend to plant a couple of acer bushes/trees – I’ve got a small (3 foot) acer circinatum which aparently will stay dwarf but I also want a tree variety of the acers, if I lop it at around 6 foot every year will it damage the tree at all, will it inhibit its growth, or will it not care at all ?
    Thank you for the imposition. 🙂

    My friends in the SE part of this country might disagree on the Leyland, though I stayed away because of issues with bagworm and the fact they are everywhere-can you say monoculture? Especially when the alternative(s) is several great Chamaecyparis sp.
    Gary you can keep any variety if Acer palmatum to 6.oft. and under the rest of your natural born years-cough up the dough(pounds) for one of the ‘dissectums’. I’m not familiar with Acer ‘ciccinatum’? Is it a ‘cutleaf’ of some sort?

  2. I could not agree more on those gigantic junipers. Ugh. They are hideous. I’m sure there is a place for them, somewhere, but not in the average size home landscape!

    I agree and more, I can’t see them in any residential setting.

  3. Thanks for the advice on the acer tree, I love the “japanese-ness” about the plant and its good to know it will take some annual pruning, this garden won’t really take anything above six or seven feet tall and I want to keep it very simple but with an oriental feel.
    The “circinatum” is known as “vine maple” as it has broad, vine-like leaves, I was told that it would stay fairly dwarf but I’ve just read that they can grow up to 20 feet tall, so I’m planning on letting this one spend most of its life in a tub 🙂

    You should be able to do okay, good pruning, water, fertilizer at the right times . . . and your interest. I’m sure it will do fine. that is if you don’t drown it in another “pond explosion”

  4. As a proud alum of the University of Connecticut, I take issue with your comments about the picture from the “Husky” database. The picture simply proves your point; the plant stinks to high heaven. That IS a picture of the best Hetz juniper in the state.

    I am glad to know that the ‘BEST’ has been identified and having been identified save for posterity in such an august place as the “Husky” database. You and the rest of “Husky” nation should be proud, now that you basketball teams are sinking back into mediocrity you neede this shot of adrenalin. Go Huskies!

  5. I am trying to identify a juniper planted 20 years ago. It is located on an eastern exposure to the Atlantic ocean in Massachusetts. The evergreen is a juniper with characteristics of the Hetzii. Soft needles and greenish blue berries. However, the plant is only 18″ high and has a horizontal spread. It is extremely hardy. Any ideas?

    Sorry Rich; there are so many, and without a pic would be hard to say. Cut off a stem and take it to the local nursery or the County Extension Agent, one or the other should be able to help you.

  6. I’m interested to learn what would be good as a screen. My neighbor put on a parking lot i need to shield from my eyes.

    Without knowing where you are this question is about impossible to answer-sorry.

  7. Goodness! And to think I was contemplating a Hetzi until I wandered across this blog. I thought it was Hetzi that my landscaper had planted at my last home – grew fast, easy to shape into an organic sort of pyramid, full and bushy, but perhaps it wasn’t that after all. I am an arbor vitae hater, so that was a lovely alternative – whatever it was. Suggestions then for a natural fence from neighbor, (20ft between houses here), evergreen, takes wind, doesn’t get scraggly and doesn’t require too much maintenance – in Buffalo NY? Thanks!

    Look to one of the smaller Spruces, or several other Arborvitae species, Hemlocks(wind could be a problem) But in reality go with several different types and species to create a mixed “Hedge”, for seasonal interest, windbreak, color, texture, and wildlife habitat. it’s the new way to go instead of settling for one species.

  8. I was literally headed out the door to visit local nurseries to check on Hetzi which was recommended as a screen. Thankfully, I ran across this blog and I love the idea of using a variety of smaller plants to form a mixed hedge. I’m totally rethinking my plans. This has been extremely helpful. Thank you.

    Yeah! All right . . . ! Mixed plantings for your hedge(s). Now we’re talking. Good luck with your hedge, remember to combine evergreen and deciduous, and remember our little freinds for food source and coverage. A better World one mixed hedge at a time.

  9. I believe that the Hetzis do have a place in this world. We live in Eastern TN and have an area on the side of our house designated for birds and other wildlife. These junipers make a great hiding place for birds as well as winter food because of the numerous berries.

  10. I have seen a juniper used in large landscapes as a specimen plant that had the lower limbs removed. It looked similar to a giant bonsai tree. I do not know if this was the same variety of juniper, but I thought it looked nice pruned that way in the open. I cannot imagine it looking nice as a group.

  11. Carter has it right – Hetzi juniper and all junipers make fantastic specimens for Ueki no Te ire. Stylized pruning of these specimans into wonderful bonsai-like works of art. Try it instead of removing old junipers that take years to grow and mature. Their trunks and lateral branches are wonderful and full of character eonce exposed by thinning out the tree. Lots of fine examples from Japan and such trees are highly prized and valuable. Do google image search of giant bonsai and see many examples.

  12. I found the hetzii juniper to be great as a screen across the back of my yard. I had a wonderful view of the western sky and didn’t want to block that with trees. The hetzii bushes each got about 8 feet tall and at least 8 feet wide. It shielded me from my neighbors without blocking my sunsets. They are huge and I wouldn’t want them in a planting bed or a in a place that it would need to be trimmed. I think their beauty (which I know is in the eye of the beholder) is in its natural state of growth which is up and out kind of like a fountain. Thanks for this site.

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