This Juniper is a broad upright grower with lateral branches that grow out and upward like raised arms. The branchlets then droop off the main branches giving a wonderful effect especially as they sway in the wind. During the spring and summer, ‘Kalebab’ is a healthy yellowish green color. With the cooler temperatures of autumn and winter, the foliage begins to take on a plumb color that turns to an amazing shade of orange. The slightly more protected inner foliage may remain green (perhaps less so in more frigid climates than my own). The winter color really stands out and makes a remarkable show piece in what might otherwise be a dreary winter garden.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, even our coldest winter temperatures don’t drop anywhere near as low as my friend endures every year. ‘Kalebab’ thrives in our mild temperatures but I’ve wondered about how well it may hold up in some of the colder regions of the country. In the midst of our conversation, he said, “We’re having a good Zone 4 winter out here this year.” I brought up ‘Kalebab’ and even though he didn’t have experience with this relatively new conifer, he did mention that the low growing Juniperus communis cultivars do very well in his zone, but that some of the upright forms can tend to sunburn during the winter. I suggested that he needed to get a ‘Kalebab’ to grow in his region so we could learn more about this great tree in his harsh winter conditions. Since he is one of the directors of the Bickelhaupt Arboretum in Clinton, Iowa he assured me that he would get a specimen planted there this year.
I hope you’ll give this exciting new conifer a try in your garden. I’m confident that you will not be disappointed with its pleasant form, great year-round color and hardiness for most any garden.