Boxwood Plant: Everything About The Boxwood Shrub

Rounded Boxwood shrubs in a garden

Boxwoods are very resistant to the cold, so they can be grown in any region and make the most of their rich appearance. Combined with bamboos, most of which are very hardy themselves, they create a charming exotic decor.

In this article, I have gathered for you all the information about this plant, its main characteristics and what you need to know to plant and grow it.

Characteristics of the boxwood plant

Scientific nameBuxus spp.
OriginEurope, Asia
Rusticity-15°C to -20°C (-59°F to -68°F)
ExposureSun or half-shade
SoilIndifferent, even poor and dry

Boxwoods are shrubs of about 3 m high, but the botanical species can reach nearly 9 m in the wild.

The leaves are evergreen, oval, shiny or mat green, with a more or less marked central vein. Of very slow growth, they need 15 to 20 years to reach 3 m.

The flowering is without decorative interest.

How to grow a boxwood bush

Boxwoods can grow in all types of soil, even calcareous, stony and dry, but a good fresh garden soil is preferable.

You won’t have to do much except watch them grow and prune them 2 or 3 times between spring and fall.
With hand shears, for a gentle work, remove 5 to 8 cm of all new shoots.

How to grow a boxwood shrub in a pot

Growing a boxwood in a pot is a great way to add an attractive and low-maintenance evergreen to your garden. Boxwoods are an ideal choice for potted plants as they require little maintenance and can be easily moved around.

Grow boxwoods in pots without restriction, as they are beautiful all year round. Choose large, well-shaped plants as they do not grow very much. Prune the boxwood as needed to maintain its desired shape.

Where to plant a boxwood shrub

Borders, low hedges, topiaries, and potted plants are all ideal places to plant boxwoods. Borders are a great way to define a space and boxwoods can be used to create a neat, structured edge. Low hedges can be used to provide a natural screen or to separate two areas. Topiaries are a great way to create a unique and eye-catching feature in a garden and boxwoods are perfect for this purpose. Finally, potted plants are a great way to bring a bit of greenery to a deck or patio. 

Break up their somewhat strict lines by associating them with exotic-looking plants, such as banana trees, cordylines or brugmansias.

Our selection

Almost all commercially available boxwoods are labeled Buxus sempervirens. These are actually varieties of the type, and only those with variegated foliage can be identified at first glance.

Make the right choice for your intended use.

For small borders

Suffruticosa‘, also known as ‘Nain d’Artois‘ or ‘Border Box‘, with its very dense, bushy growth, is easy to maintain at 25 or 30 cm high. One plant every 25 cm is sufficient. For long lengths and small budgets, or both, plant bare-root starting in November.

For small low hedges

For small low hedges of less than 1 m, you can use small plants of 20 to 30 cm. Only the start-up is a bit long, but in a few years you can build a low hedge of 1m height and 50cm width, starting with plants of 20-30cm.

For topiaries

It is in your interest to buy already formed boxwood. The budget is reasonable, at least for simple ball or cone shapes. You will find mainly the variety ‘Rotundifolia‘, appreciated for its faster growth and shiny foliage. On the other hand, it is not specified anywhere that it is a little more fragile. The plant is not in danger of dying, but the foliage “curls” under severe frosts. ‘Pyramidalis‘ is the other variety often proposed for this use.

Be careful, not all dwarf boxwoods are alike. Japanese dwarf boxwoods, Buxus microphylla Japonica’, Korean, B. microphylla ‘Koreana’ and Chinese, B. microphylla ‘Sinica’ are more sensitive to the cold and their foliage turns yellow-brown during frosts.

In a nutshell

The Boxwood shrub has been a favourite of gardeners for centuries, owing mainly to its ability to act as an excellent hedge or border plant. The Boxwood shrub is also surprisingly versatile, allowing gardeners to grow it in almost any climate and soil condition. Whether you’re a beginner who’s just getting started with gardening or an experienced greenthumb looking for something new, the Boxwood shrub is the perfect choice for a beautiful and low maintenance addition to your garden!

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