Choosing the Right Boxwood Shrub for Your Landscaping

Choosing the right boxwood shrub can be difficult because there are so many varieties. In this article, we’re going to go over the different types to help you pick the right boxwood for your landscaping.

We have been doing our own landscaping for several years now. Actually, for nineteen years! Amazing how time flies! In the early years, we never could afford to have thousands of dollars spent on landscaping and why should we start now? Landscaping is something that can easily be DIYed with proper planning and tools.

The biggest challenge many have with doing their own landscaping is figuring out what type of shrubs to plant and of course where to plant them. We always suggest doing some research to see what grows best in your climate and also sketch out the particular area you are working with. It is best to start in small sections so you do not become overwhelmed. This will help with the planning process also.

Throughout the many years of landscaping, we have grown to love boxwood shrubs. Boxwoods are such versatile shrubs that can be used in pairs or even alone in containers next to a door. They are evergreen shrubs that can be used in both formal and informal garden areas. It is important to know which boxwood works best for you by doing some research on its particular size, shape, growth rate, and hardiness. Keep in mind where it is going and what your expectations are for this plant.

In this article, I’m breaking down different types of boxwoods to help you figure out which one to choose for your landscaping project.

Dwarf/Low Growing Boxwoods

There are several boxwoods that are considered dwarf boxwoods and will only grow between 1 and 4 feet. This group includes the North Star, Baby Gem, Wedding Ring, and Japanese Boxwood. Japanese Boxwood probably being the tallest of all of them. These dwarf boxwoods can serve as natural-looking ground cover and lower borders. They also look great along pathways or sidewalks. They are flexible and easy to shape with light pruning required.

English Dwarf Boxwood

We chose to plant several Japanese Boxwoods to make a small hedge under a few windows. We planted the small boxwoods very closely knowing they will quickly become a small hedge and grow together. Some people prefer to trim them into a small ball. Another great look for lower-growing boxwoods is to use in planters. Due to them being slower-growing and easy to prune they are great shrubs to place in containers beside entryway doors or just to add some height around your house in other outside areas.

Upright or Tall Boxwoods

Upright or Tall Boxwoods are ones that grow anywhere from 4 to 9 feet tall. The tallest boxwoods are the Fastigiata, John Baldwin, Dee Runk, and the Graham Blandy Boxwood. These particular boxwoods grow upright in a natural cone-shaped form. Upright boxwoods create a very classy, sophisticated look.

Using them in mass plantings can create either a free-form or sculpted hedge. You could even use one of these boxwoods in a container for a formal garden accent. Although keep in mind, that because they grow taller, it may require more pruning and maintenance.

Round/Medium Sized Boxwoods

Probably the most used category of Boxwoods is the medium-sized Boxwood which includes Wintergreen, Golden Dream, and Green Mound Boxwoods. We have used our fair share of Wintergreen and love them!

winter gem boxwood shrub

They normally are fast-growing and end up being anywhere between 3 to 6 feet tall. These are pretty hardy and most of the time stand up to heat, humidity, and drought. They’re also great for using as foundation planting, hedges, and containers. We have experience with using them in all ways and have found the Wintergreen to be our favorite due to its beauty and hardiness.

Cold/Hardiest Boxwoods

As I have mentioned, Boxwoods are hardy plants, but there are a few that seem to withstand the cold and be the hardiest of all. Green Velvet, Green Mountain, Green Gem, Wintergem and Glencoe Boxwoods are among this group.

green velvet boxwood shrub

So, if you are living in a colder climate and are wanting to plant a Boxwood, I would probably choose one of these.

Boxwood Shrub Care

Caring for boxwoods doesn’t have to be hard; with a few straightforward practices, you can ensure your boxwoods thrive, enhancing your landscape with their lush, green beauty. The very first thing with caring for these shrubs is water. Water is the key, especially for newly planted shrubs; aim for consistently moist soil, but be wary of overwatering, as boxwoods do not fare well with “wet feet.”

Regular pruning is also essential—not only to maintain your desired shape and size but to ensure sunlight and air circulation reach the inner branches, promoting healthy growth. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Also keep an eye out for common pests like boxwood blight or leafminers, and treat promptly with appropriate fungicides or pesticides.

Feeding your boxwoods with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring can support their growth and vitality. Remember, the secret to thriving boxwoods lies in balancing these care elements, and adapting as needed for your specific climate and soil conditions. By following these guidelines, your boxwoods will remain a vibrant and elegant staple in your garden for years to come.

How to Grow Boxwood Shrubs

Growing boxwoods is a rewarding endeavor that begins with choosing the right location and preparing the soil. Boxwoods thrive in well-drained soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0, so it’s beneficial to test your soil before planting and adjust it as needed.

When planting, select a spot that receives partial to full sun, although they can tolerate shade, their growth may be less vigorous in too much shadow. Dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball, gently place your boxwood in the hole, and fill it with a mix of native soil and compost to encourage healthy root development. Water the newly planted boxwood thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots and mulch around the base to retain moisture and reduce weed competition.

Regular watering is crucial in the first few years to establish a strong root system, but be careful not to overwater. With patience and proper care, your boxwoods will gradually form the lush, verdant structure that makes them so cherished in landscapes and gardens.

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  • Reply Saadia

    Hi I love to color scheme of this house… what are the names of the paint colors used?

    February 17, 2021 at 5:02 pm
  • Reply Becky

    How tall and wide will the English box wood get? Trying to find something for my walk way that doesn’t get tall

    April 11, 2022 at 1:54 pm
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