How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Boxwood Shrubs

If in case you have ever seen a superbly pristine hedge or a dense and engaging topiary, likelihood is these crops are boxwoods. These shrubs are very tolerant of intense pruning, which has helped safe their outstanding place on the planet of hedges. 

The boxwood genus may be very massive, comprised of about 70 varieties. Every selection is a bit totally different, however all of them are dense and fantastically inexperienced. 

Boxwoods are surprisingly versatile for an evergreen shrub. These crops develop properly in your mattress or containers and even window packing containers. As a bonus, boxwoods are very simple to look after. In case you are looking for the proper evergreen shrub in your backyard, boxwood is it!

Boxwood Shrub Overview

Native Space

Asia, Africa, South and Central America


Full solar to shade 

Watering Necessities


Pests & Illnesses

Boxwood mites, Boxwood psyllid, leafminers. Fungal illnesses


Low to Reasonable

Soil Kind

Loamy and well-draining 

What Is It?

Close-up of a row of young round-shaped Boxwood bushes in a garden flower bed. Boxwood shrubs are small, dense, evergreen plants with glossy, dark green leaves that are oval in shape.
These evergreen shrubs adorned villas and have been used as choices on coffins.

Boxwoods have a protracted and wealthy historical past, starting in about 4000 B.C. in Egypt. The wooden from boxwoods was used to vogue small and ornate packing containers, which is probably going the place the plant obtained its identify: Buxus or “field” in Latin. 

As time handed, the evergreen shrubs adorned villas, and their sprigs of leaves have been discovered as choices on coffins. The boxwood took maintain of our gardens in the course of the Tudor interval. Grown as ornate topiaries or hedged shrubs, the boxwood earned its status early on for being dependable and exquisite. 


Close-up of Boxwood bush branches in the garden. The branches are vertical, covered with small, leathery, dark green leaves of an oblong oval shape. They are arranged opposite each other along the stems.
These versatile evergreen shrubs are valued for his or her capacity to thrive in varied backyard types.

Boxwoods are a gaggle of evergreen shrubs. These shrubs are helpful in many various backyard types resulting from their excessive tolerance for heavy pruning. Boxwoods are prized for his or her dense and deep inexperienced leaves. 

Native Space

Close-up of a Boxwood bush in a sunny garden. The bush is large, tall, lush. It has glossy dark green leaves that are oblong in shape. The leaves are arranged opposite each other along the stems, creating a symmetrical, compact structure.
Boxwoods originate from Asia and Europe, flourishing in loamy or sandy soil with wind safety.

Boxwoods are native to areas of Asia in addition to Europe. These shrubs develop finest in loamy or sandy soil and require some safety from wind. They’re hardy in zones 5-9, with a number of extra chilly or heat-tolerant species. 


Planting is a fairly simple course of. Boxwoods develop fantastically in backyard beds, whereas the dwarf varieties will develop with nice success in containers. 


Close-up of male hands holding a young boxwood seedling on a blurred garden background. The man is wearing a white T-shirt and gray trousers. The boxwood seedling has a root ball with dry soil, vertical woody stems with small oval leaves of a dark green color.
Plant your boxwood shrubs in spring or fall for cooler temperatures that cut back transplant shock.

The very best time of 12 months to plant your bought shrubs is the spring or fall. The cooler temperatures of those seasons assist to forestall any transplant shock.

  • Dig a gap twice as extensive and twice as deep because the rootball.
  • Situate the plant in order that the rootball is degree with the soil floor.
  • Backfill together with your backyard soil.
  • Pat the soil till agency.
  • Water your new boxwood!

Rising from Seed

Close-up of young Boxwood sprouts in a flower bed. The sprouts are small, consisting of vertical thin stems covered with small leathery, oval, glossy, green leaves.
Harden them off outdoor for per week earlier than planting them in your backyard.

Beginning boxwoods from seeds is feasible, though it takes a good quantity of persistence and time

  • Collect your seeds and wrap them in a moist paper towel. Go away the seed within the fridge for about one month.
  • Subsequent, transfer the seeds and damp paper towel to a heat space for an additional month. This space must be round 70 levels. You’ll discover the seeds germinating in about one month,
  • As soon as your seeds have sprouted, it’s time to plant them! Utilizing a seed starter equipment, plant your seeds sprout-side down within the soil. Hold the pots and soil lined till you see a shoot rising above the soil degree.
  • Proceed to maintain your pots watered and indoors till they outgrow your small pots.
  • Harden your seedlings off by transferring the pot outdoor for about one week.
  • At this level, your boxwood is able to be planted in your backyard!

The way to Develop

Boxwood has misplaced some steam within the recognition division as a result of they’ve gained a status for top upkeep. That is principally as a result of countless pruning wanted to keep up probably the most excellent plant. Backyard types at present don’t require perfection, making room for a contented rising boxwood. 

These shrubs are simple to develop. Let’s take a deeper look. 


Close-up of large ornamental Boxwood bushes in a sunny garden. Four bushes of different sizes from largest to smallest, have oval and round shapes. The bushes have branched stems covered with small oval leaves of dark green color.
Boxwoods can deal with full solar to virtually full shade.

Boxwoods tolerate varied daylight circumstances, together with full solar to just about full shade. In hotter climates, present some afternoon shade. This can assist beat the warmth and maintain the foliage from burning. The shade from overhead timber may also assist maintain the basis system cool, stopping them from drying out too rapidly. 


Close-up of watering a Boxwood bush with a green watering can. The bush has fine-textured, glossy green leaves that are typically oval in shape. A large amount of water flows from the watering can.
Present deep watering in the course of the first few years of development.

Boxwoods have in depth root techniques and require deep watering for the primary few years of development. They develop finest once they obtain constant moisture. The frequency you will have to water your shrubs will change relying on the soil sort in your backyard. 


Close-up of a gardener's hand adding soil to a freshly transplanted Boxwood bush in a flowerbed. The bushes are small, round in shape, with vertical stems densely covered with small oval leaves. The leaves are leathery, glossy, dark green.
Select a website with wealthy, well-draining soil to forestall root rot.

When choosing a website, search an space of your yard with wealthy and well-draining soil. Boxwood shrubs tolerate totally different soil sorts however have to be well-draining to forestall root rot. 

Temperature Concerns

Close-up of a Boxwood bush covered with snow in the garden. The bush has vertical branched stems densely covered with small oval leaves. They are arranged opposite each other along the stems, creating a symmetrical, compact structure.
Boxwoods thrive in average temperatures and require ample humidity.

Boxwood is hardy in USDA zones 5-9. For those who reside within the hotter zones, make sure you up your watering classes within the summertime.

For those who love in a chilly space, defend the shrubs from the wintertime chilly temperatures and chilly winds. This may be carried out with burlap or plant luggage.


Close-up of a gardener's hand with a spatula adding mineral fertilizer to a Boxwood bush in the garden. The bush is small, has a rounded shape, consists of many branches covered with small oval glossy green leaves.
For wholesome boxwood shrubs, use all-purpose fertilizer in spring earlier than new development.

To maintain your boxwood shrubs lush and wholesome, apply an all-purpose fertilizer within the spring earlier than the looks of any new development. Do not forget that fertilizer isn’t required for boxwoods however is really useful in case your soil lacks vitamins.

For those who discover yellowing leaves in your shrubs, this might point out nitrogen deficiency. Think about a soil take a look at for those who discover this taking place, and apply per what the take a look at outcomes state.  


So far as day-to-day upkeep goes, boxwoods are simple to look after. Listed below are a number of tricks to maintain your boxwoods trying pristine. 


Close-up of a row of small Boxwood bushes with a layer of mulch. The bushes are low, have a rounded shape, and densely spaced fine-textured, glossy dark green leaves of an oval shape. Mulch consists of straw.
Mulching round your shrub seems to be tidy and retains moisture and temperature for shallow roots.

Including a number of inches of mulch round your shrub might help beautify your backyard and keep moisture and temperature ranges across the shallow roots of your shrubs. When you’re mulching round your boxwoods, depart some room between the mulch and the shrub’s trunk. This might help forestall illnesses and different pests from taking maintain of your shrubs. 


Close-up of a gardener trimming a Boxwood bush using large pruning shears in a sunny garden. The gardener gives the bush a rounded, neat appearance. The man is wearing a blue shirt, a gray apron and gray gloves.
Pruning may be carried out at any time with sharp shears, however keep away from fall pruning to make sure all new development hardens off earlier than winter.

For those who go for a extra pure look, pruning isn’t required. Nevertheless, for those who want a tidy hedge or topiary, your boxwoods want common pruning.

Pruning may be carried out at almost any time of the 12 months utilizing sharp shears. Nevertheless, it’s best to keep away from pruning within the fall because the shrub will produce new development after pruning, and this development might not have sufficient time to harden off earlier than winter units in. 


Boxwoods are simple to propagate from cuttings. You doubtless have all of the provides you want at dwelling; all you will have is time and persistence. 


Close-up of a black plastic starter tray with Boxwood shrub cuttings planted for propagation, on a wooden table. There is also a white small watering can, a white plant pot and other garden supplies on the table. The cuttings are short and consist of stems covered with small oval dark green leaves.
Simply propagate boxwoods in summer season by taking a 4-inch slicing, eradicating decrease leaves, and planting in a sterile medium.

Boxwoods may be simply propagated through cuttings. The very best time of the 12 months to do that is in the summertime when there’s ample new development so that you can choose from. 

  1. Snip a slicing out of your boxwood shrub. This slicing must be about 4 inches in size.
  2. Take away the decrease inch or two of leaves from the slicing, and gently strip the bark off, exposing development factors.
  3. Stick the slicing right into a pot of sterile planting medium. For those who select to make use of any rooting hormone, dip the slicing into the hormone powder earlier than you stick it into the soil.
  4. Place the pot in a vibrant space. Whether it is cooler on this space of your own home, put a plastic Ziploc bag excessive of the slicing, taking care to not make any contact between the plastic and the boxwood.
  5. Hold the soil moist. Water gently, and test frequently to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.
  6. Whenever you really feel resistance when tugging on the slicing, your slicing has doubtless developed roots! Congratulations!
  7. Transplant your boxwood into bigger pots as wanted. Hold your boxwood indoors all through the winter and transplant it into your backyard within the spring.

Whereas boxwoods all share similarities, it is very important word the variations. These variations could make it simpler so that you can choose the proper boxwood in your backyard. It will possibly additionally make it easier to establish any points or pets you might run throughout. 

Frequent Boxwood

Close-up of Buxus sempervirens in the garden. Buxus sempervirens, commonly known as common boxwood, is a versatile evergreen shrub featuring small, oval or elliptical glossy dark green leaves densely packed along slender brown stems.
Buxus sempervirens has darkish inexperienced leaves and varies in top.

Frequent boxwood, formally often called Buxus sempervirens, has darkish inexperienced leaves and may develop as much as 30 toes tall, relying in your chosen selection. The widespread boxwood makes an important hedge or perhaps a topiary if that fits your gardening type. 

Dwarf English Boxwood

Close-up of Dwarf English Boxwood in a sunny garden. This is a compact, slow-growing evergreen shrub with small, oval, deep green leaves closely spaced along its branches. The bush has a neat rounded shape.
The dwarf English boxwood is good for small backyard areas, reaching a most top of two toes.

Quite a lot of the widespread boxwood, the dwarf English boxwood is the proper boxwood for smaller areas in your backyard. This petite shrub will max out at two toes tall. Use them in containers or as a low-growing border hedge. 

Japanese Boxwood

Close-up of Japanese Boxwood in black planting bags. The Japanese Boxwood is a versatile evergreen shrub known for its small, elliptical, bright green leaves that densely cover its fine-textured branches. The plant has dense foliage and elegant, symmetrical appearance.
Buxus microphylla japonica is a smaller species with lighter inexperienced leaves and higher warmth and drought tolerance.

Japanese boxwood, often known as littleleaf boxwood, is one other small boxwood species rising to about 4 toes excessive and extensive. Buxus microphylla ssp. japonica has lighter inexperienced leaves than the opposite boxwoods.

It is usually extra tolerant of scorching temperatures and ensuing drought. The Japanese boxwood can be utilized for hedges or topiaries. 

Korean Boxwood

Close-up of Korean Boxwood. The Korean Boxwood is a small, compact evergreen shrub featuring tiny, glossy, dark green leaves that densely cover its fine branches.
This selection options emerald inexperienced leaves and mounded development as much as about 4 toes.

Korean boxwood has emerald inexperienced leaves and grows in a properly mounded kind. Low-growing to about 4 toes excessive, this evergreen shrub makes a pleasant hedge or border plant. For those who reside in colder climates, the Korean boxwood will go well with you effectively as it’s extra chilly tolerant than the opposite species. 

Frequent Issues

Even probably the most resilient plant can run into points with backyard pests and illnesses. Let’s have a look at a number of pests and illnesses that may trigger bother in your boxwoods. 


Boxwoods can turn into hosts to any of the widespread bugs in your space. Good gardening practices comparable to weeding, watering, and fertilizing appropriately are nice methods to maintain these bugs at a minimal.

Boxwoods even have a number of specialised bugs that choose to host on the Buxus genus. Let’s check out these. 

Boxwood Mites

Close-up of Boxwood shrub leaves affected by Mites in sunlight. The leaves are oval, glossy green, with small, pinpoint brown lesions due to mites.
Boxwoods are susceptible to boxwood mites, which injury leaves by feeding on them, inflicting discoloration and small dots.

Sadly for boxwoods, they’re the only host of boxwood mites. You might be acquainted with spider mites, and boxwood mites should not a lot totally different. We frequently discover their injury and never the bugs as a result of they’re so tiny.

These mites will feed from the higher and backside surfaces of the leaves, which causes an total discoloration of the plant. You’ll not see yellowing or bronzing of the leaves. On nearer inspection, the discolored leaves can have small dots from the feeding websites. 

Insecticidal cleaning soap or horticultural oil will assist to clear these bugs out of your crops. Needless to say mites feast on crops which are already beneath stress. Hold your boxwoods watered and fertilize appropriately to maintain these bugs at bay.

Boxwood Psyllid

Close-up of Boxwood Psyllid on a Boxwood shrub leaf. The Psylla buxi insect is a tiny, sap-sucking pest with a pear-shaped body. It has a greenish to yellowish coloration and features distinctive wings held in a roof-like position over its body.
Boxwood psyllids may be managed with insecticidal cleaning soap or horticultural oil.

One other genus-specific pest, the boxwood psyllid, is a small inexperienced insect that sucks the life out of your boxwood leaves. You might not discover these bugs, however you might discover their injury. The certain signal that you’ve boxwood psyllids in your crops is the cupping of latest leaves. 

The excellent news is that these bugs don’t trigger long-term injury to the well being of your boxwood. The cupped or curled leaves are purely aesthetic. Insecticidal cleaning soap or horticultural oil can assist in eliminating these pests. These sprays are simplest in mid to late spring. 


Close-up of Boxwood shrub affected by Leafminers. Boxwood shrub exhibits signs of damage in the form of discolored, brownish stippling on their leaves, caused by the larvae tunneling through the leaf tissue.
Boxwood leafminers are harmful bugs that feed inside leaves, inflicting blistering and yellowing.

Leafminers, particularly boxwood leafminers, are some of the devastating bugs that boxwoods can run into. These bugs feast on the within of your boxwood leaves, leaving your leaves blistered and yellow

You’ll be able to assist forestall leadminers by pruning in Could when the adults emerge from their eggs. Utilizing a normal pesticide will do the trick whether it is too late to catch them by early pruning. Comply with the labeled directions to use on the appropriate charge and time interval. 


Boxwoods can run into points with typical backyard illnesses, comparable to leaf spot, that may be managed or prevented by good gardening practices. Watering appropriately and holding your backyard freed from particles is a good way to maintain your crops wholesome. Sadly, one specialised illness can have an effect on boxwoods: boxwood blight. 

Boxwood Blight

Close-up of Boxwood shrub affected by Boxwood Blight in a sunny garden. The plant has brown dry stems with brown wilted and dry oval leaves.
This fungal illness manifests as leaf spots, leaf drop, and stem lesions, spreading from the within out.

In case your boxwood has spots on leaves, is dropping leaves, and has lesions on the stems, you doubtless have run into boxwood blight. This comparatively new fungal illness can have an effect on any plant within the Buxus genus.

Search for injury starting on the plant’s inside and transferring outward. Sadly, there isn’t any therapy for boxwood blight. It spreads quickly, and it is strongly recommended that each one contaminated crops be eliminated and destroyed. 

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

A typical challenge with boxwoods is injury from winter winds and temperatures. Boxwoods are shallow-rooted, and there’s usually restricted obtainable water for them within the winter. This leads to minimal water content material within the leaves and remainder of the plant, making it crucial to guard these shrubs from the winter parts.

There are a number of other ways to guard your shrubs within the winter. One choice is utilizing burlap to cowl them. An alternative choice is to make use of a plant bag. Don’t wrap your shrubs too tightly. This could trigger friction which can lead to damaging the plant.

The brief reply to this query is not any. Boxwood is poisonous to each people and animals whether it is ingested. To maintain your self and your furry good friend protected, plant boxwoods in containers or in areas of your yard the place your pets don’t roam.

Many gardeners complain of an odd odor coming from their boxwood shrubs. The aroma comes from oils throughout the plant being warmed by the solar. That is most typical with English boxwood crops. If this aroma is bothersome, I like to recommend planting a unique sort of boxwood in your backyard.

Remaining Ideas

Once we shut our eyes, we are able to think about rows and rows of completely trimmed and really formal boxwoods lining some property pathway or drive. Whereas that may be a lovely use for these shrubs, don’t get caught up within the formality of boxwoods. These shrubs supply a good looking evergreen colour and are actually pretty when they’re left to develop of their pure kind. 

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