Boxwoods are excellent, low-growing, evergreen shrubs with dark green, finely textured leaves. Boxwoods can be used as hedges, rounded specimens and neatly compact background plants in any landscape. Many of the boxwoods sold today are hybrids with complex parentage.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Evergreen (foliage year-round)
- Mixed border,
- Small shrub (3-5 feet),
- Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Alkaline soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Alkaline soil
Season of Interest:
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size and Form
Size varies by cultivar (see below)
Tree & Plant Care
Boxwoods grow best in loose, well-drained soil. Protect from windy sites.
Keep well-watered, especially in late fall before the ground freezes.
Plants benefit with 2 to 3 inches of mulch to moderate soil moisture.
Prune in early spring. Plants can be sheared or pruned to make a hedge.
Disease, pests, and problems
Boxwood psyllids and leaf miners are possible insect problems.
Sensitive to road salts and winter burn
Native geographic location and habitat
Most boxwood culitvars are hybrids with complex parentage.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, opposite, finely-textured, 1/2-inch dark green to medium green leaves are elliptical to oblong.
Some cultivars can turn yellow-green during winter months.
Some plants malodorus.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Tiny, creamy-yellow clusters in leaf axils; fragrant.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Small capsule; not ornamentally important
Note: Boxwood cultivars have confusing parental categories. All are hybrids.
Chicagoland Green® (Buxus ‘Glencoe’): 2 to 3 feet high and wide; Compact, rounded form; retains green color well in winter; a Chicagoland Grows® introduction.
Green Gem (Buxus ‘Green Gem’): 2 feet high and wide; mounded form; slower growing than other boxwoods; retains deep green color in winter.
Green Mound (Buxus ‘Green Mound’ ): 2 to 3 feet high and wide; rounded form; mall, glossy green, rounded leaves remain green all winter.
Green Mountain (Buxus 'Green Mountain'): 4 to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide; wide pyramidal form; dark green leaves may turn bronze in winter in sunny locations.
Green Velvet (Buxus 'Green Velvet'): 2 to 3 feet high and wide; globe-shaped; leaves retain dark green color in winter.
Northern Charm™ (Buxus ‘Wilson’): 2 to 3 feet high and wide: compact, oval to rounded shape; hardy to zone 4. A Chicagoland Grows™ introduction.