Content Detail

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

  • Family (English) Boxwood
  • Family (botanic) Buxaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Evergreen (foliage year-round)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet), Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous, Fragrant
  • Shape or form Mounded, Round
  • Growth rate Slow

Native geographic location and habitat:

Most boxwood cultivars are hybrids with complex parentage.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Simple, opposite, finely-textured leaves are 1/2-inch long and dark green to medium green.  Leaves are elliptical to oblong. Some cultivars can turn yellow-green during winter months. Some plants are malodorous.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Tiny, creamy-yellow clusters in leaf axils; fragrant.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Small capsule; not ornamentally important

Plant care:

Boxwoods grow best in loose, well-drained soil. They need to be  protected from windy sites and kept 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.

List of pests and diseases:

Boxwood psyllids and leaf miners are possible insect problems, as can stem cankers. They are sensitive to road salts and winter burn.

Note: Boxwood cultivars have confusing parental categories. All are hybrids.

Chicagoland Green®  (Buxus ‘Glencoe’): 

This is 2 to 3 feet high and wide with a  compact, rounded form that retains its green color well in winter. It  is  a Chicagoland Grows® introduction.

Green Gem  (Buxus ‘Green Gem’): 

This cultivar is 2 feet high and wide with a  mounded form.  It is  slower growing than other boxwoods and retains its deep green color in winter.

Green Mound (Buxus ‘Green Mound’ ):  

This cultivar is  2 to 3 feet high and wide with a  rounded form.  It has  small, glossy green, rounded leaves that remain green all winter.

Green Mountain (Buxus ‘Green Mountain’): 

This cultivar is 4 to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide.  It has a   wide pyramidal form and  dark green leaves which may turn bronze in winter in sunny locations.

Green Velvet (Buxus ‘Green Velvet’):

 This cultivar is 2 to 3 feet high and wide and globe-shaped.  Its leaves retain their dark green color in winter.

Northern Charm™  (Buxus ‘Wilson’):  

This cultivar is 2 to 3 feet high and wide, compact and  oval to rounded shape.  It is  hardy to zone 4. A Chicagoland Grows™ introduction.

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