How to care for an English boxwood bush (2023)

this oneBoxwoodThe genus includes about 70 species of slow-growing evergreen broad-leaved plants with small, round, leathery leaves. Most garden forms are cultivars or hybrids of two species—Other.evergreen tree(normal box)iB. microphylla(Japanese box). Boxwoods are usually large shrubs or small trees, but most varieties used in modern landscaping are dwarf varieties such asB. sempervirens 'Suffruticosa',A popular plant for hedges and trimming plants. Another dwarf variety is Korean (boxwoodit was.Islet muscle).At maturity it reaches a height of only 2 feet (with a slightly wider spread). These dwarf boxwood shrubs are prized for their dense, bright green foliage and round, compact growth habit.

It's boxwoodToxic to dogs, cats and horses.

How to care for an English boxwood bush (1)

How to care for an English boxwood bush (2)

How to care for an English boxwood bush (3)

botanical nameboxwood.
common nameBoxwood, English Boxwood, Box
type of plantgrm
mature size2-8 feet tall, 2-8 feet wide
insolationall, part
Soil typefertile
pH willneutral, alkaline
resistance zone5-9 (USDA)
Aboriginal areasEurope, Asia
toxicitytoxic to pets

Care of boxwood bushes

Boxwood is best grownIn fertile soil, in full sun to partial shade, preferably in a slightly sheltered place. Their roots are shallow, so the soil should be protected from heat. maintenance layerOrganic garden mulch, 3 inches thick, around each plant. Start mulching 2 inches from the trunk—generally, it's not a good idea to mulch over the trunk of a shrub or tree because it attracts pests and disease—and then outward about a foot, around the perimeter, if space permits.

When planted as hedges or formal screens, the main maintenance of the shrubs will be regular pruning, but this is not necessary if you are growing them as specimens.


Boxwoods need full sun to partial shade, but are best planted in areas bathed in dappled shade during the hottest part of the afternoon. Dwarf boxwood roots will benefit from cooler soil temperatures in the shade of trees.


Boxwood bushes need well-drained soil, otherwise the roots will rot. Although they can tolerate soils with a lower pH, they prefer thempH willIn the range of 6.8 to 7.5.


For the first two years, boxwood should be deeply watered weekly. Avoid shallow watering, because the moisture will not reach the deepest roots. Mature plants will thrive with deep watering every 2 to 4 weeks.

temperature and humidity

Boxwood usually thrives in climate zones 6 through 8. Shrubs will appreciate more water and shade during hot summer weather. Gardeners in zone 5 may find that stem tips die back during cold weather.


Fertilize with a multi-purpose fertilizer in the spring, before new growth appears. For quantities, follow the instructions on the product label.

Types of boxwood bushes

there are many of themTypes of boxwood, which plants are best for you depends on your specific landscaping needs.

  • Boxwood is immortal'Suffruticosa'Cultivars are favorites in gardens because they grow more slowly. The growth habit is firmer and more compact than the variety 'Arborescens'. These shrubs grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall with a spread of 2 to 4 feet.
  • B sempervirens'Arboris a fairly large, faster growing plant, growing up to 20 feet with a spread of 8 to 10 feet.
  • B. sempervirens'Monroe Green Tower'It is a columnar form, 9 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide. It is perfect for tall screens or for shortening. Two plants are available for the entrance on both sides.
  • boxwoodit was.japonica rice,Japanese boxwood is one of the most popular low hedge shrubs. It is also preferred where a more drought tolerant shrub is desired. It is suitable for zones 6 to 9 and grows to a mature size of 6 to 8 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. Japanese boxwood occupies an important place in many historical sites of the Far East.
  • B. microphylla japonica'Winter Jewel'It is 4 to 6 feet tall with a similar spread. The variety got its name from the pleasant golden and bronze colors of the leaves in winter.
  • B. microphylla japonica 'Kim Triumph'It is 2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide; it is valued for its colorful leaves.


Although known for being tolerant of severe pruning, most boxwoods can develop a nice informal shape without much pruning. Only occasional pruning is required to remove dead or tangled branches.

When pruning is an effort for form, pruning can be done almost any time during the growing season, but should be avoided in late fall to avoid winter bronze.

Propagation of boxwood bushes

Boxwood is best propagated by rooting stem cuttings in midsummer. Methods as below:

  1. Cut 3 to 4 inches of stem tips from new growth with clean scissors. Remove the lower leaves and scrape the bark off one side of the cutting.
  2. Bury the ends of the cuttings in a container with a mixture of sand, peat moss and vermiculite. Moisten the potting medium and place the container in an airtight plastic bag in a bright place.
  3. Check the moisture daily and spray when the cutting is dry. Check the roots every few days by pulling the cutting.
  4. When the root system is fully developed, remove the pot from the plastic bag and transplant the cutting into another container with rich potting mix.
  5. Continue to grow plants in a sunny window until planting outside next spring.

How to grow boxwood bushes from seed

Growing boxwood bushes from seed takes a lot of time, but is usually successful. Start with a 2-inch pot filled with organic potting soil. Make sure the pot has good drainage holes; adding some gravel to the bottom will ensure better drainage.

Place the seeds in damp paper towels and store those paper towels in the refrigerator for a month. Make sure the paper towel stays moist. After the month is over, move the paper towels and seeds to a warmer location, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the paper towels moist and expect the seeds to germinate in about a month.

After the seeds have germinated, plant sprouted side down in containers, one seed per container. Cover the container with plastic film and put it in a sunny place. Keep the soil moist. Remove the plastic wrap when green shoots appear above the soil. Nurture them in pots until they are too big for the pot, at which point they are ready to harden off and transplant outside.

Potted boxwood and transplanted

If you decide to grow boxwood in containers, choose a container that is as wide as the boxwood is tall. For example, if you have a 12" tall boxwood, you will need a 12" diameter pot. When it outgrows its current container, repot it into a container just a few inches larger, keep the soil moist and watch for signs that the plant is struggling - your soil may need an amendment.


In the northern part of the hardiness range, new growth is easily damaged by winter. For the first few years, protect the boxwood with burlap or similar protection.

Common pests and diseases

Miner, boxwood mites and boxwood leafhoppers are common pests. The damage is disfiguring but not fatal, and the pest can be treated with horticultural oil. In the Deep South, nematodes are a problem. Boxwood is susceptible to fungal blight and leaf spot, and root rot can also be a problem in poorly drained soils.

Frequently Asked Questions About Boxwood Shrubs

A common problem with boxwood is "winter patina," which is a reddish-brown or yellowish discoloration of the leaves caused by exposure to wind and sun in winter. One way to combat this problem is to spray your shrubs with an anti-desiccant in late November and January and make sure your plants are well watered during the growing season. In addition, you can build a structure around the bushes to protect them in the winter. But some gardeners don't mind - and actually appreciate - the bronzing of winter leaves.


  • Can boxwood be grown indoors?

    Dwarf boxwoodThey respond well to pruning, which makes them popular as bonsai plants.wall Germany(honeysuckle) are used in a similar way. It is important to ensure that the plants are well exposed to the sun indoors.

  • What makes boxwood so special?

    Boxwood has historical significance. Boxwood is an ancient shrub used for carving ornaments, musical instruments, furniture and marquetry. The first widespread use of boxwood in the United States occurred in a garden in 1653, earning it the nickname "man's oldest garden ornament."

  • Why does my boxwood smell weird?

    Although boxwoods do not have prominent flowers, those that do can sometimes give off a scent that gardeners find repulsive. If this is very important to you, ask your local nursery for milder scented varieties.

How to care for an English boxwood bush (4)

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