Japanese Boxwood Plant Care Guide (Buxus microphylla) | Home for the Harvest (2022)

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Japanese boxwood plants are an attractive and low-maintenance choice for home landscaping, including when grown in containers and when planted as a low hedge.

Japanese Boxwood (Buxus microphylla) is a broadleaf evergreen shrub with small glossy green leaves. Also called Littleleaf Boxwood, this species is among the most cold-hardy, disease-resistant, and easy-to-grow of all ornamental boxwood. Japanese Boxwood plants can grow to be large shrubs over decades, but they are usually pruned into small hedges or topiaries.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about these beautiful evergreen shrubs.

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Japanese Boxwood: The Basics

Japanese Boxwood is also known as Littleleaf Boxwood. Its botanical Latin species name isBuxus microphylla. These slow-growing broadleaf shrubs are grown for their shiny green foliage and have the wonderful feature of keeping their leaves over the wintertime.

Japanese Boxwood is generally cold-hardy in Zones 5-9, with some cultivars being more cold-tolerant than others. While many types turn a bit yellow-bronze in the wintertime, most foliage returns to its green color in the spring. Certain cultivars have been bred for better year-round green color.

Most Japanese Boxwood shrubs grow to about 3 feet (1 meter) tall and 3 feet (1 meter) wide, although there are both shorter and taller cultivars available. Littleleaf boxwood plants have dense branches and tend to create a naturally-rounded shape as they grow

These ornamental evergreens grow tiny flowers in the springtime, giving them a lovely fragrance at the beginning of the growing season, as well as value to pollinators. Japanese Boxwood has shallow roots, and these plants benefit from mulching the soil around them as temperatures rise. Plants are generally deer-resistant and easy to grow.

This plant has been cultivated since at least the 14th century in Japan. Japanese boxwood is a popular shrub to plant as a low heady or edging plant. This is because it tends not to have as many disease problems as the English Boxwood or American Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens, Common Boxwood).

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Cultivars Of Japanese Boxwood

There are a number of different named Japanese boxwood varieties or cultivars. Here are some of the most popular cultivars of Japanese Boxwood:

  • ‘Baby Gem Boxwood’ – New compact variety, heat and drought resistant
  • ‘Compacta’ – Small Japanese Boxwood, great for low hedge
  • ‘Curly Locks’ – Small type with twisted branches & leaves
  • ‘Faulkner’ – Dense variety with RHS Award of Garden Merit recognition
  • ‘Grace Hendrick Phillips’ – Low-growing cultivar, edging choice
  • ‘Green Beauty’ – Drought-tolerant variety with good summer color
  • Green Borders’ (‘Grebor’) – Fine-leaved type, leaves grow down to ground
  • ‘Green Pillow‘ – Dense, rounded variety
  • ‘Jim Stauffer’ – Cold-hardy, fast-growing, but ultimately small
  • ‘Little Missy’ – Very small variety with dense branches
  • ‘National’ – Very tall Japanese Boxwood
  • ‘Rubra’ – Variety with orange-hued leaves
  • ‘Sprinter’ (‘Bulthouse’) – Fast-growing form of ‘Winter Gem’
  • ‘Sunnyside’ – Larger leaves, very cold-hardy
  • ‘Wedding Ring’ – Specialty type with variegated leaves
  • ‘Winter Beauty’ – Round form, dark green leaves
  • ‘Winter Gem’ – Round form, dark green leaves, very cold-hardy
  • ‘Wintergreen’ – Bright green leaves, stays green in winter

Of these varieties, the most widely-used are likely Baby Gem, Winter Gem, Sprinter, and Faulkner. Read more about the beautiful Winter Gem Boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Winter Gem’).

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(Video) How to Propagate Buxus | Gardening | Great Home Ideas

Landscaping Uses for Japanese Boxwood

Japanese Boxwoods are typically grown as ornamental plants. One of its most suitable uses is for low-growing beautiful hedges or formal topiary. Japanese boxwoods also make great foundation plants and can be used to frame a focal point. Certain cultivars can be used for bonsai and formed into tiny trees. Lastly, these stately shrubs make an excellent hedge plant to complement linear hardscaping such as along a fence, driveway, garden path, or entryway.

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Choosing a Planting Location for Japanese Boxwood Shrubs

Even though the Japanese boxwood is fairly tough, it’s important to choose an appropriate place to plant and grow these shrubs. They need some sunlight to thrive, but too much heat can cause foliar damage and dried-out roots. The leaves are also prone to drying out with cold winter winds.

Here are the ideal planting location characteristics for Japanese Boxwood shrubs:

  • Choose a cultivar that’s well-matched to the local climate. Japanese Boxwood are easiest to grow in plant hardiness Zones 6-8, but there are different cultivars available covering Zones 4-11.
  • Prioritize sunny planting locations, except in the hottest zones. While boxwoods become established more quickly in the shade, established plants grow more vigorously with adequate sunlight. Morning sun is preferable to full afternoon sun, but not strictly necessary.
  • Sheltered locations can help minimize exposure to cold winter conditions, including dry winter winds and early spring freeze-thaw cycles.
  • Japanese Boxwood plants are tolerant to varying soil types, but prefer well-draining, loamy soil. They will grow in alkaline soils, but prefer acidic to neutral soil (a soil pH between 6.5 and 7.0 is ideal).

The ideal circumstance for a Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla) is dappled sunlight or a part sun location. In general, morning sun is preferred to harsh afternoon sunshine. This is particularly true in places where the afternoon sun is quite hot. It is possible to grow Japanese Boxwood in full shade, but it will grow much more slowly because of the lack of light. Japanese Boxwood shrubs make excellent low hedges and foundation plantings.

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Spacing Japanese Boxwood Plants

The spacing of Japanese Boxwood plants depends on the desired final size of the shrub(s). Shrubs planted as a single specimen can grow 3 feet wide (1 m) and over 3 feet (1 m) tall over the course of several decades. These slow-growing shrubs are small at first but do expand into dense, larger rounded balls over time.

Japanese boxwood plants are often planted spaced out in a line to form a hedge. Before deciding on spacing, the final dimensions of the hedge should be defined in the garden space.

For a medium-tall & wide hedge (about 3′ or 1 m tall), Japanese Boxwood plants can be planted 2′-4′ apart. At 3′ apart, the small plants will have spaces between them for years but have room to grow and thrive as full-size plants later on. Measure spacing distances from the center of one tree’s central trunk/stem to the center of its neighbor’s stem/trunk.

For a low-growing hedge, perhaps 1′ to 2′ tall, Japanese Boxwood plants should be spaced closer together. Japanese Boxwood spacing in low hedges is generally 12″ to 24″. Don’t expect a boxwood shrub to grow much wider than it is tall, as these are naturally spherical plants.

The RHS advises planting Japanese Boxwoods as close as 4″-6″ apart (10-15cm), as these are rather compact in comparison to some other boxwoods used in landscaping (see RHS guide). This close spacing is only reasonable if very small potted plants are purchased from the nursery. Expect these closely-spaced plants to form a low-growing hedge in 3-5 years after planting.

Planting Japanese Boxwood

The best time to plant Japanese Boxwood is in early fall or early spring. Japanese Boxwood is best planted in a wide, shallow hole. For a hedge, dig a long trench for the root balls instead of individual holes. Carefully place each plant down into the hole and backfill gently with the soil that came out of the hole. You can mix in a transplanting fertilizer such as Espoma Bio-Tone Starter Plus Organic Plant Food.

Water the shrub(s) deeply after planting, and consider setting up drip irrigation. Mulch the plants with an organic mulch once their position is checked and confirmed as correct.

Mulching Boxwood Shrubs

Mulching can do absolute wonders for your Japanese Boxwood. A thick 1″ layer of mulch can help suppress competitive weeds and protect the shallow boxwood roots. Because its roots are shallow, it can be susceptible to temperature fluctuations. Mulch keeps the soil cool in summer and also protects the roots from harsh winter cold.

(Video) Japanese boxwood

Extend the mulch over the soil at least several inches beyond the outer diameter of the plant. While the soil around the plant should be mulched, the mulch itself shouldn’t touch the actual stem of the shrub. Keep the ground clear where the stem goes down to the roots to provide adequate air circulation and avoid trapping dampness against the bark of the boxwood.

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Watering Japanese Boxwood

The shallow roots of the Japanese Boxwood require regular watering. This is particularly true during its first two years and during hot weather. It’s best to avoid watering your Japanese boxwood from above, as this practice can contribute to foliage disease.

Remember, though, that it’s important for the soil to be well-draining. If the soil doesn’t drain well enough, then the resulting waterlogged soil can cause root rot if weather conditions lead to soggy ground for an extended period of time.

In order to make sure your moisture retention and soil drainage is sufficient, you can incorporate three inches of organic matter into the soil before planting, for example, well-rotted manure or compost. Mulching will also help slow the evaporation of water as well as weed competition.

Fertilizing Japanese Boxwood/Littleleaf Boxwood Shrubs

It’s best to perform a soil test to learn how to help your Japanese Boxwood (Buxus microphylla) thrive. You can then base the levels of the macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium on the results of the analysis.

If you aren’t going to perform a soil test, you can use a high-quality organic fertilizer. You’ll want to sprinkle a slow-release fertilizer on top of the soil after planting the shrub. In the late spring or early summer, you’ll want to fertilize again before new growth appears on your shrub. It’s important to keep the fertilizer about six inches away from the stems of your boxwood when distributing fertilizer.

Japanese Boxwood shrubs most often require nitrogen more than any other nutrient. Nitrogen helps the plant grow its pretty green leaves, which in turn work to create energy for the plant. Nitrogen is often depleted in residential soils. Here are some natural ways to increase nitrogen in your shrub’s soil.

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Pruning Littleleaf Boxwood Shrubs and Hedges

The Japanese boxwood will look at its best if it undergoes annual shearing, and it responds very well to pruning. Make sure your pruning tools are sharp and clean prior to trimming a sheared hedge. For best results, use handheld pruners/secateurs or proper hedge shears and perhaps a shape form to guide in the shaping process. Some gardeners make guide forms for topiary-style boxwoods out of chicken wire or metal hardware cloth mesh.

Japanese Boxwood shrubs and hedges are best pruned in late spring. Let the plant come out of dormancy and put on an initial flush of light green growth, and then trim it back to encourage side shoots to grow. This will help create a densely-branched form. It’s best to avoid heavy shearing in the fall. Otherwise, the new growth that sprouts might not have enough time before the frost to harden off.

Don’t worry, though. If you want some fun projects during the fall so you keep your hands off shearing your boxwood, we’ve got you covered. Here are some great ideas forboosting your fall curb appeal.

(Video) Boxwood Propagation from Cuttings (How to Make Your Own Boxwood Hedge for Free)

Plant Diseases That Can Affect Japanese Boxwood

While the Japanese boxwood is a hardy plant, it can be damaged by various plant diseases and pests, including boxwood psyllid, boxwood leaf miner, boxwood mite, nematodes, and phytophthora root rot.

Boxwood Blight

Boxwood blightis an awful fungal disease that can affect boxwood shrubs. It is caused byCalonectria pseudonaviculata. First reported in the mid-1990s in the UK, boxwood blight has since spread to Europe, New Zealand, and North America.

A plant suffering fromboxwood blightcan be infected in all of its aboveground parts. The first signs of blight are dark leaf spots. These end up forming brown blotches.

Infected leaves will show white spots on their undersides after experiencing high humidity. Narrow black streaks will also appear on the green stems, and fuzzy white masses will develop from these stem cankers during periods of high humidity.

Japanese boxwood shrubs with blight will experience rapid defoliation starting from the bottom branches and moving upward over time. This can kill young plants and cause older plants to lose the ornamental value they once had.

The best way to deal with boxwood blight is to prevent it from entering the landscape. You’ll want to buy your boxwood plants from nurseries that participate in a blight compliance agreement and are considered to be reputable.

You’ll always want to avoid shearing boxwoods when they’re wet. This can help reduce the probability of spreading diseases. Make sure all of your shearing tools are clean and disinfected.

If you have infected plants, make sure you remove any of the debris from pruning operations from the property. Don’t compost this material. If you have a property that contains historically important and large boxwoods, don’t introduce new boxwoods into the landscape.

Root Rot

If planted in compacted and poorly draining soils,root rotcan develop. Root rot is caused by a fungus, the typical culprits of which arePhytophthora,Rhizoctonia,Pythium, orFusariumfungi. All of these fungi will thrive in overly wet soil and can become a problem for other plants if you transplant infected plants.

Plants that are plagued with root rot won’t be able to absorb nourishment or moisture from the soil. When suffering from this disease, plants can look similar to those that are inflicted with mineral deficiencies, stress, and drought.

If you notice that the leaves are discolored, wilting, or stunting, you might have a case of root rot. You’ll notice shoots and foliage dying back and soon after the whole plant can die. If you pull a plant suffering from root rot out of the ground, you will notice that the roots are soft, brown, and unpleasant smelling instead of white and firm.

If root rot is suspected, stop watering the area immediately. Look for any nearby leaks in irrigation or other sources of excess water. If possible, prune surrounding plants to let in more sunlight and increase air circulation. In extreme cases, the plant may have to be transplanted into fresh dry soil or replaced.

The best way to deal with a root rot problem is to avoid having one in the first place. The most important thing is to plant the shrubs in well-draining soil and not overwater your plants. Avoid planting boxwood in soggy soils. Boxwood can recover from root rot, but only if the issues with soggy, wet soil are fixed promptly.

Leaf Spot

Leaf spotis a disease that interrupts photosynthesis and therefore weakens shrubs and trees. While this disease will most likely not harm your plant seriously, it should be taken seriously if there is moderate leaf loss in a 2-4 year period. If for several consecutive growing seasons there is leaf loss, your Japanese boxwood can become more susceptible to diseases and pests and its growth can be reduced.

(Video) Boxwood, Buxus Sempervirens, Box Plant, Topiary

If your shrubs are infected with leaf spot disease, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the occurrence of the disease in the years to come. They include:

  • Avoid overcrowding your plants, space them at least three feet apart;
  • Prune your shrubs to improve air circulation and increase light penetration;
  • Ensure mulch and organic debris is pulled back from the stem’s bark where it enters the ground;
  • Rake up and destroy leaves that have fallen before the first snowfall;
  • Water shrubs at the base and be sure to avoid splashing water on the leaves;
  • Reduce shrub stress by proper watering techniques and mulching;
  • Don’t fertilize unless a soil test recommends it.

Japanese boxwoods are tough shrubs, but all plants have diseases they can fall prey to. Knowing ahead of time what kinds of diseases boxwoods can face can ensure that you can prevent problems to the best of your ability and stop them early on in their process before they become too problematic.

Pests: Mites & Leafminers

If you’re looking for a generally pest-resistant shrub, the Japanese boxwood is a good choice. However, there are two pests that you should still keep an eye out for when growing Japanese boxwood. These are boxwood mites and boxwood leafminer.

Boxwood mitesfeed on the undersides of the leaves. You’ll need a magnifying glass to see these tiny, sap-sucking bugs. Their presence results in brown marks or flecks right on the leaves.

Boxwood leafminers can result in raised areas, brown splotches, and blistering on leaves.

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Common Japanese Boxwood Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about Japanese Boxwood shrubs:

How big do Japanese boxwoods get?

Japanese Boxwood shrubs can grow 3 feet wide (1 m) and over 3 feet (1 m) tall, although it would take many years to grow to this size. Most gardeners prune their Japanese boxwood plants annually to keep them in the range of 18″ to 2 feet tall and wide.

How fast does Japanese boxwood grow?

Japanese boxwood shrubs grow very slowly. Most cultivars grow only 2″-3″ taller/wider each year. It can take several decades for a shrub to reach a mature size of about 3 feet wide and over 3 feet tall (if not pruned annually).

Is Japanese boxwood a good hedge?

Japanese boxwood is a good hedge plant, especially for a low-maintenance shrub with year-round curb appeal. Japanese boxwood plants tend to be more hardy and disease resistant than common boxwood. These plants should only be used for small-medium-height hedges, usually in the range of 18″ to 3 feet tall.

More Resources


How do you take care of Japanese boxwoods? ›

Japanese Boxwood Care

Do not trim more than 25% deep into the shrub for the best appearance. Water very deep into the ground, twice a week regularly the first year. Once a week watering the 2nd year. And after that it should require little watering except during long periods of drought.

How long does it take for Japanese boxwood to mature? ›

Japanese Boxwood Growth Rate

In full shade, the plants are water thrifty and can grow all summer with no supplemental water. Although most boxwoods are slow-growing shrubs, Japanese box is the fastest growing variety, reaching its mature size in three to five years.

When should Buxus microphylla be pruned? ›

Trim boxwoods in late winter or early spring, when no new growth will be compromised. If at all possible, avoid trimming altogether in spring, when new growth is flourishing. Dwarfing and stunted growth may occur if boxwoods are trimmed in spring. Begin giving Japanese boxwoods their shape in the third year.

Are Japanese boxwood low maintenance? ›

Japanese boxwood plants are an attractive and low-maintenance choice for home landscaping, including when grown in containers and when planted as a low hedge.

How do you make Japanese boxwood grow faster? ›

Boxwoods are slow-growing shrubs, so don't expect more than 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) of growth per year. However, good fertilizer, regular and selective pruning, and adequate watering can influence growth health.

How do you take care of a Buxus? ›

Caring for Buxus - YouTube

How do you prune Buxus microphylla? ›

Gardening : How to Prune Boxwood - YouTube

Does Japanese boxwood grow fast? ›

Japanese boxwoods look very similar to Korean boxwoods (Buxus sinica), and both are extremely popular because they are fast growing and can tolerate heavy frosts much better than English and American ones. They also are more compact and can grow to about 8 feet tall and about 6 feet wide.

Does trimming boxwoods promote growth? ›

Establishing pruning as part of the overall maintenance of your boxwood encourages healthy growth on both young and more established plants. Whether it is to neaten the plants appearance, rejuvenate an overgrown shrub, or help maintain a healthy environment, annual pruning is a key part of your success with boxwood.

How far back can you cut boxwoods? ›

You can safely remove 2 to 3 feet of height at one time on taller specimens when the length doesn't represent more than one-third of its height; if it does, make the cuts over several seasons.

How do you grow Buxus microphylla? ›

For hedging, plant Buxus approx 15-30cm apart, except for the dwarf forms which should be planted approx 15cm apart. Use premium potting mix when planting in containers. SOIL TYPE: Buxus can tolerate a range of soils, but the soil must be free draining.

How tall can Japanese Buxus grow? ›

The Japanese box hedge is a dense evergreen shrub, with bright green glossy rounded leaves, perfect for a a hedges, borders, topiary or even general garden planting. This plant can grow too 1-2m in height and can get to 1m in width. Plant in a full sun/semi-shade in a well drained soil.

Do Japanese boxwoods stay green all year? ›

In full shade, boxwood becomes straggly and less dense with leaves. Boxwood leaves stay green all year but sometimes are scorched and turn brown if the plant gets too much sun in either summer or winter.

How much water do Japanese boxwoods need? ›

As a general rule, one or two deep waterings per week is plenty during the plant's first year, decreasing to once a week during the shrub's second growing season. Thereafter, watering a boxwood is necessary only during periods of hot, dry weather.

Can Japanese boxwood survive winter? ›

It is best to prepare boxwood for winter with a nice layer of mulch, making sure the crown of the plant is not planted or covered too deeply. Moderate winter snowfall can also insulate the plant through the winter. Very large or heavy snowfall should be removed from the plant to not cause breakage or other damage.

How long does it take for boxwood hedges to become mature? ›

Overall, boxwood has a very slow growth rate that's typically 6 inches or less per year. Boxwoods can be broken down into growth rates of slow, medium and fast — although keep in mind that even the fast growth rate of boxwood varieties is quite slow in comparison to other landscape shrubs.

How do I make my boxwood thicker? ›

How to Thicken Variegated Boxwood Hedges : Grow Guru - YouTube

How long does Buxus take to grow? ›

A slow growing species, Buxus sempervirens will grow about 10 - 15cm a year, reaching a final height of between 0.5 -1.5 metres.

What conditions do Buxus like? ›

Well, it tolerates shade, drought, urban pollution and tough growing conditions. It responds well to trimming and shaping, so when the range of plants available to gardeners was smaller than it is today it was an ideal subject to use to create designs.

Do Buxus need much water? ›

When conditions are extremely dry during a hot summer, for example, it is easy for Buxus to become deprived of water. Your hedge should be watered regularly so the soil is moist. Depending on the weather, if you soak the soil every 2 days the soil should remain wet and promote growth.

What is the best feed for Buxus? ›

All-purpose fertiliser and tomato feed are the best fertilisers for Buxus.

When should you prune Buxus? ›

When is the best time to prune Box hedges? Prune box (Buxus) in late May or early June after all risk of frost has passed. It can then be tidied up in September to ensure a crisp finish over winter. Choose a dry but cloudy day to tackle your hedge or trim your topiary.

How long does a boxwood live? ›

Common Boxwood Lifespan: 20-30 Years.

Can Japanese boxwood grow in containers? ›

Absolutely! They're the perfect container plant. Needing hardly any maintenance, growing very slowly, and looking green and healthy all through winter, boxwood shrubs in containers are great for keeping some color around your house during the cold, bleak months.

How often should boxwoods be trimmed? ›

Boxwood shrubs are slow-growing plants. Because of this slow growth, gardening with these bushes requires relatively little maintenance. Generally speaking, you can maintain your bushes by pruning once a year. Once established, the best time to trim is in the spring.

How do you prune a Buxus? ›

How To Trim A Buxux Hedge - YouTube

Can you trim boxwoods anytime of the year? ›

Boxwoods can be pruned any time but late summer and early fall. This is because pruning then will spur new growth that won't harden off in time for winter and be killed by the cold. Severe late summer pruning followed by a cold winter could even kill the entire shrubs.

Can you keep boxwoods small? ›

They can be kept short and are easily kept from overgrowing onto the walkway. When planting boxwoods along a walkway divide the mature width in half and plant the shrub that far from the edge of the walkway. Most smaller varieties can be kept as small as one foot to 2 feet wide.

How do you trim boxwood balls? ›

Pruning Boxwood into Globe Form - YouTube

How do you shape a boxwood? ›

The best time for Boxwood pruning is Spring and early Summer. Remove dead or diseased foliage first. Thin the foliage by removing one or two overgrown stems. Start gently trimming the outer foliage and bring the shrub to the desired shape.

How fast does Buxus microphylla grow? ›

In comparison to other species of boxwood, it is a relatively fast-growing shrub (to 12" per year) that typically matures over time in a loose upright form to 6-8' tall with a spread to as much as 16' wide.

What is the difference between Buxus microphylla and Buxus sempervirens? ›

Buxus microphylla var.

The foliage is generally green-yellow, and is not so dark as buxus sempervirens. It is generally fast growing and forms a quite open foliage canopy. It responds well to shearing, to form a more dense plant.

How can I make my Buxus grow faster? ›

To establish a thick hedge quickly lightly prune new plants to encourage thicker stronger growth. Water often, until the shrubs are established but don't over water as Buxus don't like wet feet. Buxus' main time for growth is spring and summer and you may need to prune often (each month) during these periods.

Is Japanese box Hardy? ›

Japanese Box is a hardy evergreen compact shrub with dark green oval foliage when mature, its new growth being a light green colour. Japanese Box is the best box hedge for warmer regions as it tolerates heat better than other Buxus plants.

What do you feed Japanese boxwoods? ›

Slow-release, balanced fertilizers are best for boxwood, and a granular form of urea fertilizer 10-6-4 is recommended. You also can use aged manure or cottonseed meal if your plant appears healthy, as long as you are making sure your boxwood has plenty of nitrogen.

Can Japanese box grow in shade? ›

Japanese Box is an evergreen shrub with lime green oval-shaped leaves that are often used for creating small compact hedges. It is a quicker growing alternative to English Box which is very slow-growing. Japanese Box is best suited to full sun and light shade.

Do boxwoods lose their leaves in the winter? ›

Since the boxwood is an evergreen shrub, it keeps its foliage over the winter.

Do Japanese boxwoods need mulch? ›

Japanese Boxwood Care

The trunk should not be covered as with all shrub mulching. Besides mulching and watering, boxwood growing is a low maintenance task. That is unless you wish to keep them as a sheared hedge. Pruning of boxwood is the most time consuming part of boxwood bush care.

Do Japanese boxwoods smell? ›

Yes, boxwoods do have a scent; it's caused when the sun heats the oil in their leaves. I particularly love the smell -- it reminds me of happy hours spent in wonderful European gardens, surrounded by brilliant flowers, the hum of bees and the redolence of boxwood.

How do you fertilize Japanese boxwoods? ›

Fertilizing Boxwood
  1. Use soil tests to maintain a pH of 6.5-7.0.
  2. Apply fertilizer in late fall or early spring on top of the mulch.
  3. Avoid summer and early fall fertilization to prevent frost or freeze damage.
  4. If fertilizer is needed, use a balanced fertilizer or aged manure.

How do you keep boxwoods healthy? ›

How to Care for Boxwood
  1. Plant Your Boxwood in the Right Location. Siting boxwood in the proper location goes a long way toward maintaining healthy plants. ...
  2. Provide Adequate Drainage. ...
  3. Protect Boxwood Roots. ...
  4. Prune Boxwood by Thinning. ...
  5. Winter Protection for Boxwood. ...
  6. Water Boxwood Wisely. ...
  7. Fertilize Boxwood as Needed.

What does an overwatered boxwood look like? ›

Often, if you are overwatering your boxwood, the foliage may turn yellow or wilt. Sometimes the foliage may fade or turn pale compared to usual. And remember – maintaining a 1-inch layer of organic mulch around your plant and its drip lines can ensure its shallow roots stay hydrated but not soggy.

How do I protect my Buxus in the winter? ›

Boxwoods can be protected with burlap and twine or plastic wildlife netting. A small amount of snow can actually insulate the boxwoods from cold temps. Tying the shrubs together will help ensure that the larger amounts of snow will slide off of the shrub rather than crushing the branches.

What is the difference between Japanese boxwood and wintergreen boxwood? ›

Boxwood Plant Characteristics

All parts of the wintergreen plant are poisonous, except for the ripe berries. Japanese boxwood's leaves also are leathery but are larger, more rounded ovals. During winter, the leaves tend to blush bronze, especially in cold temperatures and full sun exposures.


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