How to Plant and Care for Boxwood Shrubs
Plant Guide

How to Plant and Care for Boxwood Shrubs


Boxwood Shrubs have been used in classical gardens to define spaces, compliment flowering shrubs, and to create a classic, clean look. While there are many different types of Boxwoods from the compact Variegated Boxwood to the green, blight-resistant NewGen Independence, this planting guide is a good start to help with the care and growth of them all!

You've chosen to plant Boxwood shrubs in your landscape but need to know a little bit more about planting and growing them.  We've put together this planting guide to help make things a little easier and give you confidence that you can have boxwoods in your landscape that will thrive. Take the time to do a balanced landscape design, and you'll love your landscape for many years.

Ground Rules

 Lighting Guide


Boxwoods prefer a part-sun location where they will receive protection from the hot, mid-afternoon sun.

 Temperature Guide


Cold winter winds are a concern with boxwoods as this tends to dry out the foliage. In extreme northern climates, gardeners routinely wrap their boxwoods with burlap or create a windbreak with burlap strung between posts. Nowadays, there are products on the market like Wilt-pruf that can be sprayed on the foliage to slow the wind's ability to dry out the shrubs.

 Mulch Guide


Adding 1 to 1.5 inches of organic mulch such as hardwood mulch or pine needles helps keep the soil moist after watering and helps prevent some diseases such as boxwood blight. Don't pile mulch against the plant's trunk, as this can be detrimental to the health of the boxwood.

Planting Process

  1. Dig a hole no deeper than the existing soil in the pot. Typically this will be 8 to 10 inches deep on a standard three-gallon pot.
  2. Carefully remove the boxwood from its container, gently loosen its roots, and carefully place it in the planting hole so that you can see at least 1 inch of the root ball above ground level.
  3. Mix some peat moss or leaf compost into the soil from the hole and begin backfilling. Avoid covering the existing root ball with soil when planting; this could lead to the death of the shrub if planted too deep.
  4. Water the plant after planting and be sure not to rush this process. If you water too fast, most water will run off and not soak into the root zone.

When to Plant Boxwood

You can plant Boxwood Shrubs just about any time of the growing season, but most gardeners choose to plant boxwoods in the Early Spring to mid-summer and again in late Summer through early winter. During these times, plants can establish a sound root system before extreme temperatures occur in the mid-summer or mid-winter.

Boxwoods can be planted in the middle of summer, and if this is the best time for you to do it, be aware that Boxwoods will require watering more often during the summer heat. It's also a good idea to mulch more heavily during the summer to reduce the root ball's soil temperature.

Proper Spacing for Boxwoods

Spacing boxwoods is dependent on which variety of boxwood you will be using and for what purpose. Suppose you're planning to use boxwoods as a hedge or privacy screen. In that case, dwarf varieties such as the Dwarf English Boxwood should be planted 2 feet apart to eventually grow into a continuous hedge. Larger types such as American Boxwoods or Winter Gem Boxwoods can be planted up to 4 feet apart.

Of course, the spacing will dictate how fast you will have a continuous hedge, so if you want the hedge to be fuller sooner, go ahead and close in the spacing a little. If you are planting a hedge, you can use a soaker hose to make watering a little easier. Simply lay out the hose at the base of the plants and allow the water to run for an hour or so, depending on how fast your water flows.

The best way to explain spacing is that the width provided in the description is of mature width. This means that a boxwood that will grow to 4 feet wide will have 2 feet of foliage on each side of the center stem and, therefore, touch another plant planted 4 feet away. Use a tape measure to ensure consistent spacing.

How to Prune Boxwood Shrubs?

Boxwood Shrubs for Sale Online

Type Height Hardiness Zone Winter Foliage Color Shape
Baby Gem Boxwood 3 Feet 5-9 Bronze Spherical
Green Mountain Boxwood 5 Feet 4-9 Bronze Conical
Golden Dream Boxwood 2 Feet 6-9 Green Spherical
Wintergreen Boxwood 5 Feet 5-8 Green Spherical
Dwarf English Boxwood 3 Feet 5-8 Bronze Spherical
NewGen Independence Boxwood 4 Feet 5-8 Green Spherical
Green Velvet Boxwood 3 Feet 5-9 Green Spherical
Baby Jade Boxwood 3 Feet 5-9 Green Spherical
American Boxwood 12 Feet 5-9 Green Spherical
Winter Gem Boxwood 6 Feet 5-9 Bronze Spherical
NewGen Freedom 5 Feet 5-8 Green Spherical
Sprinter Boxwood 3 Feet 5-9 Green Spherical
Dee Runk Boxwood 7-9 Feet 9 Green Conical
North Star Boxwood 3 Feet 5-9 Green Spherical
Variegated English Boxwood 8 Feet 5-9 Cream/Green Spherical
Green Ice Boxwood 3 Feet 5-9 Green Spherical