Boxwood Shrubs for Sale Online
Boxwoods are one of the most versatile evergreen shrubs in any garden and look great in formal settings or casual gardens. In the winter, the Boxwood’s strong shape dominates the landscape with their dark green foliage. When the landscape is in full bloom in the summer, boxwood shrubs highlight the bright flowers and foliage of the other plants in your garden.
Boxwoods have been used as foundation plantings for their ability to anchor or give four-season permanence to a landscape. They can be seen lining walkways at formal gardens and entryways, as focal points in the center of lawns, used as privacy screens, or blocking the unsightly view of air conditioners or other utility features.
There are about 90 different species of boxwoods and over 300 cultivars, including Japanese and Korean varieties. The most common and recognizable boxwoods are American boxwoods (Buxus sempervirens) and English boxwoods (Buxus sempervirens Suffruticosa). Boxwoods grows in just about any growing zone and are very cold hardy when sited correctly.
Most people have seen boxwood planted along walkways as they are easy to keep in shape. Boxwoods can be planted just about anywhere in the landscape, from the full sun to partial shade. They only require well-drained soil as if the root ball stays constantly wet as they can develop root rot. Boxwoods planted in too much shade will be slow-growing compared to those planted in full sun.
Boxwoods in their natural un-pruned state can take on many different shapes. For instance, the American boxwood has a natural pyramidal shape.
Types of Boxwood Shrubs
There are many types of boxwoods available, and choosing the right boxwood for your growing zone or sun exposure is easier than it seems.
English Boxwoods are referred to as dwarf English boxwoods. They are slow-growing and can live for up to 100 years. English boxwoods are easily kept in shape due to their slow growth rate and ability to withstand trimming. These are hardy to zone six and do prefer protection from the hot afternoon sun in southern areas. English boxwoods can be seen growing in colonial gardens and even in the white house landscape. English boxwoods can reach up to three feet tall at maturity.
English boxwoods or Buxus sempervirens suffruticosa tend to turn bronze in the winter due to the drying effects of the winds and sun. They will return to green in the spring. To avoid this, spray your English boxwoods with an anti-desiccant such as wilt-pruf in the late fall.
American Boxwoods or Common Boxwoods have the darkest green foliage of the boxwood family. Similar to English boxwoods in leaf shape and habits. American Boxwoods can grow up to ten feet tall, and some have grown as high as 20 feet giving them the common name of tree boxwood. American boxwoods are the best choice for gardeners in zone 5 as these tend to be hardier than their English cousins.
Japanese Boxwoods or little-leaf boxwoods are slow-growing and are typically used for hedges but are more often pruned into topiaries. Japanese Boxwoods are hardy to zone 6 and prefer a part-shade exposure. Two popular types of Japanese Boxwoods are Winter Gem boxwood and Winter Green. This family maintains its green color throughout the winter, even in zone 6.
There are many varieties of dwarf boxwoods that have allowed those with smaller urban gardens to have manicured hedges. Baby Jade and Baby Gem are two newer varieties that are easily trained into small hedges that are excellent for lining walkways and paths where excessive height is not desired. These are also the best choice for trimming into ball shapes.
There are hybrid boxwoods that are entering northern gardens thanks to plant breeders. Many breeders are working to increase boxwoods' hardiness, allowing northern gardeners to enjoy boxwoods in their gardens. Two particular standouts in the hybrid family are the green gem and green mountain varieties. Both varieties have been grown as far north as zone 4. There are also newer varieties available that are showing some resistance to boxwood blight. The Golden Dream boxwood is a variegated boxwood that has demonstrated excellent resistance to this disease.
Winter Gem and Green Mountain have also shown excellent results in tests conducted by NC State University and are good choices if you live in an area where this disease has been found.
Choosing a location for a Boxwood Bush
There are several factors to consider when planting boxwoods. The winter winds tend to dry out the evergreen foliage of certain boxwood s in the winter, so choosing a location that will protect the boxwoods is an excellent place to start. Boxwoods detest wet soil, so locating the plants in an area with good drainage is a must.
How to Plant a Boxwood Bush
When planting boxwood shrubs, no matter the variety, you should prepare a hole that is wider than the rootball to allow for proper backfilling. The hole depth should allow approximately 15 to 20% of the rootball to stick out of the soil.
Cover the exposed part of the rootball with the remaining soil. DO NOT leave the roots exposed to air. This is standard practice for professional landscapers and horticulturalists, which helps the plant's roots not stay waterlogged after heavy rains.
How to Plant a Boxwood Hedge
When planting a boxwood hedge, space dwarf varieties such as Dwarf English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens suffruticosa) about 16 to 20 inches apart, Taller and wider varieties such as Wintergreen Boxwood plants for a low hedge 18 to 24 inches apart, and plants for a tall hedge about 24 to 36 inches 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 layout 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.
How close can boxwoods be planted to a house?
Boxwoods are the perfect foundation shrub. Foundation shrubs are typically evergreen and soften the transition from the yard to the vertical walls of homes or other buildings. Planting boxwoods too close to a house or structure can damage the structure and affect the shrub's health.
Boxwoods should be located so when the plant reaches its full size; it is at least 2 feet from the wall. This allows air to circulate between the wall and the plant, which keeps the temperature lower and allows moisture to dry, protecting your home from decay.
Moist but not wet soil and good drainage are essential for success with boxwoods. Boxwood bushes do not tolerate drought or waterlogged soil, and in their first year, boxwoods are even more susceptible to this stress than established plants. Provide about 1 inch of water every five days by way of a soaker hose or hand watering. The water needs to penetrate the bottom of the rootball. When watering, try to water the roots of the plant and not the plant itself.
It's best when hand watering to direct the water to the base of the plant and not water the plant itself. Boxwoods have dense foliage, which is hard to dry out to reduced airflow through the plant. If you're not careful, you can cause fungal diseases within the lush foliage. Adding a 1- to 2-inch-deep layer of mulch on top of the soil around your boxwood shrubs helps the soil retain moisture and impedes weed growth.
Fertilizing Boxwood Shrubs
Boxwoods typically do not require a lot of fertilizer. The best time to fertilize is in late fall, after the first frost or early spring before the new growth appears. Boxwood roots grow best in late fall, winter, and early spring. Feeding in the late summer or early fall may cause a plant to initiate new growth that could burn with early fall frosts.
How to Trim Boxwoods
Boxwoods are relatively easy to keep in shape. The best time to trim boxwoods is in the late winter or early spring, but they can be trimmed any time during the growing season. Generally speaking, boxwoods put on new growth once per year. Pruning in the early spring before the new growth appears allows you to trim for shape, and the fresh leaves will cover the pruned tips with new green growth.