If you’ve ever admired a formal English garden and the controlled bushes and greenery there, you have also subconsciously admired English Boxwood shrubs. These full, green bushes are often used in formal garden design as well as in the yard next door.
Boxwood shrubs, otherwise known as Buxus sempervirens, are evergreens known for their use in formal gardens, particularly in England, but they have other applications as well. It is boxwood shrubs that are clipped and used during the holidays for kissing balls, garlands, wreaths, for mantle decoration, and in tree topiary arrangements. Many homeowners plant boxwood so they can enjoy clipping it and decorating with it during the holidays.
The most popular and well know version of the boxwood shrub is the English boxwood, which is a dwarf plant that will get to about 3 feet in height. They are slow growing and their ability to be shaped is exactly the quality that leads people to use them for the topiary arrangements mentioned above.
Best for zones 6-8, boxwood shrubs should generally be planted in close proximity to each other. As they grow, they will get the full, hedge look that defines this plant. Care is simple, and pruning is basic. Pruning is generally done for aesthetic purposes as this plant won’t grow out of control, but there are some things to know about caring for these pants.
Boxwood shrubs should be mulched; the roots must be kept away from the heat as they are very shallow. Maintain a 3-inch thick layer of mulch, beginning at the trunk and working your way outward about 1 foot.
Keep boxwood shrubs well watered or they’ll suffer from root rot. This is a hardy plant that can take being planted in full sun or full shade, but they’ll be happiest in a spot that is partially shady. The cooler temperatures will help the boxwood shrub’s roots when sheltered or shaded by a nearby tree.
There are variations of boxwood shrubs other than the English boxwood. These include American and Japanese (often used in bonsai plants). These have their merits as well, though the English boxwood shrub still remains king among the boxwood plants.