Evergreen: check. Deer resistant: check. Full sun: check. Full shade: check. Hardy to Zone 4: check. Easy to maintain: check. Can be pruned to any shape: check. What more could you ask for?
The above cannot be said for many plants! For these reasons, boxwood (Buxus sp.) has remained the most popular shrub grown in the U.S. and worldwide for centuries. Boxwoods can tolerate a wide variety of growing conditions. They are slow growing and have lush, easy-to-shape evergreen foliage, making them especially useful for low borders, knot gardens, and topiaries.
Boxwood is an enduring classic for knot gardens.
There are several species of boxwood and many varieties, but all boast the same beautiful evergreen foliage. Boxwoods generally grow slowly, but there are some good-sized boxwood trees that can be found on old estates. Their slow growth rate makes them easy to maintain. They are also incredibly tough, with a very wide hardiness range – most varieties are in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5-9, with several growing in 4-9 – and can be grown in parts of all 50 states. They can take full sun or full shade, and tolerate a wide range of soil types. They are also highly resistant to deer and other pests.
Boxwood has a huge growing range.
Best Uses for Boxwood
Add shape and definition to a garden by using boxwood borders.
Boxwoods shine when used for low hedges, knot gardens, and topiaries. Their growth habit makes them especially well-suited to being clipped into various shapes, which is why you will see boxwoods kept small in knot-garden settings as well as trimmed into spirals, squares, globes, tiers, and cones.
Boxwoods may be a centuries-old landscaping favorite, but they are also perfect for adding edge to modern landscapes. They are ideal for creating geometric patterns and creative designs.
They are a great fit for commercial settings, adding sophistication and elegance where first impressions really do matter.
Top Boxwood Variety
Make an impressive statement to your clients before they even walk through your door.
One variety has been wowing growers and gardeners since it was released in the 1960s: Buxus x 'Green Mountain'. A hybrid originally bred for cold-hardiness (it grows in Zones 4-9), it has attracted recent attention for its apparent resistance to boxwood blight. It is a very attractive, low-maintenance boxwood with great versatility. It is equally magnificent as a low border and as a mature topiary.
'Green Mountain' InstantHedge used with great effect at an estate in North Carolina.
'Green Mountain' boxwood is now available as a pre-formed hedge unit, thanks to cutting-edge technology from InstantHedge. Each unit contains 5 plants that are grown together and ready to plant as an instant knot garden or low border.
'Green Mountain' InstantHedges are available online from waysidegardens.com, or you can inquire about them by name at your local garden center.
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By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers
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