How to Use Boxwood Shrubs for Better Garden Landscaping

Boxwood Shrubs: How to Use Them for Landscaping
Boxwood Shrubs: How to Use Them for Landscaping

How to Use Boxwood Shrubs for Better Garden Landscaping

Boxwood ShrubsBoxwood Shrubs

Boxwood shrubs are shrubs from the box family which has been used by gardeners for landscaping for hundreds of years. There are numerous historical gardens which are well known for these shrubs. Bexus or Boxwood is basically a genre which comprises nearly 70 species. Classically, to make garden borders and hedges, boxwood was used particularly in English gardens but it can also be used as an accent plant. Gardeners can either make use of Boxwood shrubs themselves or use them in combination with other plants in order to form a foundation planting. These shrubs can be used as a screen, to separate one area from another or to define or enclose an area. They can be used as a background with other colorful plants.


These shrubs are available in various mature sizes. A type of little leaf Boxwood, Apple Green is of 12-24 inch while a Japanese Boxwood cultivar known as Morris Midget is even smaller. Some common Boxwood cultivars which grow about 6 feet tall are Edgar Anderson and Aurea Pendula. Japanese, common, Fastigiata and National Boxwood are some other types of boxwood which can grow about 12 feet tall if they are not pruned.


The native range of common boxwoods shrubs includes southern Europe, northern parts of Africa and western sections of Asia. In these regions, this type of boxwood grows on the hillsides, open woodlands and in the wild. Some boxwood can easily survive in the cold as well such as Japanese Boxwood Shrubs.

Growing conditions

A wide array of boxwood grows well in damp and cool soil. Mulch can also be placed around the roots. As the roots are shallow, other plants cannot thrive below the boxwood shrub. There are very little side effects of pruning on Boxwood unless it is done late in the growing season which eventually exposes the shrubs to winter damage. In some exposed locations, the winter winds can cause harm to these shrubs. Nevertheless, it is easy to transplant these shrubs from the containers.


These shrubs are available in multiple forms. Some of them can form globes while some form columns. Some of the varieties only lie on the ground in a prostrate manner. The growth of different varieties also varies such as some shrubs grow very quickly while some have a very slow rate. Pyramids and weeping shapes can also be formed in some cases. Most of the varieties sport a dense texture and tiny foliage.

Boxwood Planting 

Boxwoods should be planted in well-drained soil. They should not be planted in a wet area and instead should be in the partial sun. They can tolerate sunlight if it is not too strong. The hole should be dug wide but should not go deeper than the roots as it may kill the plant. For quick growth, rich loamy soil should be used around the root ball. The soil should be firmed and watered properly. A regular watering routine is beneficial as it moistens the entire root ball. In this manner, the plant will have healthy growth while less watering may stress it. Mulch, pine needles, bark, and wood chips can be added to keep the roots cool and moist. Boxwoods also need to be fertilized twice during the growing season.

Boxwood Pruning

To keep the shrubs in the right shape which suits your landscape, they have to prune and sheared. This will boost the density and compactness of the plant and will enable it to develop more thickness and branches. Dead, diseased or dying branches also have to be removed. However, care should be taken as over shearing and pruning can damage the shrubs. Other plants should not be planted near boxwood as their roots are shallow and require more space.

Shrubs Boxwood Shrubs Boxwood


Boxwood Shrubs

Types of Boxwood Shrubs

There is a multitude of boxwood shrubs which can be used for designing the landscape. Some of the most common types are listed below:

    1. American Boxwood: It is being used in American gardens since colonial times. It can deal with the cold and thrives in various light conditions and different varieties of soil.
    2. English Boxwood Shrubs: Also known as true dwarf Boxwood, it grows very slowly and has tiny leaves. It grows about 3 feet tall and has a fine texture.
    3. Japanese Boxwood: These are quick growing species which are about 8 feet tall. It also has different forms which can be used for different purposes.
    4. Chinese or Korean Boxwood: These also include different cultivars which can survive colder temperatures and have been in use since the 1960s. They mostly grow about 6 feet tall.

Boxwoods are commonly used all over the world for landscaping for good reason. They are easy to plant and maintain and let you quickly and easily create clear natural borders on your landscape. Visit your local brewery today to see if you can start to use any of these on your property today.

How to Plant Hedges

A properly planted hedge will be more tolerant of unfavorable conditions and will require less maintenance than one that has been incorrectly planted. Before making any decisions on how to plant your hedge, consideration should be given to several factors. These include:

  • How the plant was grown at the nursery
  • The soil type and drainage characteristics
  • Container planting versus root planting

Bare root plants are kept on the shelf and not in a pot. The roots are usually loose and ready to be planted. Bare root planting means planting hedges by placing their bare roots into the ground, just like it sounds. Bare root plants tend are usually less expensive, since they are less costly to produce, store, and to ship. Many types of hedges respond well to bare root planting, but there are also disadvantages.

One disadvantage to bare root planting is that hedges which are planted bare rooted, require more initial care. Since the roots will need time to adjust to their new environment, they will require more watering, and sometimes staking, depending on the type and size of the shrub. Another disadvantage of bare-root planting is the range of shrub size available for bare root planting is limited, due to the inability to successfully move larger hedges with bare roots. Taking the disadvantages into consideration, bare root planting would not be a good choice for those who do not want to put much maintenance into their hedges, or for those who desire to plant large shrubs.

Many people do choose bare root planting for their hedges though, usually because of cost. When planted hedges that are bare rooted, here are some planting tips to consider:

  • Bare-rooted hedges should be planted from mid-November to mid-March in most parts of the United States.
  • Packing material should be removed carefully from the roots.
  • The roots should be thoroughly rinsed and any dead or damaged root carefully clipped.
  • Soak roots in water for at least an hour before planting.
  • The hole should be dug at least two feet wider than the root system and as deep enough that the soil does not solidify around the roots.
  • Once planted, ensure the shrub is standing straight up, and then slowly saturate the soil.
  • Be sure to keep the soil moist for at least one year after bare root planting.

Container grown planting is exactly as it sounds, as well. Container grown shrubs are removed from their containers and then placed into the ground. These shrubs were grown in planters and are not considered bare root plants. Just as with bare root planting, there are advantages and disadvantages to container grown planting, also.

When using container-grown shrubs, one advantage is that 100 percent of the plant’s root system will be present in the container. Another benefit to using container grown plants is that they can be planted anytime throughout the year. It is not obligatory for plants to be dormant when planting container has grown plants. But where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages.

The main disadvantage of planting container grown plants is the probability of deformed roots. This is commonly known as “rootbound” plants. These shrubs have roots circling inside the container, and the tangled roots will prevent any further growth and development of the shrub. This problem must be corrected before planting or the shrub may experience many adverse effects, such as:

  • Slow growth and establishment
  • Death of the shrub

Some important things to remember when planting a container-grown shrub include:

Untangling the root system is a very important step in planting the container-grown shrub. Your shrub will not grow or may even die if the root system is not untangled.

Water directly after planting. Hedges need moist soil for at least the first year after it is planted. Make sure the location of the newly planted hedge has adequate drainage.

Space hedges evenly. If hedges are not spaced evenly, you will have a hedge with holes that will not block the wind or provide privacy. Remember that your hedge will be in place for many years, so be sure to plant the shrubs correctly.

Whether you chose bare root plants for your new hedges or container grown plants, hedges can serve many purposes. They are not only pleasing to the eye, but they can provide privacy, block wind and noise, and provide habitat for the birds and other wildlife.

How to Winterize Boxwood Shrubs

You might think its time to give your green thumb a rest, once fall comes. But that is definitely not the case. Even though the blooms may be long gone from your garden, there are still things that need looking after. Doing the work in the fall ensures that your plants will survive the dangers of winter disease and damage and that you will be rewarded with a healthier garden come spring.

If you do not have a wide knowledge of plants and shrubs, you may not know which plants need winterizing and how you should go about it. For example, many people wonder if evergreen shrubs even have to be winterized.

Most feel that evergreens are an important part of the winter landscape and that any attempt to winterize them would take away from their visual impact. But these shrubs can be damaged by winter weather, so unless you are willing to risk losing your evergreens you should do a few basic things to protect them from snow and ice.

To winterize evergreens, you should start with pruning. The best time to prune is later in the fall, when all the leaves have fallen, but not too late; too much snow or ice build-up on the branches and they will break. Remove any small or weak branches to avoid this kind of breakage. Your shrub will be much more likely to withstand the winter snow and ice without them.

Next, place a wire cage around the shrubs. You can use chicken wire attached to poles in the ground to build this kind of cage. Once a cage is in place, you want to cover the plant by wrapping the cage with burlap. This will keep out the wind and the moisture. If you have a row of your shrubs, you can build a tent-like or tepee structure over them using plywood and bamboo.

You want to make sure to place mulch around the base of the shrubs. This will aid in preventing moisture loss during the winter. Shrubs rely primarily on stored water during the winter months so you want to do as much as possible to ensure that the stored water stays in place and that browning does not occur. Mulch will ensure that the plant retains its stored water. It will also help to regulate the temperature around the shrub. You can also spray shrub leaves with an anti-desiccant to help the leave retain moisture.

Extreme changes in temperature can put stress on your shrubs and disrupt the root system.

All of these steps will winterize your shrubs and ensure their health and safety during the long winter months. The steps are simple (watering, pruning, covering and mulching), but they will make a huge difference to your shrubs and really reduce the risk of winter damage such as breakage and browning.

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