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TREES & Plants

Boxwood hybrids

Boxwoods are excellent, low-growing evergreen shrubs with dark green, finely textured leaves. Boxwoods can be used in hedges, as rounded specimens and neatly compact background plants in any landscape.  Many of the boxwoods sold today are hybrids with complex parentage (see cultivars below)

Botanical name: 
Buxus hybrids
All Common Names: 
Boxwood, hybrid boxwood, common box, boxwood cultivars
Family (English): 
Boxwood
Family (Botanic): 
Buxaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Foliage: 
  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial shade (4-6 hrs indirect light daily)
Tolerances: 
  • Dry sites
  • Alkaline soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
  • Fragrant
Size Range: 
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Mounded
  • Rounded
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
  • Container
Time of Year: 
  • Early winter
  • Mid winter
  • Late winter
More Information: 

Size and Form

Varies by cultivar (see below)

Tree & Plant Care

Boxwoods grow best in loose, well-drained soil. Best sited out of winter winds.
Keep well-watered, especially in late fall before the ground freezes.
Plants benefit with 2 to 3 inches of mulch layer to moderate soil moisture.
Prune in early spring. Plants can be sheared or pruned to make a hedge.

Disease, pests, and problems

Boxwood psyllids and leaf miners are possible insect problems.
Sensitive to road salts and winter burn

Native geographic location and habitat

Most boxwood culitvars are hybrids with complex parentage.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, opposite, finely-textured, elliptical ot oblong 1/2-inch dark green to medium green leaves
Some cultivars can turn yellow-green during winter months.
Some plants malodorus.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Tiny, creamy-yellow clusters in leaf axils; fragrant.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small capsule; not ornamentally important

Cultivars and their differences 

Note: Boxwood cultivars have confusing parental categories. All are hybrids.

Boxwood hybrid (Buxus hybrids)
Boxwood hybrid (Buxus hybrids) 'Glencoe'
photo: John Hagstrom

Chicagoland Green®  (Buxus ‘Glencoe’):  2 to 3 feet high and wide; Compact, rounded form; retains green color well in winter; a Chicagoland Grows® introduction.

Green Gem  (Buxus ‘Green Gem’):  2 feet high and wide; mounded form; slower growing than other boxwoods; retains deep green color in winter.

Green Mound (Buxus ‘Green Mound’ ):   2 to 3 feet high and wide; rounded form; mall, glossy green, rounded leaves remain green all winter.

Green Mountain (Buxus 'Green Mountain'):  4 to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide;  wide pyramidal form; dark green leaves may turn bronze in winter in sunny locations.

Green Velvet (Buxus 'Green Velvet'):  2 to 3 feet high and wide; globe-shaped; leaves retain dark green color in winter.

Northern Charm™  (Buxus ‘Wilson’):  2 to 3 feet high and wide: compact, oval to rounded shape; hardy to zone 4.