Korean boxwood

Korean boxwood in winter.

Korean boxwood is a small, mounded, broadleaf evergreen shrub with small, glossy, light green leaves with a uniform formal habit.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Buxus microphylla var. koreana

All Common Names:

Korean boxwood, littleleaf boxwood

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub


  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Foundation,
  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Small shrub (3-5 feet),
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Early winter,
  • Mid winter,
  • Late winter

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous,
  • Fragrant

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Grows 2 to 2 1/2 feet high and 4 to 5 feet wide; form is mounded but somewhat open.
Best in full sun or part shade. 
Tolerant of most soil types but needs good drainage.
Tolerant of aerial salt spray
Mulch to keep root system cool and moist.
Protect evergreen foliage from drying winds, especially in winter.

Tolerant of pruning and shearing.
An extremely hardy plant that is a good choice for northern climates.

Disease, pests and problems

Psyllids and leaf miners are possible insect problems.
Root rot can be a problem in wet soils.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Asia.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, opposite oval leaves
Bright green foliage in summer turns brownish yellow in winter

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Inconspicuous, but fragrant

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small, dry capsule; not ornamentally important

Cultivars and their differences 

Wintergreen (Buxus microphylla var. koreana 'Wintergreen'): 2 to 3 feet high and wide with a compact form. Maintains better green color in winter than the species.


Location of Buxus microphylla var. koreana (Korean boxwood) at the Arboretum