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TREES & Plants

Korean Boxwood

Korean boxwood is a small, mounded broad-leaf evergreen shrub with small, glossy, light green leaves and a uniform, formal habit.

Botanical name: 
Buxus microphylla var. koreana
All Common Names: 
Korean boxwood, Littleleaf boxwood
Family (English): 
Boxwood
Family (Botanic): 
Buxaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Foliage: 
  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
  • Zone 9
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: 
  • Occasional drought
  • Alkaline soil
Soil Preference: 
  • 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
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
  • Patio/sidewalk
  • Container
Time of Year: 
  • Early winter
  • Mid winter
  • Late winter
More Information: 

Size and Form

2 to 2 1/2 feet high and 4 to 5 feet wide; form is mounded but somewhat open

Tree & Plant Care

Mulch to keep root system cool and moist; the evergreen foliage needs to be protected 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 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; compact; maintains green color in winter better than the species.