Kinds of Boxwood Plants

Boxwood is one of the most easy to care for shrubs. It is not fussy about light, soil or water. Like most plants it will look better when given optimum care. This is one of the most forgiving plants for hedges and topiaries. It can be clipped very tight due to the tiny leaves. Boxwood is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 5.

Dwarf Boxwood

(Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa)' is the true dwarf boxwood. The mature size is 4 to 5 feet tall, but it can be kept as small as 1 to 2 feet if desired. It is the perfect box for low herb garden hedges. It can be shaped into little ball topiary for added greenery in the perennial garden. Another small species is Korean boxwood (Buxus koreana). The most common variety used is 'Winter Gem,' which has deep green leaves that will turn bronze in winter. Korean box reaches up to 3 feet at maturity and is a slower-growing plant. Varieties of (Buxus sempervirens) are bred from European and American species of boxwood. Dwarf boxwood is thought to originate from a European form.

Full-Sized Boxwood

The size of common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) catches many gardeners by surprise. This shrub can easily reach 15 to 20 feet tall at maturity. It is the perfect choice for a full-sized hedge. Common boxwood is easy to shape and keep clipped. The small leaves can be sheared without damaging its appearance. The individual shrubs can also be shaped into round or teardrop shapes. One variety of English boxwood, Buxus sempervirens 'Arborescens,' has a more open branched habit, and can be trained into the shape of a tree. There is also a variegated variety: Buxus sempervirens 'Aureo-variegata.' This one has creamy yellow outer edges and deep green leaves.

Columnar Boxwood

Columnar Boxwood is a popular tall narrow boxwood. It will remain 2 feet or less in width, and eventually reach 8 to 10 feet tall. Columnar boxwood holds its natural shape with very little pruning. You can plant this one in containers for an exclamation point in the garden. An even newer variety of columnar boxwood is 'Green Tower.' It is similar in size and shape, but is said to pull through winter looking even better. Both are very good shrubs for limited spaces.

Keywords: herb garden hedges, clipped boxwood, topiary plants, columnar shrubs, tall narrow boxwood

About this Author

Marci Degman has been a Landscape Designer and Horticulture writer for since 1997. She has an Associate of Applied Science in landscape technology and landscape design from Portland Community College. She writes a newspaper column for the Hillsboro Argus and radio tips for KUIK. Her teaching experience for Portland Community College has set the pace for her to write for GardenGuides.com.