Boxwood is a popular ornamental landscape plant. These evergreen shrubs are often planted as hedges or pruned into interesting or formal shapes. There are two species popularly planted in the United States, according to Clemson University: Buxus sempervirens (commonly called the "American" or "common" boxwood) and B. microphylla (commonly named "Littleleaf" boxwood). Depending on the species and cultivar, these desirable plants can reach heights and widths of 15 feet.
The old adage, "location, location, location" is not just important for choosing real estate. It is also true when planting a boxwood. It is important to choose the proper location before you even begin preparations for planting. Boxwoods grow best in full sun or partial shade, according to the University of Illinois. The growing zones for these shrubs range from U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 5 through 8. If you live in one of the cooler zones, choose a location in full sunlight. If you live in zone 8, choose a planting site that gets some afternoon shade. In addition, make sure the soil is well draining and does not collect standing water. Finally, because boxwood plants can suffer wind damage, choose a planting site that is sheltered from strong, drying winter winds.
Boxwood plants have shallow roots, according to Clemson University. They need consistently cool, moist, nutrient-rich soil. Amend the planting site with 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch before planting. Work it about 6 inches into the soil, in as wide an area as possible. This will not only add nutrients to the soil, but it will also help the area retain moisture, which will reduce the amount of watering needed.
Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball, but only just as deep. You don't want to completely bury the root ball due to its shallow roots. In fact, Clemson University recommends leaving the top of the root ball just peeking above the surface of the soil to avoid planting the boxwood too deeply. Backfill the soil around the root ball, and water thoroughly until the soil settles. This will remove any air pockets that may be around the roots, which will dry them out. Finish by surrounding the shrub with 2 or 3 inches of mulch. There is no need to fertilize the boxwood when you first plant it.