Boxwood Shrubs

A Beginner's Guide To Boxwood Shrubs

Boxwood shrubs, otherwise known as Buxus or simply “boxes”, are most often used in landscaping as an edging component.  This is a shrub that requires trimming and pruning so if you are not one who enjoys fussing over your landscaping and are looking for immediate presentation, then this may not be the shrub for you.

This is an elegant shrub that keeps landscaping looking sharp and crisp.  They are known for their very dense leaves and the way that they grow, remaining so compact.  The boxwood shrub is slow growing and will reach about three feet tall when mature.  The fact that it grows so slow is helpful for landscapers wanting to shape them into a precise pattern; this way they will never grow so fast, they get out of control.

Mulching boxwood shrubs is essential to their growth.  Their roots grow very shallow so they require protection from the heat.  A three inch layer of organic mulch is ideal starting at the trunk of the shrub and working your way out about a foot or so all the way around.  Boxwood shrubs need a well-drained soil or their roots will rot.  They can be planted in full sun but thrive in a partially shaded area.

Planting boxwood shrubs in a group is ideal although they are perfectly fine being planted all on their own.  Most landscapers enjoy how formal they look when used as edges and since they are so dense, they prune well into decorative shrubs as well.  These shrubs are often used in wreaths, garlands and other Christmas decorations.

A Few Important Points To Keep In Mind When Planting A Boxwood Shrub

Planting of a boxwood shrub should occur in the spring or fall. 

Keep in mind they prefer partial shade but if that's not practical for you, then they can do just fine in full sunlight.  

Avoid planting them under dripping trees or near drain spouts as this will keep their soil much too moist. 

You need the soil to drain well so you may need to add a couple of inches of peat moss, sand or organic matter to start and add fertilizer later if needed.

Planting Instructions

1. Dig your hole in the soil as deep as the container that your boxwood shrub is in and twice as wide. 

2. Take your shrub out of its container and place in the hole and then back fill the soil, making sure it is firm and there aren't any air pockets. 

3. Water your shrub well and mulch. Pine needles, wood chips or bark are ideal mulches for this shrub. 

4. If you are planting a hedge, leave approximately three feet between each shrub for growth.

Pruning Your Boxwood Shrub

This shrub has a beautiful darker shade of green foliage, so when pruned properly it is quite stunning in appearance.

1. Bury one end of a garden pole at either end of the shrub. They should be taller than the boxwood. 

2. Tie a string at each pole indicating the height that the boxwood shrub should be. 

3. Cut across the top with pruning sheers using the string as a guideline. 

4. Cut the front and then the sides so they are even. 

5. It is important to cut the bottom of the shrub slightly wider than the top so they can receive sunlight as well. 

6. Use a leaf rake and clean away the debris.

Tips For Caring For Your Boxwood Shrub

The boxwood shrub is a very practical yet extremely versatile shrub. 

They should have two to three inches of some form of organic mulch.  The mulch works to keep the soil cool and reduce weeds.  This should be replaced as it decomposes. 

The shrub should be watered once a week during its first couple of growing seasons.

Fertilizing should be done in the very end of February or beginning of March and you need to use a time-released fertilizer. 

Trimming your boxwood shrub once a year in the early part of winter will help to improve the air circulation. 

Always brush heavy piles of snow off the shrubs in the winter as they can distort their shape.

The boxwood shrub is ideal for a homeowner or business that plans on being at that location for awhile.