Growing Your Own Buxus Microphylla Shrub

The buxus microphylla, which is sometimes better known as the Japanese boxwood shrub, is one of two main species of boxwood that is almost grandfatherly in nature. Many variants of the boxwood shrub were created as the result of cross-breeding the Japanese boxwood with other primary types of boxwood. The Japanese variety is one of the more traditional varieties and is especially great for individuals who prefer smaller shrubs as opposed to some varieties that can become very large and overbearing in the garden. If you’re interested in the buxus microphylla and you want to give it a shot in your own garden the read on to learn about the physical traits of this plant as well as where it should be grown and how it should be maintained.

About Buxus Microphylla

As you probably guessed by this boxwood's common name, this species originated in Japan and made its way through Europe and over to North America where it continues to thrive. The Japanese boxwood is a small variety of boxwood that typically only reaches about three to four feet tall at maturity. The spread, or width, of the branches is usually about the same, which gives this shrub a full and proportionate appearance. The leaves on the species of boxwood are very compact with a bright green color during the growth season and will remain on the plant all throughout the year regardless of the season. One of the best parts about having an evergreen shrub is that you can experience a wonderful change in leaf color during the autumn season, just as you would a tree. During the fall season this plant's leaves change into a light yellow-green or a reddish brown color. Most gardeners find it to be an attractive change to the garden, rather than an unsightly imitation of malnourishment. In a mild climate where the summer season is not fraught with extensive or prolonged exposure to heat and the winter months are not particularly frigid, this plant can remain green throughout the winter season.

Don't let the small leaf size fool you--this species is well known for being very full and productive. In fact, this shrub is so bushy in nature that would make an excellent partial privacy structure for a yard, patio area, or as a makeshift barrier between properties. In addition to its compact but very full nature, this species also grows in a natural brown did shake which means that very little in the way of work is required to maintain this point. Although most of us do not expect a great flowering performance when it comes to boxwoods, this plant does produce flowers although they are quite modest and very small. The flowers do, however, produce a very light and pleasant fragrance that can be a great addition to your garden throughout the spring and summer without stealing the thunder from your other highly fragrant or exotic plants.

Where to Grow this Boxwood

In the United States, the Japanese boxwood is considered an appropriate plant to be grown in USDA zones 4a through 6b, provided these areas do not experience harsh winter frost or excessive high summer temperatures. Some variants are hardy up to zone 9, but that is not typical of the Japanese boxwood. It is important to realize that this species of boxwood is not tolerant of heavy frost, and exposure to frost over a long period of time can seriously damage this plant.

There are a variety of uses for this plant because of the show versatile. You could use it as a border for a walk way, your yard, or even as a means to fill up empty spaces in your garden that would otherwise be left there. However, it is important to understand that this plant does have certain sunlight and moisture requirements that must be satisfied in the location where you intend to plant the shrub. Like most species of boxwood, this species does best in a partial shade environment. You should try to ensure that this plant will be protected from harsh afternoon sunlight, primarily in the southern region of the United States. In the Southern region, morning and evening sunlight exposure is perfectly fine. In the northern part of the United States and in parts of Canada, you may be able to plant the shrub in an area that has nearly full exposure to sunlight as the intensity of the sun's rays tends to be less severe in this area. Another factor to consider is how well the soil drains. Try to select an area that is not located in a dip or ditch in the ground where water may be allowed to pool in the soil, which can cause the roots of the shrub to rot. Level or slightly inclined surfaces will suit this plant best.

Caring for Buxus Microphylla

There is surprisingly little care involved in keeping a buxus microphylla. The most time consuming chore required by this shrub is pruning, which isn’t as necessary with this species as it is with other plants because it naturally grows in a rounded and even fashion. The roots of the Japanese boxwood are fairly shallow which means that they can be prone to drying out. To avoid this, try mulching the area around the trunk of the shrub to help prevent moisture from evaporating too quickly. If your area experiences low amounts of rain, especially in the summer, then you may want to check the soil every couple of days to ensure that it isn’t becoming too dry. If the soil is dry the touch about an inch down then you should manually water the area as well as the leaves of the plant.