According to the American Boxwood Association, Boxwood arrived in the United States in the mid-1600s making it the oldest garden ornamental. With a rich history of more than three centuries, the humble boxwood is as popular as ever in gardens and landscapes across the country. From traditional, formal to casual, laid back gardens, this versatile shrub fits in any landscape design and brings unmatched style and order to it. There are more than 200 varieties of boxwood, each with its own set of characteristics making them ideal for certain functions and geography. Whether you’re looking to provide winter interest to your landscape design, edge walkways, create a backdrop for your flowers or add form to garden beds, you will find a boxwood variety that fits your vision and landscaping requirements.
Below are 12 different types of boxwood shrubs that are incredibly popular and will bring sophistication to your landscape design.
English Boxwood – One of the most commonly grown cultivars, B. sempervirens 'Suffruticosa or English Boxwood is a classic boxwood variety that grows into great showy hedges. An evergreen shrub that blooms during the spring, English boxwood is rounded and looks like a cloud. Known for its traditional appeal and charm, English boxwood adds a European elegance to a landscape design and can be used to bring structure and form to space. They have glossy, light green leaves and can be spotted in the colonial and royalty gardens and even the White House.
American Boxwood – Also known as Buxus Sempervirens or Common Boxwood, this dark green, glossy, evergreen shrub is extremely easy to maintain. American Boxwood is pest and disease resistant and can withstand cold weather making it ideal for cooler, northern regions. American Boxwood usually grows to 10 feet in height, you can also find some older plants reaching up to 20 feet. There are many varieties of American Boxwood, some popular ones include Dee Runk Boxwood and Fastigiata Boxwood, which are both described below.
Dee Runk Boxwood – Dee Runk Boxwood, also known as Buxus Sempervirens, is one of the most unique boxwood shrub varieties. Broad-leafed, evergreen shrub that grows as a narrow & upright. With their shiny, tiny green leaves, these shrubs are ideal for use in narrow spaces and formal gardens and make for a special addition in any landscape design. Dee Runk Boxwood can grow up to 10-12 feet in height and is ideal if you’re looking for sun or partial shade.
Fastigiata Boxwood – Characterized by rich green foliage with a hint of blue, Fastigiata Boxwood is an upright cultivar. Its narrow, conical shape makes them an excellent choice for accenting a door or corner. A dense, slow-growing, multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a distinctive pyramidal form, Fastigiata Boxwood can grow up to 12 feet tall and 5 feet wide and has a relatively fine texture as compared to other landscape plants.
Korean Boxwood - Buxus sinica insularis, also known as Korean Boxwood is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that can grow up to 2 feet high and 4-6 feet wide at maturity. Small but incredibly appealing shrubs, Korean Boxwood boasts of small, dark green leaves that create dense foliage. Ideal for low borders and lining driveways, these shrubs grow in a rounded shape and can be easily sheared into different, eye-catching shapes. Korean Boxwood can grow in colder climates and can be used for a variety of landscape purposes.
Japanese Boxwood - Buxus microphylla var. Japonica or Japanese Boxwood is a broadleaf evergreen that can be used to provide year-round interest and appeal to landscapes. Due to their evergreen foliage and low maintenance, these shrubs are extremely popular in the south. Japanese Boxwood can grow up to 5-6 feet high and 4-6 wide and are known to be a superior privacy hedge plant. These boxwood shrubs have light green, oval leaves and develop small, delicate greenish-cream flowers in April and May.
Baby Gem Boxwood – If you’re looking for a boxwood shrub that is ideal for small spaces, then Baby GemTM Boxwood is perfect. Fine-textured broadleaf evergreen shrubs that can grow up to 3-4 feet high and wide, Baby Gem Boxwood resembles a little green muffin. With their small stature and delicate leaves, these shrubs work beautifully as focal points and for borders. Baby Gem Boxwood retains its green color particularly well in winter and as such, they stand out in any landscape design.
Green Gem Boxwood – Green Gem Boxwood is a hybrid broadleaf evergreen shrub with classic rich green and rounded foliage. Dense, multi-stemmed variety that grows into a neat, cute, and little ball, this shrub has a relatively fine texture as compared to other landscape plants and can be used for mass planting, border edging, topiary, and container planting. Green Gem Boxwood shrubs are known to add structure to the landscape design throughout the year.
Green Mountain Boxwood – One of the most popular ornamental plants for landscaping applications due to its bright green foliage, clean, classic look, and low maintenance, Green Mountain Boxwood can accentuate any landscape. A relatively faster-growing shrub as compared to other Boxwood, Green Mountain stands out due to its upright, pyramidal form. These shrubs can grow up to 5 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide and are ideal for short hedgerows and as foundation plantings, Green Mountain Boxwood adds great aesthetic value to any landscape design.
Golden Dream Boxwood – Known for their rich green variegated foliage accented by bright golden edges, Golden Dream Boxwood shrubs can spruce up any landscape design. A gorgeous, dense, rounded, and compact shrub that can grow up to 2 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. These evergreen shrubs work brilliantly as accent or specimen plants and can be used as low to medium hedges.
Wintergreen Boxwood - Buxus Sinica var. Insularis ‘Wintergreen’ or Wintergreen Boxwood is a winter-hardy, slow-growing broadleaf evergreen that is perfect for evergreen hedges and borders. Wintergreen Boxwood shrubs can grow up to 3-4 feet high and 3-5 feet wide. Tolerant to pruning and shearing, these shrubs can be molded into unique, attractive shapes to bring interest to the landscape. Wintergreen Boxwood also works great in planters in formal entryways, decks, and other locations.
Variegated Boxwood – One of the most striking Boxwood shrubs around, Variegated Boxwood is a broadleaf evergreen with small dark green leaves bordered by an irregular creamy white variegation. These shrubs work brilliantly for adding interest and color to any landscape throughout the year. A multi-stemmed shrub with high ornamental value, Variegated Boxwood takes pruning exceptionally well and can be easily molded into various topiary shapes or a formal hedge. These shrubs can grow up to 5-8 feet tall.