BOX PLANT: Distribution, Characteristics, Culture Use, Management Boxwood Pests


Kingdom: Plantae

Family: Buxaceae

Scientific name: Buxus sempervirens

Common name(s): common boxwood plant, common box, American boxwood


Boxwoods have been used by humans for about 6,000 years. Boxwood gets its name from the ancient Greeks. Later, the Romans created small, exquisite boxes for ladies to store their belongings out of thick, fine-grained wood. Musical instruments, writing tablets, combs, carved ornaments, and images have all been made from wood. Egyptians who kept cut boxwood hedges used boxwood in their gardens for the first time around 4,000 B.C.


Boxwood is a fine-textured plant that most gardeners and non-gardeners are familiar with. Boxwood develops slowly into a billowing mound of soft foliage, eventually reaching a height of 6 to 8 feet (ancient examples can be considerably taller). Flowers bloom in the leaf axils and are hardly visible, but they have a particular perfume that annoys some people.

Boxwood Plant


1. Buxus sempervirens is a slow-growing evergreen shrub or small tree that can reach a height of 1 to 8 metres.

2. The little (1.5 to 3cm long) green to yellow leathery dark to blackish-green leaves have a strong odour and are oval, though the shape varies depending on the variety.

3. This hardy evergreen plant tolerates a lot of shade and can often be seen growing in the wild under large deciduous trees.

4. It also grows back from broken stumps and is nearly indestructible once established.

5. There are more Common Box cultivars (almost 400) than there are cultivars of all other boxwood species combined.

6. The large variety of cultivars is due to the wide range of leaf shapes and colour, as well as plant size and form. It is critical to select a cultivar that will not outgrow its intended site because of its proclivity for growing to huge dimensions.

Boxwood Culture

The species/cultivar chosen, the location (mainly climate elements), and the growth environment (e.g., soil, light exposure, and rainfall/irrigation amount) all influence boxwood appearance and performance in the landscape. As a result, it’s critical to match the temperature, growing habitat, and planned landscape usage when selecting a boxwood species or cultivar. The next section discusses boxwood culture or the factors that encourage boxwood development.

Use and Management

 Boxwood forms a lovely clipped hedge that adds a formal touch to any scene. It looks best as part of a foundation or as a border along a walkway or path. Unless you plan on cutting it often to keep the walk clear, plant it far enough away from the walk. It will keep the vegetation away from the walk for several years if it is placed several feet away. It is not suitable for mass planting or specimen planting due to its unusual form and rich, dark colour. It may be clipped into almost any shape and kept there. Plants that haven’t been pruned maintain a more-or-less globe shape. Boxwood thrives in a moderately shady or sunny location. It flourishes in clay or loamy soil with plenty of organic content. Sandy soils are usually unsuitable for boxwood unless irrigation is available or the plants are shielded from the sun all day. Boxwood roots are also attractive to soil-borne nematodes in sandy soils. There are many cultivars with different leaf styles and variegation, as well as different plant shapes and sizes.

Boxwoods are a versatile and beautiful plant for the garden and environment. There are several varieties to choose from, and they can be used for a variety of purposes in the landscape. Selection of the appropriate cultivar, provision of suitable habitat, and provision of the requisite care and resources are all required for the successful usage of boxwoods.

Boxwoods can be used in a variety of garden and landscape settings.

1. They have used border (hedge) plantings as short to medium-sized walls.

2. They’re also utilised to divide or edge garden beds.

3. Act as foundation plants (plants that grow at the base of a structure or building).

4. They can be used as accent plants on either side of a doorway to draw attention to it or to frame an entry or pathway.

5. They’re used as topiaries, for example.

6. Boxwoods contrast with companion plantings in terms of colour, plant form, and texture. The fine leaf, dark green foliage colour, and somewhat visually neutral round to oval shapes (of most cultivars) are all characteristics of boxwood.

7. Boxwoods require extremely little maintenance if the right cultivar is chosen for the site (in terms of climate, soil, and sun exposure) and intended landscape application.

Boxwood Popularity

Boxwoods are a popular landscape plant for a variety of reasons.

Boxwoods are evergreen and have an asymmetrical, compact appearance. Boxwood has a formal aspect due to these features, which is why it is widely employed informal gardens.

Boxwood Plant

Several boxwood varieties come in a range of shapes (e.g., round, oval, conical, columnar) and sizes, ranging from dwarf shrubs (under 3 feet tall at maturity) to huge shrubs.

The size of a mature plant is proportional to its rate of growth, which in most situations is between 3 and 6 inches each year. The new-to-the-trade cultivar ‘Highlander’ (Buxus sempervirens), which grows roughly 24 inches each year, is an exception to this rule (once established). The growing circumstances will, of course, influence any cultivar’s growth potential.

Sun Exposure

Boxwoods thrive in full sun to part shade, although they look and perform best in a shady area, particularly in the afternoon. This is especially true in the winter, when the ground is frozen and roots are unable to absorb water, the leaves may get desiccated. While many cultivars can withstand direct sunlight, some require midday shade to stay healthy.

Soil Aspects

Boxwood growth is influenced by soil factors as well. The pH of the soil should be between 6.5 and 7.2, however, values just above or below this range will result in acceptable growth. The pH and nutritional status of the soil will be determined by a soil test. The soil test will also tell you how to regulate the pH and how much fertiliser to use (if necessary). Boxwood planting will be much more successful if you pay attention to the site circumstances and match the species to them.

Boxwood Pests

Insects, diseases, and nematodes (microscopic roundworms) can all affect boxwoods. Some of these pests create small issues, while others can be rather serious. Boxwood leafminer and boxwood psyllid are the two most frequent insect pests that attack boxwoods.

Boxwood Leafminer

 Boxwood leafminer infestation is a major issue, especially when the miner population is medium to big. The immature stage of the leafminer is a tiny larva that feeds on the leaf’s upper and below surfaces. Discolouration and blistering of the leaf surfaces occur as a result of this feeding.

Boxwood Psyllid,

 A common pest of boxwoods is Psylla buxi. The nymph stage feeds on fresh foliage, resulting in unique leaf cupping. The majority of the damage is cosmetic and does not harm the plant. B. microphylla ‘Fiorii’, B. sempervirens ‘Arborescens’, B. x ‘Glencoe’ (‘Chicagoland Green’TM), and hybrids ‘Green Mountain’ and ‘Green Velvet’ have shown partial resistance. B. microphylla ‘Sunnyside,’ B. sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa,’ B. sinica var. insularis ‘Winter Beauty,’ and hybrids ‘Green Gem’ and ‘Green Mound’ are the cultivars to avoid.

Boxwood Blight

Boxwood Blight is a fungal disease that has only recently been discovered (2011) and is a severe danger to boxwood. The pathogen’s origin is uncertain, however, the sickness was originally discovered in Connecticut, North Carolina, and Virginia. Rapid defoliation and stem lesions are the major symptoms of this disease. In humid areas, the disease is the most common.

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