Boxwood in the Northeast - Knowledgebase Question

Amesbury, MA
Avatar for etatbtkt
Question by etatbtkt
January 14, 1998
I live in the Northeast. Can I successfully grow boxwood? Any hints on planting and maintaining the shrub in this cold climate? What would be the best varieties?

Answer from NGA
January 14, 1998
Boxwood is a broad-leaved evergreen used often as a hedge and even as a tree. The two hardiest Boxwoods are B. microphylla var. japonica and B.m. var. koreana. Japonica will grow to about 6 feet whereas the koreana will probably not top 18 inches. They can be quite successful and beautiful in our climate.

Since you haven't planted these shrubs yet, it would be a good to have a soil test done. Contact your State University and request one (ph# 413-545-4800, web site When you return the sample, tell them it is for a boxwood and they will tell you exactly what to add to amend the soil properly.

When transplanting, set the shrubs deeper than they had been before, being sure the hole is deeper and wider than the root ball. Be sure to work in lots of organic matter. Compost goes a long way here. Remember it'll be in this spot for many years so be sure it gets everything it needs NOW!

Boxwood likes well-drained soils and does best in partial shade. It is important that even though these will be hardy, you must give them some winter protection. They are very slow growers so any damage will take a long time to hide. They will benefit from an annual addition of organic fertilizer like compost or composted manure. A mulch of 1-2 inches will be beneficial as well.

It is best to clip boxwood in late August or early fall.

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