- Type Evergreen shrub
- Lifespan Long-lived perennial
- USDA Zones 4-9
- Light Shade to sun
- Companions Flatters any plant
- Best Use Hedge or topiary
- Design Tip A formal touch
- Form Clipped or shaggy
- Peak Season Year-round structure
Boxwood: A Field Guide
Boxwood, a longtime staple of formal European gardens, has broken free from its clipped constraints and is everywhere—in containers, amid naturalistic landscapes, and even in the vegetable garden.
With shiny green foliage and 365 cultivars, boxwood is a shrub that can solve many problems. It can be shaped into an evergreen hedge, clipped into topiaries, or planted singly as to create a visual focal point in a garden. Cultivars of American boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) can grow to heights of 16 feet, while dwarf varieties (Buxus microphylla) will stay just under two. Slow-growing English boxwood (Buxus sempervirens Suffruticosa), for centuries the preferred choice in formal European gardens because of its tidy shape and small, well-shaped leaves, has in recent years fallen prey to disease, a widespread boxwood blight caused by the fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola. Before you choose a variety of boxwood, be sure to read about the pros and cons at English Boxwood: Is It Worth It?