90306While flashier but typically weaker modern cultivars of so many other specie are being developed, the most popular of the many cultivars of English boxwood, Buxus sempervirens, remain the same. There is not much to improve on. Most cultivars get only a few feet tall, and are densely foliated with inch long evergreen leaves that are excellent for topiary and low formally shorn hedges.

One of the difficulties with formal hedges, or any formal application, is replacement of any specimens that die. There are not very many of the different cultivars available locally; but it can be quite difficult to distinguish between some of them. One specimen of the wrong cultivar ruins conformity! Another concern is that the aroma of the foliage when disturbed may be objectionable to some.

In the wild, English boxwood grows as small trees or rather larger shrubs with relatively open structure. Locally, such specimens are only very rarely found in old Victorian landscapes, such as at the Winchester House. ‘Suffruticosa’ is so compact that it popularly allowed to grow as as unshorn and nearly spherical shrubs. ‘Argenteo-Variegata’, ‘Variegata’ and ‘Marginata’ are variegated.

4 thoughts on “English Boxwood

    1. That is unfortunate about the blight, but also interesting that you appreciate a formal garden. It is so passe here, and even stigmatized. I think that I like the formality of conforming street trees because I lived in a suburban region when I was a kid. Goodness, that same neighborhood looks like a garage sale with the mix of poorly selected trees that replaced the once formal Norway maples that flanked the street.


  1. Like Chloris, we have issues with boxwood blight (a relatively new disease for us). It’s far more common for our boxwood to get winter burn, or simply to die. And then, asyou say, you have the replacement shrub issue. I think I have always had a bit of a prejudice against boxwood simply because it’s difficult for us to grow. The scent is rarely a problem when it’s colder.

    And we won’t even talk about the fact that deer will bother it.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deer?! Wow! They must be hungry. I do not know if they do the same here or not, but I have never seen such damage, and I would guess that boxwood must taste like it smells.


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