English boxwood is a classic formal hedge.

Good old fashioned boxwood hedges really look silly if just a single missing plant get replaced with a different cultivar (cultivated variety) or specie. Most of the older boxwood hedges are the traditional, but somewhat yellowish Japanese boxwood. Most middle aged hedges are a relatively newer cultivar that is a bit greener. Modern boxwood hedges are more likely a cultivar of English boxwood, Buxus sempervirens.

English boxwood resembles Japanese boxwood, but has slightly narrower leaves that produce a slightly more objectionable aroma when shorn or otherwise disturbed. These opposite (paired) glossy leaves are only about a quarter to half an inch wide and about twice as long. The color is slightly darker with a more ‘olive’ tone. Wild English boxwood in Europe can grow as small trees. Most garden varieties are fortunately much shorter and more compact, which is why they are so popularly shorn into small formal hedges. They also do well as topiary. ‘Aureo Variegata’ is variegated with nicely contrasting cream colored leaf margins.


4 thoughts on “English Boxwood

  1. Box is experiencing problems in the UK and parts of Europe with Box blight destroying huge areas of formal hedges and topiary. There is now also a caterpillar that is creating real problems.
    The plant breeders are trying to select a blight resistant variety.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I read about that recently, probably after I wrote this article. (Articles that post on Thursdays and Fridays are recycled from a few years ago.) Boxwood are not overly popular here, so such pathogens would likely migrate slower when they get here. Boxwood is more popular in the east.

      Liked by 1 person

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