Boxwoods have been the backbone of Southern gardens for centuries, and new selections are now offering solutions for every landscape.
Southerners love boxwoods. They greet our guests at the door and provide an element of delight and surprise when clipped and
trained into topiaries and parterres. Elegant when used alone and sublime as companion plants, they offer amazing versatility
in any garden. Plus, deer don't usually eat them.
The secret to working with these fine-textured evergreens is choosing the best selection to fit your vision and growing conditions. Some grow as tall as a tree and just as wide, while others hug the ground. Find out more about our top picks that are suitable for the South.
It's one of the largest boxwoods, growing to more than 15 feet tall and wide, and it's long-lived. Plant on a well-drained site. It can grow in the Upper, Middle, and Lower South.
Best for accents and tall hedges: 'Dee Runk' is 8 feet tall, 2 feet wide, upright, grows faster than 'Fastigiata,' and needs little pruning. 'Fastigiata' is 8 feet tall and 3½ feet wide.
Best for foundations: 'Vardar Valley' grows 2 to 3 feet tall and twice as wide or wider. It has blue-green foliage in spring, has no leaf miner problems, and is very cold hardy.
(B. microphylla japonica)
The round-tipped, glossy, dark green leaves may take on a bronze cast in cold winters when exposed to southwestern sun. It tolerates heat, humidity, and nematodes, making it the best boxwood for the Coastal South, though it does well throughout the South.
Best for medium hedges: 'Green Beauty' responds well to pruning and is a versatile plant.
Best for foundations: 'Jim Stauffer' is a strong foundation plant. It has a vigorous habit, is cold hardy, and can also be clipped into a formal parterre. 'Jim Stauffer' has fewer leaf miner problems than 'Green Beauty.'
A slow-growing species from Japan, it's cold hardy and can be used in the Upper, Middle, Lower, and Coastal South.
Best for medium hedges and containers: 'John Baldwin' grows 4 to 8 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It has a fine texture and is an upright, conical grower. It's susceptible to leaf miner.
Best for low hedges or edging: 'Grace Hendrick Phillips' has a ground-hugging form and is disease and pest free. It looks best when given some shade. 'Green Pillow' is a handsome plant that is used on the grounds of the White House.
(B. sinica insularis)
It's slower and lower growing than Japanese boxwood. It tolerates severe winters, making it an especially good choice for the Upper South, though it will grow throughout the South.
Best for low hedges or edging: 'Justin Brouwers' has lustrous, rich green leaves and is sun tolerant. 'Wintergreen' has small leaves and is extremely cold hardy.
This group of extremely cold-hardy Canadian-bred boxwoods features plants with rich, green foliage and an attractive shape. They are best for growing in the Upper, Middle, Lower, and Coastal South. They are more susceptible to leaf miners.
Best for medium hedges: 'Green Mountain' grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide and forms a dense cone.
Best for foundations: 'Green Velvet' is wider than it is tall, has matte green leaves, and is very cold hardy. It responds well to pruning.