Buxus – Box – Boxwood -
There area bout 70 species of traditional evergreen shrubs and trees, in this genus. They occur in habitats ranging from rocky hills to woodland in Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America and the West Indies. The leaves vary in size are opposite, linear-lance shaped to almost rounded, smooth edged, and leathery. In spring, small, axillary tight clusters of star shaped, yellow-green flowers of both sexes are borne on the same plant, several male flowers, with conspicuous yellow anthers, surround on female, the flowers attract bees. Boxwoods are grown mainly for their neat, dense, long lived growth habit and foliage, which can be variegated, and their ability to withstand clipping, which makes them ideal for hedging, mazes and topiary. Fruits are small capsules with 2 little ‘Horns’ at the apex of each of the 3 segments, which split apart explosively to expel their seeds. Use dwarf boxwoods for edging, as a groundcover, or in a rock garden. Contact with sap may irritate skin and occasionally kill livestock. Timber is famed for their close grained, yellowish wood,, used for carving and engraving.
Grow in any fertile, well drained soil, preferably in partial shade. They are tolerant of sun, but the combination of full sun and dry soil may encourage poor, dull foliage color or scorching. Prune in late spring.
Prone to powdery mildew, pythimum root rot, canker, dieback, leaf spots, leaf miners, scale insects, lesion nematodes, caterpillars, psyllids, and mites.
B. balearica – Balearic Box - This vigorous, tree from the Balearic Islands and nearby parts of Spain and Algeria grows 30′ feet tall, although half that height is more common in cultivation. It has a somewhat conical habit. It produces oblong-wedge shaped, 1 ½” long, thick, deep green leaves with a notched tip.
B. harlandii of gardens – B. microphylla var. japonica – Japanese Boxwood – This slow growing, very dense, upright shrub from Southern China and Hong Kong grows 3-5′ feet tall and 4′ feet wide. It produces narrowly lance shaped, shiny, dark, deep green leaves, to 1 1/4″ long.
B. macowanii – Cape Box – This small tree found in coastal valleys and among sand dunes grows to 25′ feet tall. It has a rather crooked trunk and attractively drooping branches. The bright green leav3es are like those of B. sempervirens, and tiny greenish flowers appear in winter and spring. The wood was once exported as a substitute for European boxwood, from which it is hardly distinguishable in quality.
B. microphylla – Small-leaved Boxwood – Chinese Box – Japanese Box – Korean Box – This slow growing, dense rounded shrub from Eastern Asia grows 30″ tall and 5′ feet wide. It produces elliptic-oblong to inversely lance shaped, dark green leaves, to 3/4″ long, turning pale amber in winter. Flowers are greenish yellow borne in spring in profuse clusters.
‘Compacta’ – Grows 12″ tall and wide and is dense, with obovate, slightly recurved leaves, to 1/4″ long.
‘Curly Locks’ - grows 3′ feet tall and 4′ feet wide and has an open habit and pale green leaves on twisted shoots.
‘Cushion’ – is very dwarf with small rounded leaves
‘Faulkner’ – is compact with red-brown stems and rounded bright green leaves
‘Green Gem’ – is dwarf with narrow leaves
‘Green Jade’ – grows 2′ feet tall and 3′ feet wide and has broadly egg shaped to rounded, pale green leaves, deeply notched at the tips
‘Green Pillow’ – grows 12-18″ tall and 3′ feet wide and is very compact, dense, and slow growing, with rounded to obovate, slightly recurved leaves
‘Green Velvet’ – is compact
‘John Baldwin’ – is upright in habit and produces bright green leaves
‘Kingsville Dwarf’ – is compact and slow growing
Var. koreana – B. sinica var. insularis – is very hardy and grows 24″ tall and 30″ wide.
‘Morris Midget’ – grows 12″ tall and 18″ wide in a mounding habit
‘Tide Hill’ – compact low growing and produces glossy bright green leaves
‘Wintergreen’ – stays green year round
B. sempervirens – Common Boxwood – European Box – This bushy, rounded shrub or small tree from open woodland and scrub on dry rocky hillsides, often of limestone or chalk soil in Europe, Northern Africa, Turkey and Asia grows 15-30′ feet tall and at least 15′ feet wide. It produces ovate to oblong, glossy, dark green leaves, to 1 1/4″ long, with slightly notched tips. In late spring it bears greenish cream flower clusters. There are a large number of dwarf or compact or variegated variants.
‘Argenteovariegata’ – ‘Argenta’ -grows 3′ feet tall with a greater width and produces gray green leaves with a narrow cream edge.
‘Bullata’ – ‘Latifolia Bullata’ – grows 8′ feet tall and 10′ feet wide with short blunt, dark green leaves.
‘Edgar Anderson’ – is vigorous and has a compact, conical habit
‘Elegantissima’ – grows 5′ feet tall and wide and is very dense, with narrow, creamy white edged mid green leaves, to 3/4″ long.
‘Handsworthensis’ – is dense and upright in habit with unusual large leaves to 1 ½” long, good as a hedge
‘Latifolia Maculata’ – grows 8′ feet tall and 6′ feet wide and is dense with bright yellow young foliage maturing to dark green marked yellow
‘Marginata’ – ‘Aureomarginata’ – grows 8′ feet tall and 10′ feet wide and has yellow edged, dark green leaves
‘Myrtifolia’ grows 4-5′ feet tall
‘Newport Blue’ – grows 18″ tall and 36″ wide and is rounded with blue-green leaves
‘Northland’ – grows 4′ feet tall and 5′ feet wide and is hardy with dark green leaves all winter
‘Pendula’ – has weeping branches and becomes a small tree
‘Pullman’ – grows 6′ feet tall and 5′ feet wide and is very vigorous and compact and rounded
‘Rosmarinifolia’ – grows 4-5′ feet tall and 5′ feet wide and has very small leaves, 1/4″ long.
‘Suffruticosa’ – ‘Edging Boxwood’ – grows 6′ feet tall and 9′ feet wide and is compact and very slow growing. Excellent as a hedge and can be maintained as a dwarf
‘Varder Valley’ – grows 5′ feet tall and forms a dense, flat topped mound of mid to dark green leaves
‘Welleri’ – grows 3′ feet tall and 5′ feet wide and is compact and broad in habit with green leaves throughout winter.
B. Sheridan Hybrids – These North American box cultivars are crosses between B. sempervirens and B. microphylla var. koreana
‘Green Gem’ – is slow growing and globular to mound forming reaching 18-24″ tall and wide and produces rich deep green foliage and is stays green all winter
‘Green Mountain’ – is upright pyramidal to conical in form reaching 5′ feet tall and 3′ feet wide and produces dark green foliage
‘Morris Dwarf’ – grows 12″ tall and 18″ wide and is slow2 growing forming a low, compact mound
‘Wintergreen’ – is very hardy and retains the dark green color of its foliage in winter
B. wallichiana – Himalayan Box - This small tree from Western Himalayas grows to 30′ feet tall, although much smaller in cultivation. It is distinguished by its leaves being longer than those of the other grown Boxwoods, 1 ½-2 ½” long and are narrower and squared off at the tip. The young twigs are finely hairy.
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