Simply Trees

Japanese Boxwood

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Once a weekFull sunDeer resistantSpring
  • Dense and Compact Foliage: Exhibits small, glossy leaves that retain their color year-round, offering continuous visual interest.
  • Shape Retention: Responds well to pruning and shearing, making it excellent for formal hedges and topiary art.
  • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it shows a good level of drought resistance, requiring minimal watering in favorable conditions.

More Details

Japanese Boxwood, scientifically known as Buxus microphylla, is a versatile and hardy evergreen shrub widely used in landscape design for its dense, lush foliage and ability to be shaped into precise forms. Renowned for its slow to moderate growth rate and compact, rounded habit, this species is ideal for creating low hedges, borders, or as a foundational planting in both formal and informal garden settings. The Japanese Boxwood is distinguished by its small, leathery, dark green leaves which remain vibrant throughout the year, providing a constant backdrop of greenery. Tolerant of pruning and shearing, it's a favorite among gardeners for topiary work and maintains its shape well over time. Its adaptability to a range of soil types and conditions, including partial shade, makes it a resilient choice for a variety of climates.

Growth rate: Slow to moderate growth rate; mature height of 2-4 feet and width of 2-4 feet, depending on the variety and pruning practices.

Please note: Images on our website depict plants and trees at full maturity to showcase their expected grown characteristics. These images are illustrative examples only and do not represent the size of plants or trees upon delivery.

Pruning: Best pruned in late winter or early spring to maintain desired shape and size. Regular trimming helps promote dense growth.

Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring to encourage healthy foliage development.

Winter Protection: In colder zones, providing winter protection such as mulching can help safeguard against frost damage, especially for newly planted shrubs.

Choose a location with well-draining soil in full sun to partial shade. Dig a hole as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Plant the boxwood, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly. Space plants according to the desired final hedge or border width to ensure proper growth and form.

Water regularly during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system; thereafter, it requires only occasional watering, with more frequent irrigation during extended dry spells. Prefers a location with full sun to partial shade, with the latter helping to prevent leaf scorch in hotter climates. Japanese Boxwood benefits from consistent moisture, particularly in the first year, and thrives in a range of light conditions, making it an excellent choice for creating evergreen structure in the garden.

We process and ship your order as quickly as possible, typically within 1-3 business days. You will receive a shipping confirmation with tracking information once your item(s) ship.

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!

In cases of extreme cold or hot weather, we may temporarily delay shipping to ensure the well-being of your plants. Our primary focus is on delivering healthy and thriving plants to you. Rest assured, we'll make every effort to notify you of any delays promptly.

Please allow additional ship times during inclement weather and sale periods. We do not process or ship orders on the weekend or U.S. Holidays. Simply Trees is not responsible for delays due to carriers, local disruptions, or weather.

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At Simply Trees, we're committed to your satisfaction. If your plants arrive considerably damaged or sustained damage beyond the point of recovery, please contact us within five days at with clear photos for assistance. Our 30-day guarantee covers issues after planting, subject to our terms and conditions. We can't cover plants in the wrong climate or with inadequate care, but we're here to help in other situations. For a detailed understanding of our 30-day guarantee and how we ensure a fair process, click here to learn more.


Zones 5-9

Japanese Boxwood thrives in USDA Zones 5-9, performing best in well-drained soil and adaptable to both full sun and partial shade. This broad adaptability, coupled with its resistance to boxwood blight and other common pests, makes it a dependable shrub for gardeners seeking durable and attractive evergreen foliage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Japanese Boxwoods are known for their compact and dense growth habit, making them popular choices for hedges, borders, and foundation plantings. When considering their size, it's important to keep in mind that Japanese Boxwoods can be pruned to maintain a desired shape and size. However, here are some general guidelines regarding the potential size of Japanese Boxwoods:

Height: Japanese Boxwoods typically reach a height of 2 to 4 feet at maturity. However, under optimal growing conditions, some varieties may grow slightly taller, reaching up to 5 feet or more.

Width/Spread: Japanese Boxwoods have a similar spread to their height, with a width ranging from 2 to 4 feet or more. Their dense foliage and compact growth habit contribute to their relatively uniform shape, making them suitable for formal hedging or shaping into geometric forms.

Cultural Practices: Proper pruning and maintenance can help control the size and shape of Japanese Boxwoods. Regular pruning encourages branching and helps maintain a dense, compact form. Pruning can also be used to create formal hedges, topiaries, or other ornamental shapes.

Growing Conditions: Environmental factors such as sunlight, soil quality, and moisture levels can influence the growth and size of Japanese Boxwoods. Providing optimal growing conditions, including well-drained soil, partial shade to full sun exposure, and adequate moisture, can support healthy growth and development.

Slow Growth Rate: Japanese Boxwoods are considered slow to moderate growers, especially compared to some other shrubs or trees. Their slow growth rate contributes to their manageable size and longevity in landscapes.

Overall, Japanese Boxwoods are valued for their versatility, compact size, and attractive foliage, making them well-suited for a variety of landscaping applications. Proper care and maintenance can help ensure that Japanese Boxwoods remain healthy, vibrant, and well-proportioned in the landscape.

The growth rate of Japanese Boxwoods can vary depending on several factors, including environmental conditions, cultivar, and cultural practices. Generally, Japanese Boxwoods are considered slow to moderate growers, especially when compared to some other shrubs or trees. Here are some factors that can influence the growth rate of Japanese Boxwoods:

Environmental Conditions: Japanese Boxwoods grow best in well-drained soil and partial shade to full sun exposure. The availability of sunlight, water, and nutrients in the soil can directly affect the growth rate. Optimal growing conditions can promote faster growth, while poor soil quality or inadequate sunlight may result in slower growth.

Cultivar: There are several cultivars of Japanese Boxwood available, and their growth rates may vary slightly. Some cultivars are naturally more compact and slower-growing than others. For example, dwarf or compact varieties tend to have a slower growth rate and maintain a more manageable size, making them suitable for smaller spaces or formal hedges.

Pruning: Regular pruning can help shape and maintain the desired size and form of Japanese Boxwoods. Pruning can also stimulate new growth and branching, but excessive or improper pruning may stress the plant and slow down its growth rate temporarily.

Watering and Fertilizing: Proper watering and fertilization can promote healthy growth in Japanese Boxwoods. Regular watering, especially during hot and dry periods, helps prevent stress and encourages steady growth. Additionally, applying a balanced fertilizer in spring can provide essential nutrients to support vigorous growth.

In ideal growing conditions with adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients, Japanese Boxwoods can typically grow around 3 to 6 inches per year. However, their growth rate may slow down as they mature, especially once they reach their desired size. It's essential to monitor the growth of Japanese Boxwoods and provide appropriate care to ensure optimal health and appearance.

Boxwood (Buxus spp.) and Japanese Boxwood (Buxus microphylla) are closely related plants within the Buxaceae family, but they have some differences in their characteristics and growing habits:

Species and Cultivars: Boxwood is a broad term that refers to several species within the Buxus genus, including Buxus sempervirens (common or European boxwood), Buxus microphylla (Japanese boxwood), and Buxus sinica (Chinese boxwood), among others. Japanese Boxwood specifically refers to the species Buxus microphylla, which is native to Japan and other parts of Asia. It is one of the most popular and widely cultivated species of boxwood.

Size and Growth Habit: Both boxwood and Japanese Boxwood are evergreen shrubs with dense, compact growth habits. However, Japanese Boxwood tends to be slightly smaller in size compared to some other boxwood species. It typically grows to a height of 2-4 feet and has a similar spread. Some cultivars of Japanese Boxwood, such as 'Compacta' or 'Green Beauty,' are more compact and slower-growing than others.

Leaf Size and Shape: One of the distinguishing features of Japanese Boxwood is its small, glossy leaves, which are usually less than 1 inch long. The leaves are oval to elliptical in shape and have a smooth texture. In comparison, other species of boxwood may have larger leaves with slightly different shapes, textures, and colors, depending on the cultivar.

Cold Hardiness: Japanese Boxwood is known for its excellent cold hardiness and can tolerate temperatures down to USDA hardiness zone 6, and even zone 5 with proper protection. It is more cold-hardy compared to some other species of boxwood, making it suitable for a wider range of climates.

Cultural Requirements: Boxwood and Japanese Boxwood have similar cultural requirements in terms of soil, light, and water. They prefer well-drained soil, partial shade to full sun, and regular watering, especially during hot and dry periods. Proper pruning and maintenance are important for both types to maintain their shape and health.

Overall, while boxwood and Japanese Boxwood share many similarities, Japanese Boxwood is a specific species within the broader category of boxwood, known for its small size, compact growth habit, and excellent cold hardiness.

The best place to plant Japanese Boxwoods depends on several factors, including the climate, soil conditions, and desired aesthetic effect. Here are some tips for selecting the ideal planting location for Japanese Boxwoods:

Light: Japanese Boxwoods thrive in partial shade to full sun. In regions with hot summers, partial shade during the hottest part of the day can help prevent leaf scorch. However, they can tolerate full sun in cooler climates. Choose a location that receives at least 4-6 hours of sunlight per day for optimal growth and foliage density.

Soil: Japanese Boxwoods prefer well-drained, slightly acidic to neutral soil with good fertility. They can adapt to various soil types, including loam, clay, or sandy soil, as long as it is well-draining. Avoid planting in waterlogged or compacted soil, as this can lead to root rot and other problems.

Air Circulation: Good air circulation is essential for preventing diseases such as boxwood blight. Plant Japanese Boxwoods in an area with adequate airflow and avoid overcrowding them with other plants or structures. Proper spacing between plants allows for better air circulation and reduces the risk of fungal diseases.

Protection from Harsh Conditions: While Japanese Boxwoods are relatively hardy, they can suffer from winter burn or wind damage in exposed locations. Plant them in a sheltered spot, such as near a building or larger plants, to provide protection from harsh winds and winter weather.

Landscape Design: Consider the overall landscape design and use of Japanese Boxwoods as foundation plants, hedges, borders, or specimen plants. Plant them strategically to frame entryways, define garden spaces, or create formal hedges and topiaries. Japanese Boxwoods also work well in mixed borders with other shrubs, perennials, and ornamental grasses.

Maintenance Access: Keep in mind the maintenance requirements of Japanese Boxwoods, including pruning, watering, and fertilizing. Plant them in a location where you can easily access them for routine care and maintenance tasks.

Climate Considerations: Japanese Boxwoods are suitable for USDA hardiness zones 6-9, although specific cultivars may have different cold or heat tolerance levels. Consider your local climate conditions, such as temperature extremes, humidity levels, and precipitation patterns, when selecting a planting location.

By considering these factors and selecting a suitable planting location, you can ensure that your Japanese Boxwoods thrive and contribute to the beauty and functionality of your landscape design.

Planting Japanese Boxwoods in pots is a great way to add greenery and structure to your patio, balcony, or outdoor living space. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to plant Japanese Boxwoods in pots:

Select Suitable Pots: Choose pots or containers that are large enough to accommodate the root system of the Japanese Boxwoods and provide ample space for growth. Ensure that the pots have drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging and promote good drainage.

Prepare Potting Mix: Use a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for container gardening. You can either purchase a commercial potting mix or create your own by combining equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and compost. Avoid using garden soil, as it tends to become compacted and may not provide adequate drainage in containers.

Planting: Fill the bottom of the pot with a layer of potting mix, leaving enough space to accommodate the root ball of the Japanese Boxwood. Carefully remove the plant from its nursery container and gently loosen the roots to encourage outward growth. Place the plant in the center of the pot and fill in the remaining space with potting mix, pressing lightly to firm the soil around the roots.

Positioning: Choose a location for your potted Japanese Boxwoods that receives partial to full sunlight, depending on your climate and the specific needs of the plants. Japanese Boxwoods prefer well-drained soil and thrive in areas with good air circulation.

Watering: After planting, water the Japanese Boxwoods thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate any air pockets around the roots. Ensure that the soil is evenly moist but not waterlogged. Water the plants regularly, especially during hot, dry periods, and adjust the frequency based on weather conditions and soil moisture levels.

Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or straw, around the base of the Japanese Boxwoods to help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Leave a gap between the mulch and the stems of the plants to prevent moisture-related issues and discourage pests.

Maintenance: Monitor the potted Japanese Boxwoods regularly for signs of moisture stress, pest infestations, or nutrient deficiencies. Prune the plants as needed to maintain their shape and size, and fertilize them periodically during the growing season with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for container plants.

Winter Care: In colder climates, consider protecting the potted Japanese Boxwoods from freezing temperatures by moving them to a sheltered location or wrapping the pots with insulating material. Water the plants sparingly during the winter months to prevent root rot and dehydration.

By following these planting tips and providing proper care, you can enjoy healthy and vibrant Japanese Boxwoods in containers, adding beauty and structure to your outdoor space throughout the year.

For boxwoods, choosing the right fertilizer is essential for promoting healthy growth and vibrant foliage. Here are some tips to consider when selecting the best fertilizer:

Balanced Formulation: Look for a balanced fertilizer with equal or near-equal proportions of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), such as a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 formulation. This ensures that the boxwoods receive essential nutrients in the correct proportions to support overall growth and development.

Slow-Release or Controlled-Release: Opt for a slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer for boxwoods. These formulations gradually release nutrients over an extended period, providing a steady supply of nourishment to the plants without risk of nutrient leaching or burning.

Micronutrients: Consider a fertilizer that contains micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. These micronutrients are essential for healthy foliage color, photosynthesis, and overall plant vitality. Look for fertilizers labeled as "complete" or "micronutrient-enriched."

Organic Options: If you prefer organic gardening practices, choose organic fertilizers made from natural ingredients such as compost, fish emulsion, bone meal, or seaweed extract. Organic fertilizers improve soil structure, promote beneficial microbial activity, and provide a gentle, slow-release source of nutrients.

pH Consideration: Boxwoods prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil conditions. If your soil is too acidic or alkaline, choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for acid-loving plants or adjust the soil pH as needed to ensure optimal nutrient uptake.

Application Frequency: Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding application rates and frequency. Apply fertilizer to boxwoods in early spring, just before the growing season begins, and again in late spring or early summer if necessary. Avoid fertilizing in late summer or fall, as this can stimulate new growth that may be susceptible to winter damage.

Uniform Application: Distribute the fertilizer evenly around the drip line of the boxwood shrubs, avoiding direct contact with the foliage or stems. Water the area thoroughly after application to help the nutrients penetrate the soil and reach the root zone.

Soil Test: Consider conducting a soil test to determine the specific nutrient needs of your boxwoods and adjust your fertilizer application accordingly. Soil tests provide valuable information about soil pH, nutrient levels, and any deficiencies that may need to be addressed.

By selecting the right fertilizer and following proper application practices, you can ensure that your boxwoods receive the essential nutrients they need to thrive, maintaining their health, vigor, and ornamental appeal in the landscape.

The best time to plant boxwoods largely depends on the climate and local conditions, but generally, early spring or fall are optimal times for planting. Here's why:

Spring Planting: Planting boxwoods in early spring allows them to establish their root systems before the hot summer months. The soil is typically moist from winter rains, providing favorable conditions for root growth. Cooler temperatures also reduce stress on the newly transplanted shrubs.

Fall Planting: Fall is another ideal time to plant boxwoods, particularly in regions with mild winters. Planting in early to mid-fall gives the shrubs time to settle in and establish roots before the onset of winter. Cooler temperatures and reduced sun exposure minimize transplant shock, and the soil is still warm enough for root growth.

By planting boxwoods in either spring or fall, you give them the best chance to acclimate to their new environment and establish healthy root systems, which is crucial for their long-term growth and success. However, in regions with extreme heat or cold, it's best to consult local gardening resources or nurseries for specific recommendations tailored to your area's climate and growing conditions.

Pruning Japanese Boxwoods is essential to maintain their shape, promote healthy growth, and manage size. Here's a guide on how to prune Japanese Boxwoods effectively:

Timing: Prune Japanese Boxwoods during the active growing season, preferably in late spring or early summer. Avoid pruning during hot, dry periods or during the dormant season, as this can stress the plants.

Tools: Use sharp and clean pruning shears or hedge trimmers to make precise cuts without causing damage to the foliage. Disinfect the tools with rubbing alcohol or a bleach solution to prevent the spread of diseases.

Remove Dead or Diseased Branches: Start by inspecting the Japanese Boxwood for any dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Remove these branches back to the nearest healthy growth point or the main stem to encourage new growth.

Shape the Plant: Use hand pruners to selectively trim the outer foliage to achieve the desired shape and size. Japanese Boxwoods tolerate heavy pruning and can be shaped into formal hedges, topiaries, or naturalistic forms. Trim the branches evenly to maintain a uniform appearance.

Thin Out Dense Growth: Thin out dense growth within the interior of the plant to improve air circulation and light penetration. This helps reduce the risk of disease and promotes healthier growth. Remove overcrowded or crossing branches to open up the canopy.

Maintain Natural Form: While pruning, aim to preserve the natural form and character of the Japanese Boxwood. Avoid over-pruning, which can result in bare patches or an unnatural appearance. Step back periodically to assess the overall shape and balance of the plant.

Consider Growth Rate: Japanese Boxwoods have a moderate growth rate, so plan your pruning regimen accordingly. Regular maintenance pruning, performed once or twice a year, helps keep the plants looking tidy and prevents them from becoming overgrown.

Clean Up Debris: After pruning, remove any trimmings and debris from around the base of the plant to prevent pests and diseases from harboring in the area. Dispose of the trimmings properly or compost them if disease-free.

Monitor Growth: Keep an eye on the Japanese Boxwoods throughout the growing season and perform light touch-up pruning as needed to maintain their shape and size. Avoid heavy pruning in late summer or fall, as this can stimulate new growth that may be vulnerable to winter damage.

By following these pruning guidelines, you can effectively shape and maintain the health of your Japanese Boxwoods, enhancing their beauty and longevity in the landscape.

Japanese Boxwoods may turn brown due to various factors, including:

Environmental Stress: Exposure to extreme weather conditions such as drought, excessive heat, or cold can cause browning of Japanese Boxwood foliage. Inadequate watering or poor soil drainage exacerbates stress.

Overwatering or Underwatering: Both overwatering and underwatering can lead to browning of Japanese Boxwoods. Overwatering causes root rot, leading to reduced uptake of water and nutrients, while underwatering results in drought stress and foliage desiccation.

Fungal Diseases: Diseases such as boxwood blight (caused by the fungus Calonectria pseudonaviculata) and Volutella blight (caused by the fungus Volutella buxi) can cause browning of foliage, often accompanied by leaf spots, defoliation, and dieback.

Pest Infestations: Japanese Boxwoods are susceptible to pest infestations, including boxwood leafminer, boxwood psyllids, and spider mites. These pests feed on the foliage, causing discoloration, browning, and deformation of leaves.

Soil pH and Nutrient Deficiencies: Japanese Boxwoods prefer slightly acidic soil with good fertility. Imbalanced soil pH or nutrient deficiencies can impact nutrient uptake and result in browning of foliage.

Pruning Stress: Improper pruning practices, such as excessive pruning or cutting during hot, dry periods, can stress Japanese Boxwoods and lead to browning of foliage.

Root Damage: Damage to the root system from construction activities, compaction, or girdling roots can impair water and nutrient uptake, resulting in browning of foliage.

To address browning of Japanese Boxwoods, assess environmental conditions, monitor watering practices, inspect for signs of diseases and pests, and ensure proper soil fertility and pH. Implement corrective measures such as adjusting watering schedules, improving soil drainage, applying fungicides or insecticides as needed, and providing appropriate cultural care to promote plant health and reduce stress.

To address browning in boxwoods, consider the following steps:

Identify the Cause: Determine the underlying cause of the browning. Browning can result from various factors, including inadequate watering, improper pruning, pest infestations, diseases, or environmental stressors such as extreme temperatures or poor soil conditions.

Watering: Ensure that boxwoods receive sufficient water, especially during dry periods. Water deeply and evenly, providing moisture to the entire root zone. Avoid overwatering, as waterlogged soil can lead to root rot and browning. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to deliver water directly to the root zone.

Pruning: Prune boxwoods to remove dead or diseased branches, as well as any areas showing signs of browning. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to make precise cuts, and avoid cutting into healthy green foliage. Proper pruning can improve air circulation and light penetration, promoting healthy growth.

Pest Management: Check boxwoods for signs of pest infestations, such as leaf discoloration, distorted growth, or the presence of insects. Common pests that affect boxwoods include boxwood leafminers, mites, and boxwood psyllids. Treat infestations with appropriate insecticides or insecticidal soaps, following label instructions carefully.

Disease Control: Monitor boxwoods for signs of fungal diseases, such as boxwood blight or root rot, which can cause browning of foliage. Remove and dispose of affected plant material promptly to prevent the spread of disease. Consider applying fungicides labeled for use on boxwoods if necessary, following recommended application rates and timing.

Soil Improvement: Assess soil conditions and make amendments as needed to improve drainage and fertility. Boxwoods prefer well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH. Incorporate organic matter such as compost or aged manure into the soil to enhance its structure and nutrient content.

Environmental Considerations: Protect boxwoods from extreme weather conditions, such as winter winds or scorching summer sun, which can stress the plants and lead to browning. Consider providing supplemental shade or windbreaks as needed.

Monitoring and Maintenance: Regularly inspect boxwoods for signs of browning or other issues, and take corrective action promptly. Maintain proper cultural practices, including adequate watering, pruning, and fertilization, to keep boxwoods healthy and vibrant.

By addressing the underlying causes of browning and implementing appropriate corrective measures, you can help restore the health and beauty of your boxwood plants.

Our Process

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!