Durable Garden Additions: Japanese Boxwood

February 12, 2024

Characterized by its fine texture and round, evergreen shrub, Japanese Boxwood is a well-known plant species for its durability in many gardens. Right from the Boxwood (Buxaceae) family, it’s a box-like shrub that makes decorative boxes.

Hoping for a durable addition to your garden? Consider Buxus microphylla var. japonica (Japanese Boxwood). It is sturdy, dependable, and what you need to take your curbside appeal a notch higher.

Boxwoods thrive in cool and moist soils, so you should mulch properly around the roots. Ensure your soil is well-drained at all times. The shrub does well in dappled to partial shade. When exposed to the full sun, Japanese Boxwood turns yellow. In full shade, it will be sparsely foliated. Finding the right balance is significant to proper growth.

Remember, Boxwood grows slowly, and the proper planting technique is essential to bring it to fruition. Before investing in Japanese Boxwood, understand its nature, growth process, and how to take care of it.

The Basics

Gaining its name from its rampant cultivation in Japan, Japanese Boxwood is a relatively easy shrub to grow. When grown properly, it results in shiny, green foliage. A few Boxwood species can maintain their leafy green during the winter while others turn yellow, only to revert to their green, luscious nature in the spring.

These shrubs don’t grow long. They are 3ft tall and 3ft wide, but you could find shorter cultivators. When it comes to tolerating pests and diseases, Boxwood species vary. Japanese Boxwood is more resistant to them than its two counterparts, the English and American Boxwoods.

Landscaping Uses for Japanese Boxwood

Boxwood plants grow for their ornamental value. They provide beautiful, low-hanging hedges that add to your curbside appeal and increase the value of your property. There are Boxwood cultivators that form into tiny trees for a Bonsai arrangement. This plant species will complement your landscaping and is perfect for your fence or driveway.

Planting Japanese Boxwood

Although Japanese Boxwood comes across as a “tough” plant that can grow anywhere, it’s essential to have the right planting location. There are a variety of Boxwood cultivators available. But it’s best to do your due diligence and go for a cultivator that will thrive in your local climate.

When planting, consider sheltered locations that minimize exposure to harsh weather conditions like winter thaw cycles. For successful planting, go for tolerant, well-draining, loamy soil types.

Proper spacing will help the plants not to grow into each other. Offer sufficient space for each shrub you plant to create a stunning display as they grow. Space them in a line to form a hedge in a defined garden space.

Early fall or spring is the peak planting season. Plant your Japanese Boxwood in a wide, shallow hole. Place the plant gently and fill the hole with soil. Mix transplanting fertilizer if you desire. It will help your plants grow well. Even so, over-fertilization will stunt the plant’s growth.

To help your Buxus Mycrophilla thrive, perform a soil test to determine the nutrients in your soil. This will help you know what’s lacking. Nitrogen is essential for your soil. Make sure it’s in the highest amounts, and find ways to add it if it’s not. After fertilizing during planting, do it again when you see new growth on your shrubs.

Drip irrigation is your best bet once planting is complete. Mulch your Boxwood with organic mulch once you have them in the correct position.

Mulching Your Shrubs

Mulching will do wonders for your Japanese Boxwood. A one-inch mulch layer will suppress competitive weeds and protect shallow Boxwood roots. Mulch keeps the soil cool in the summer and warm during winter months. Mulch the soil around the plant. Be careful not to touch the stem as it provides adequate air circulation.

Pruning Japanese Boxwood

Annual shearing is a requirement for Japanese Boxwood. The good news is that the shrub responds well to pruning! Before trimming, ensure your shears are sharp and clean before trimming sheared hedges. If you don’t know how to trim your shrub, consult a gardening guide as it will offer the information you need. Guesswork doesn’t apply here. If you don’t trim the right way, you’ll ruin your shrubs.

Prune in late spring so you can give the shrub time to come out of dormancy before trimming it back down. Avoid heavy shearing in the fall because new growth sprouts will not have enough time to blossom before hardening up. Don’t be in a rush. Give your Boxwood time to blossom and you’ll love the result.

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JJ Sterling
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter and an architecture graduate from Chicago, I thrive on crafting a digital nexus where architectural innovation intersects with boundless digital opportunity. My academic roots in the Windy City's rich architectural tapestry inspire a unique vision for Urban Splatter's journey into the ever-evolving digital frontier of design. Join us as we navigate the exciting confluence of structure, style, and technology.

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