Boxwoods are a nice addition to a garden, particularly if you want to create a low-maintenance border. Planting them near each other will create a continuous line but don’t overcrowd them as they will spread out quickly.
How far apart to plant boxwoods? Most varieties of boxwoods should be planted 2 to 3 feet apart. They will take a few years to grow together to create a continuous line of hedges. For dwarf varieties, space them about 2 feet apart as they grow more slowly.
When to Plant Boxwood
There are two ideal times to plant boxwoods. Early spring is the most common but you can also plant them in late fall, as long as you get them in the ground before it becomes too cold.
Planting during winter is not recommended as the ground will be too frozen and the cold can quickly kill the new boxwoods. Furthermore, planting in the height of summer will result in the root system drying out before it can establish itself.
Where to Plant Boxwood
Finding the right place for your boxwoods is step one in planting. The more thought you can put into the action, the more you will be able to enjoy their growth. Here are a few ideas of how boxwoods can be used in your garden.
Those with a large garden may want to create a more defining space. To do this, you can use smaller boxwoods and keep them pruned to create the distinction between the garden and the rest of your space.
Boxwoods are easy to trim and you can keep them low to the ground so they don’t take away from other parts of your garden.
Larger boxwoods can have a dramatic effect and are perfect if you want to create a large presence in your entryway or around a gate. In this circumstance, it may be easier to plant the boxwood in a container if the entryway is surrounded by a concrete surface.
While smaller areas will feel overwhelming with too many boxwoods, if you have a large area, why not plant a grouping of boxwoods? To create a more dramatic effect, you can use boxwoods of different heights.
Spread the boxwoods out, either in your garden or in containers. Then, you can have them grow so they just touch each other but not too tight that it will cause growth problems.
Boxwoods provide foliage year-round so they make a great accent in window boxes. You can leave them alone or pair them with annual flowers for a pop of color.
Add even more of a stunning element by sculpting the boxwoods into different shapes. Keep them trimmed so they don’t impact the view from your window.
It’s time to take back the concrete jungle and add some color to a dull space. Parking lots are often bare but there is no need for them to be so.
Use boxwoods to add greenery all year long. You can edge the parking lot with boxwoods and their sharp shape will blend in with all the natural lines and angles.
What to do if Boxwoods grow too close to each other?
Boxwoods are lovely but they do require regular maintenance. While you can get away with not pruning them, they won’t keep the shape you want them to have.
It’s best to prune boxwoods once a year. Spring is preferable although you can prune at other times. Just don’t prune from the late fall to early spring as this can damage any new growth that happens in the spring.
Go back to your original plan of what you want your boxwoods to look like. Then, take a pair of clean gardening shears and cut the branches back to achieve your goal.
Boxwoods will grow back and you can cut up to a third of the plant during each pruning session. Just don’t cut back too close to the original trunk as this can lead to woody growth and not enough foliage.
How fast do boxwoods grow?
While boxwoods do grow each year, they are not as fast as other types of shrubs. You will want to keep this in mind when you plant them as they won’t fill in extra space as fast as you may like them to.
On average, most varieties of boxwoods will grow between 3 and 6 inches per year. However, dwarf varieties may only grow up to 1 inch per year.
How long does it take boxwoods to grow together?
If you are growing boxwoods to create a hedge or barrier, you will want them to be as close together as possible. This way, they will look like one long line of shrubbery.
How long it will take for them to grow together is entirely dependent on how far away you space them, to begin with.
For example, if you space your boxwoods out by 6 inches, then after just one year they will grow together. This is assuming you don’t prune them.
To take it further, if you space your boxwoods by 9 inches, then it will take two years for the two shrubs to connect. While you may want to see your boxwoods grow together as soon as possible, you don’t want to rush the process.
What is the height and width of a boxwood?
While different varieties of boxwoods will have different growing conditions, the more common varieties share similar growth patterns.
You can expect boxwoods to grow between 1 and 3 feet in height. Obviously, dwarf varieties will remain in the smaller size.
As for width, you can expect boxwoods to grow between 2 and 6 feet wide. Most people will prune their boxwoods to maintain a uniform shape, so the actual width doesn’t happen very often.
Can you grow boxwoods in a container?
Boxwoods are highly versatile shrubs and can be grown in both containers and in the ground. If you have a large patio area and want extra greenery, growing boxwoods in containers can add to the aesthetics.
To properly grow a boxwood in a container, start with one that is large enough. Boxwoods have large root systems so you don’t want to overcrowd them. You may also want to start with smaller varieties of boxwoods or else you will forever need to repot them in larger containers.
Drainage is key, so ensure your container has drainage holes. Then, add a layer of gravel to the bottom.
Use quality soil that is not compacted. Potting soil that has peat moss or coconut coir will help keep the dirt light and airy and promote drainage.
Be sure to monitor your containers for signs of drying out, especially thanks to the drainage holes. While boxwoods don’t need a lot of water, growing them in containers means the soil will dry out more quickly than if they were in the ground.
One thing to consider before planting your boxwoods in a container is how cold your winters get. The roots are more susceptible to freezing in a container, so you may want to cover the container with burlap or bring it inside to prevent damage.
As we mentioned earlier, planning your garden will mean a lot less work for you in the future. But sometimes you may want to change your garden or, if you have moved into a new place, make it more of your own.
It takes a little bit of work but you can transplant boxwoods if you need to. The key is to keep the root ball intact so as to not cause any trauma to it.
Start by digging a large circle around your boxwood. Err on the side of caution so that you can keep as many of the roots intact. If you dig too close to the stem, you will cut off too many roots.
Boxwoods have shallow roots, so this will help you in your endeavor. Try to use a sharp digging spade to make clean cuts along the outer roots.
If you have the time, you can actually prepare your boxwood for transfer up to a year in advance. To do so, make downward cuts through the root but about 18 inches from the middle. This way, the boxwood will strengthen its roots closer to the main part, which will make it easier to keep the root ball together.
Can you prune your boxwoods?
You can prune boxwoods once a year to keep their shape intact. Look for stray branches that grow faster than others and cut these back to keep a more uniform shape.
While you can cut up to a third of the shrub back each year, you want to ensure the plant is as healthy as possible so you don’t shock it.
Boxwoods don’t grow too fast but you can expect up to 6 inches of growth each year. By spacing your boxwoods out by 2 to 3 feet when planting, you will ensure healthy shrubs that will eventually grow together.