Boxwoods and Other Compact Evergreens

Hello, green thumbs!

Bob Wasson here from Wasson Nursery, ready to talk about one of the garden's true stalwarts: the evergreen. Specifically, let’s chat about those wonderful, compact varieties like Boxwoods that keep our landscapes looking lively all year round. Whether you're framing a pathway or entrance, adding structure to your flower beds, creating a border or hedge, these versatile shrubs are up to the task. Let’s dig into how you can make the most of these garden gems.

Why Choose Evergreens?

Evergreens are the backbone of a well-structured landscape. The obvious reason to use evergreens is that they provide continuous color and texture throughout the year, even in the dead of winter when other plants have faded away. Boxwoods, one of the most popular compact evergreens, are remarkably adaptable and require minimal maintenance once established, making them a fantastic choice for both new and experienced gardeners.

Spotlight on Boxwoods

Boxwoods are the quintessential compact evergreen, beloved for their dense, lush foliage and ability to withstand heavy pruning, and their hardiness and longevity. Their uniformity in growth habit also make them ideal for hedges, borders, or even as stand-alone features in topiary forms.

Popular Varieties:

  • ‘Green Gem’: Renowned for its compact, rounded shape and exceptional hardiness. An excellent choice for adding structure and year-round greenery to any garden space.
  • ‘Green Velvet’: Offers a beautiful spherical shape with larger, vibrant green leaves, perfect for creating uniformity in design. Slightly larger over time vs. the Green Gem.
  • ‘Green Mountain’: Prized for its naturally pyramidal form and vibrant green foliage, it a perfect choice for creating elegant specimen plants or topiary features in your landscape. Plant them closer together to form a taller hedge.

Planting and Care:

  1. Location: Boxwoods thrive in well-drained soil with access to full sun to partial shade. Avoid areas where water pools after a rain, as like most evergreens, boxwoods don’t do well with “wet feet.” Also, as far as sun vs. shade, a boxwood can handle either. However; a boxwood that gets more sun throughout the day will have stronger, more dense branching and better maintain a well-rounded shape.
  2. Planting: When planting boxwoods, ensure that the hole is twice as wide as the root ball but no deeper. Preparing the hole too deep means that the root ball can settle and cause several harmful effects such as: poor growth, disease, and even death.
  3. Watering: Regular watering is crucial during the first year to establish a strong root system. After that, boxwoods are relatively drought-tolerant but will appreciate occasional deep watering during dry spells.
  4. Pruning: Prune in early summer to shape your boxwoods or maintain size. You want to wait until the soft new growth has ‘hardened off.’ This will make for a better appearance once you are done pruning. The new growth is lighter green, flimsy and flexible. Once hardened off, the boxwood has all dark green foliage. Our landscape crews usually start pruning and trimming boxwoods and other evergreens around the beginning of July.

Other Notable Compact Evergreens

While boxwoods are a standout, there are several other compact evergreens that can bring variety and contrast to your garden:

  • Dwarf Alberta Spruce: Perfect for adding vertical accents with its conical shape and dense, needle-like foliage. Look for these to get about 6 ft. tall in your landscape. For optimal health, spray with a miticide in late spring and early summer to treat for Spider Mites.
  • Japanese Garden Juniper: If you’re after a very low growing evergreen, check out the ‘Procumbens’ Juniper. Ideal for ground cover, it creates a lush carpet of soft, blue green needles.
  • Hetz Midget Arborvitae: A fantastic choice for small spaces, this globe-shaped evergreen does not grow too large but fills out beautifully to about 2ft tall and wide.

Design Tips

  • Layering: Combine different types of compact evergreens to create depth and interest. Use taller varieties like the Dwarf Alberta Spruce in the back and lower-growing types like the Japanese Garden Juniper in the front.
  • Texture Contrast: Mix your evergreens with deciduous shrubs or flowering plants to contrast their textures and colors. This can create a dynamic and visually appealing garden all year round.
  • Symmetry: Use compact evergreens to create symmetrical designs in formal garden settings. Boxwoods are particularly effective for creating geometric shapes and defined borders.

 Compact evergreens like boxwoods are an excellent investment for any homeowner looking to add year-round interest and structure to their landscape. With a little planning and care, these hardy plants can transform your outdoor space into a vibrant landscape at all times of the year. Stop by Wasson Nursery, and let’s find the perfect plants for your next landscaping project. We’re here to help you grow a garden you’ll love through all the seasons.

Happy gardening, everyone!

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published