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Woody > Buxus > Buxus sempervirens > Buxus sempervirens

Buxus sempervirens

English Boxwood

Origin:  Found throughout Europe but rare in England and limited there to only a few locations in the south and southwest. It has been a popular garden plant in Europe since Roman times and as a result has become naturalised throughout the region.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


An excellent plant where it can be grown because of hardiness issues. I have had success growing it in the walled patio garden at the Cuddy Estate, but it may never achieve the size that I have seen it growing in England. It has a pleasant scent released from the foliage in the summer when clipped .

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Shrub (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
5 - 8
Canadian Hardiness Zone
4a - 7a
RHS Hardiness Zone
H5 - H7
Temperature (°C)
-29 (-12)
Temperature (°F)
-20 - 10
2 - 5 m
2 - 5 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
Dense, multi-branched evergreen that holds its foliage to the ground, developing a loose, rounded mound.
Hedging, topiary and informal plantings 'en masse', it responds well to clipping. The wood which is very hard is often sued in fine carpentry and carving and turning.
Quite adaptable to most soils but prefers good garden soils, prune in summer, normally mid-June once foliage has hardened.
Rounded evergreen shrub.
ID Characteristic
New foliage is particularly waxy, glossy and light green, more so than B. microphylla.
Spider mites may be an occasional problem in hot summers. Recently Boxwood blight has become a major problem both in Europe and most of North America. The fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola causes leaf spots, defoliation and even extensive die-back. The disease can be spread by water splash, tools and footwear and can survive for up to six years in the soil. It thrives in moist, humid environments but is killed when exposed to temperatures in excess of 33 �C for at least a week. The disease also affects Pachysandra, Sarocococca and Buxus balearica, sinica, macowanii, microphylla, bodinieri, glomerata, harlandii, sempervirens and riparia.
Open woodlands, rocky hillsides, scrub.
Bark/Stem Description
Pale grey to light beige, finely textured. Wood is used in fine detail carving.
Leaf Description
Opposite, simple, evergreen, ovate to oblong 1-2.5 cm long.
Flower Description
Creamy yellow, in clusters, fragrant.
Fruit Description
5 mm long, 3-horned dehiscent capsule, each valve contains two seeds.
Colour Description
Lustrous dark green above, light green below in all seasons.
Texture Description
Notable Specimens
Mac Cuddy Botanic Garden, Strathroy, Ontario, Canada. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England. Chelsea Physic Garden, London, United Kingdom. Godolphin House, Helston, United Kingdom.
Propagate in mid-summer by taking semi-ripe cuttings from the current season's growth. Collect in the early morning using a sharp knife to cut pieces 10 - 15 cm in length. Remove all leaves from the lower third and pinch out any soft terminal growth. Dip into a number 2 rooting hormone, insert into trays or pots of cutting compost (50/50 mix of compost and sharp sand or perlite) and water well. Place in a propagator with bottom heat set at 15�C with or without mist; rooting should occur in 4 - 6 weeks.