Boxwoods are seen everywhere, and people usually either love or hate them. The hate comes from the pruning and maintenance that needs to be performed to keep them looking presentable. The ‘Wintergreen’ Boxwood, botanically known as Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Wintergreen’, solves that dilemma as this cultivar has a slower growth rate.
The small, evergreen foliage is lustrous and attractive and will hold its own against the cold temperatures without suffering too many ill effects. Wintergreen boxwood should be placed so that it will not be affected by direct windburn, though as some leaf bronzing will occur.
In the landscape, the ‘Wintergreen’ is predominantly used as a hedge. The ability to be trimmed and pruned make this a fantastic selection for this use, and it shines above many of the other boxwood cultivars when combined with its trait of cold-weather hardiness.
The spring sees the Wintergreen boxwood produce insignificant yellow flowers that are not especially pleasing to the eye. What you will notice, however, is the fragrance these tiny flowers produce.
Buxus microphylla var. koreana.
|Common Name||Wintergreen Boxwood|
|Plant Type||Broadleaf evergreen|
|Mature Size||2 to 4 feet tall 2 to 3 feet wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full Sun|
|Soil Type||Moist, sandy loams with good drainage|
|Flower Color||Greenish Yellow|
|Hardiness Zones||4-9, USA|
|Native Area||China, Japan and Korea|
Wintergreen Boxwood Care
‘Wintergreen’ Boxwood is excellent for accents that help fill in around other plants in a landscape design. They create formality when pruned in a formal shape or as a hedge, but, pleasingly, with their slower growth rate, their pruning requirements are not as significant as some boxwood varieties.
‘Wintergreen’ Boxwood grows well in a wide range of light conditions, from full sun to partial shade.
'Wintergreen' boxwoods that have been recently planted need to receive one inch of water per week until the plant is established. After the shrub is established, minimal supplemental watering is needed.
Mulching is vital for moisture retention to guard the very shallow root system against drying out. The ‘Wintergreen’ is somewhat drought-tolerant but not for extended periods.
Temperature and Humidity
The ‘Wintergreen’ boxwood is very winter hardy, second only to 'Winter Gem' in its ability to stand up to the cold. The perfect range for this shrub is anywhere in USDA Zones 4-9. Be sure to plant the shrub in an area well protected from cold winter winds if not used as a hedge.
Every spring ‘Wintergreen’ boxwood will benefit from yearly feeding. A good fertilizer for any boxwood is a 10-6-4 mix, but only be applied if the boxwood beds have been mulched. Applying fertilizer directly to the soil can harm a boxwood’s shallow roots.
Is Wintergreen Boxwood Toxic?
Wintergreen boxwood is toxic to dogs, cats, horses, and humans alike. Boxwood’s alkaline compounds cause acute toxicity known as boxwood poisoning. The compounds are so potent that they thwart even the hungriest of deer.
Consequently, this shrub isn't going to be the best shrub for gardens with curious dogs or kids.
Like any boxwood, ‘Wintergreen’ will get unruly and spread to a height of three to five feet naturally. Some homeowners find this appealing, but most gardeners desire formal trimmed boxwood hedges. Fortunately, it takes much longer due to 'Wintergreen's' slow growth.
Pruning boxwoods set in cold climates should happen in the spring, never fall or winter. This will help achieve dense, compact growth.
During snowstorms, be sure to remove snow off shrubs as the branches may break and need to be trimmed.
Be sure to clean tools properly with bleach or alcohol before and after each pruning to avoid contracting and spreading the dreaded boxwood blight. The disease is a serious fungal condition that was introduced in the United States in 2011. It is now a threat to boxwood populations across much of the country.