While shade can pose special challenges when it comes to growing plants and shrubs, shaded areas in your landscape deserve some color and texture, just like the sunny spots do. Thankfully, there are lots of wonderful shrubs that do well in the shade, and even with careful planning, sun lovers can tolerate some shade too.
In this regard, can boxwoods grow in shade? Well, most boxwoods do well when grown in partial shade, with some varieties and cultivars thriving in full sun.
Can Boxwoods Grow In Shade?
The amount of shade a boxwood plant receives can affect its appearance and growth. For this reason, when selecting boxwoods for your landscape, it is imperative to consider available light so you pick a variety that will thrive in your region.
For homeowners and gardeners planning to grow boxwoods, this post will comprehensively cover diverse aspects regarding growing these evergreen shrubs.
Boxwood light tolerance
Enhancing landscapes as standalone shrubs, hedges, or creatively shaped features, boxwoods are one of the most popular shrubs in the US, and for a good reason. They can take both sun and shade to provide an enchanting backdrop for flowers in summer and an evergreen structure in the winter.
As for shade tolerance, boxwood plants generally grow best in partial shade, with a few varieties being able to tolerate heavy shade. The shade keeps them from becoming orange in winter. Precisely, boxwoods will thrive with a few hours of direct sunlight in the morning and evening or dappled light shining through overhanging foliage.
Note: While boxwoods can survive in full sun, some boxwoods tend to lose some of their green color in winter if they are growing in full sun. For this reason, gardeners in hot, southern climates will need to protect their boxwoods from the scorching afternoon sunlight; otherwise, they may suffer winter burns.
Boxwoods are low-maintenance plants loved by many because of their lasting dense canopy of evergreen foliage. They also have shallow root systems, which makes them a perfect option for growing in containers.
For gardeners planning to grow boxwoods, these evergreen shrubs thrive in well-draining, slightly acidic to neutral soil. As such, it is best to plant them in sandy or loamy soils, not anything compacted or waterlogged.
Whichever where you plant your boxwoods, you should keep the soil moist, so water as needed. Also, feed the shrubs regularly, especially in spring, to boost growth and keep them healthy. Generally, boxwoods are fast growers with an average growth rate of about 2 feet per season and the ability to spread to 15 feet or wider. It should be no surprise that they are commonly used for privacy screening and hedges.
Considering that boxwoods can grow very wide, thinning can go a long way towards keeping them healthy and in good shape. Thankfully, boxwoods can withstand extensive pruning. Thinning, the process of pruning boxwood branches, allows light and air into the inner foliage, preventing them from dying from perpetual darkness.
Pruning and shaping boxwoods are best done in early summer but can be done any time of the year. On the other hand, if you want to control growth, cut the shrub back hard in early winter.
Which boxwood is best for shade?
Most boxwoods grow best in partial shade. As such, it is safe to say that boxwoods are generally shade tolerant. However, this doesn’t mean all varieties will give the best results growing in shade.
If you are looking for boxwoods that will do well in part to heavy shade, here are varieties to consider:
Green mountain – tolerates heavy shade and is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9.
Dee Runk – thrives in shade and part sun. It is hardy for USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 8.
North Star Boxwood – a dwarf boxwood that grows well in shade in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9.
Elegantissima – thrives best with afternoon shade in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 8.
Can Boxwoods Grow In Shade: Conclusion
Boxwoods are popular shrubs partly because they are versatile in size, shape, and leaf qualities. For gardeners considering ornamenting their landscape with boxwoods, the good news is that these evergreen shrubs thrive in the shade, with many varieties requiring about three hours of sunlight. Hopefully, the information in this post will help grow boxwoods successfully.
Related Article: Boxwood Companion Plants