Boxwoods are attractive plants with dense foliage that can grow as large shrubs or small trees, perfect for most landscapes. These plants’ family includes about 70 species of evergreens, including dwarf varieties such as the Korean boxwood (that only reaches about two feet in height) and hybrids like the Japanese box. So, you’ll for sure find something that suits your taste!
These evergreens are perfect for adding texture and density to your garden: they will suit almost any corner of your yard. They work well in containers, as hedge plants, or even when planted directly in the soil.
To add elegance and a touch of formality to your garden, consider planting a few shrubs around your borders: they will add privacy to your property in a subtle and aesthetically pleasing way. But do boxwoods grow in shade? And what can you do to recreate optimal conditions in your garden for them to thrive? Keep reading to find out!
Do Boxwoods grow in Shade?
Boxwoods are not particularly challenging to grow but will require some attention from your side. For optimal growth, these plants need full sun. However, under the proper conditions, they can thrive even in partial light conditions. Protect them from harsh winds as they can damage your boxwoods’ foliage and branch structure.
You’ll get better results by planting your boxwood in full sun. Adequate lighting ensures healthy and dense growth, which is the main attraction of this plant. Despite their delicate looks, these trees and shrubs don’t mind direct sunlight: unlike other plants, they are not prone to sunburn. However, if you live in a hot and dry region, you should consider protecting your boxwood from the harsh afternoon sun rays.
So, in short, you might be able to grow boxwood in shady conditions. However, your success will depend on your USDA hardiness zones and the level of care you’ll provide to your plant. If you live in a hot area, partial lighting will be enough to guarantee photosynthesis. However, in milder regions, your plant might struggle to grow.
But keep reading: in the following section, you’ll find all you need to know about caring for boxwood in your garden.
Boxwood Care: Our Tips
Besides lighting, you’ll have to pay attention to other factors to have your boxwood thriving in your garden. For instance, the soil must be loamy and rich in nutrients. Indeed, these plants’ roots are shallow.
Make sure to maintain a layer of mulch around your plants to maintain moisture and improve water retention. Mulching should be about three inches thick for increased effectiveness. Doing so will also protect your plants from hot and cold conditions, which might cause stress to your boxwood. Mulch can help regulate the temperature in the soil and improve drainage.
Boxwoods are not too picky about soil: if necessary, they will tolerate various conditions. However, the ideal pH levels should be around 6.8 and 7.5. Make amendments to your substrate if needed.
These plants are versatile: they grow well anywhere in USDA hardiness zones between 5 and 9. As we mentioned earlier, consider moving your plants under partial light if you live in a region with hot summers. Also, increase watering to avoid drying your plant (and don’t forget about mulching!). Similarly, protect your plants in the winter (especially if you live in zone 5, where temperatures might get as low as to kill your plant). Indeed, boxwoods are susceptible to damage from dry winter winds and low temperatures. Use burlap wraps or windbreaks to protect foliage and reduce bronzing, a condition caused by cold weather that results in yellow to reddish-brown leaves.
To enhance your boxwood’s growth, you should fertilize your plant with an all-purpose product in the spring. Avoid overdoing it: too much of a good thing can be damaging!
Finally, another crucial element to keeping your boxwoods healthy is water: drainage should be good to prevent soggy soil that might cause root rot, attract diseases and fungal infections, and potentially kill your precious plants.
Do Boxwoods Grow in Shade?: The Bottom Line
So, in essence, yes: you can grow boxwoods in partial shade conditions. However, you’ll get different results depending on where you live. In hot regions, protection from the afternoon sun is ideal. But in other parts of the country, inadequate lighting might halt the plant’s growth.
Related Article: Boxwood Companion Plants