Growing Boxwood Shrubs

in the Northeast Florida Landscape


If you ever have the misfortune to hear me speak for any length of time you will hear this one theme over and
over again. There are different varieties of all types of plants, each variety and each selection within that
variety has its own unique growth habits, mature heights and widths, water needs, drought resistance, disease
resistance, insect tolerance, the list goes on. Allot more changes that you can not see accompany those slight
variations in leaf form and texture that you can pick up at a glace with your eye. To put it simply, with
each selection of any given plant there is allot more going on behind the scene than out front at center stage.

Boxwood shrubs are no exception to that general plant rule. Not only does leaf form and color vary from one
boxwood to the next, cold tolerance and growth habit and height vary as well. Here is a breakdown of different
types of Boxwood with a brief description of each. Hope it helps!

Boxwood / Buxus microphylla ( Little Leaf Boxwood )

Cold Hardiness: Little Leaf Boxwood or Boxwood Microphylla is a little grown boxwood variety that is cold
tolerant to 10 degrees F.

Growth Rate: Extremely slow growing species

Growth Height: Eventually reaching 3-4 ft in Height and Width

Notes: Rarely Grown due to its slow growth habit

Boxwood / Buxus microphylla japonica ( Japanese Boxwood )

Cold Hardiness: New growth of the foliage may turn bronzy in colder winters re-greening quickly in

Growth Rate: Much faster than that of the species

Growth Height: Japanese Boxwood eventually reaching 6 ft in Height and 3-4 ft wide

Notes: This Variety is perfect for Northeast Florida’s heat and humidity and thrives in our subtropical
climate.  The most commonly grown and sold Boxwood for our area.


Boxwood / Buxus sempervirens ( Common or American Boxwood )

Cold Hardiness: Extremely cold tolerant species growing in areas with cold winter temperatures, tolerates down
to -10 degrees F.

Growth Rate: Slow

Growth Height: Common, or American Boxwood shrubs grow slowly but will reach heights of 15-20 ft

Notes: Avoid planting Common or American boxwood in low areas or areas that remain moist with heavy rainfalls (
that is us here in Northeast Florida, so unless you have really sandy well drained soils these boxwood are not for


Boxwood / Buxus Suffruiticosa ( Edging or English Boxwood )

Cold Hardiness: Extremely cold tolerant species growing in areas with cold winter temperatures to -15 degrees

Growth Rate: Extremely slow growing

Growth Height: Edging or English boxwood grow to 3ft high and wide

Notes: Foliage on English boxwood stay dense and compact making a nice tight hedge for formal garden settings or
house foundations, garden fences etc.