Wintergreen Boxwood

How to Grow Wintergreen Boxwood

Wintergreen boxwood is also known as little leaf boxwood and Buxus microphylla. It is an evergreen shrub that is most often used for hedges and borders. Boxwood is one of the world’s oldest garden shrubs. Most of the traditional English gardens contain boxwood. This particular cultivar is from Korea.

The wintergreen boxwood shrub is shaped round like a mound. It is a slow-grower, only gaining in the neighborhood of two inches a year. People usually let the shrub grow to be between two and four feet tall. It is suited to colder climates than most boxwoods but that doesn’t mean it is hardy enough to survive in locations with lots of snow and below zero temperatures.

This garden shrub has both male and female leaves. They are small, green leaves that are just over half an inch long. In the spring, wintergreen boxwood has yellowish-green or cream-colored flowers although they are not the reason gardeners grow this boxwood. In fact, sometimes people don’t even notice them. The flowers are scented. In the wintertime, the plant stays mostly green which is very different than other boxwoods which turn an unsightly shade of yellowish-brown.

This Korean boxwood is often grown in large gardens, where the top is pruned to lie flat and the rows of plants are used to make designs or even spell out words. The plant is not fussy about sunlight and can take partial or full sun. It likes soil to be well-drained and mixed with a lot of organic materials, such as compost and dried manure. Don’t use fresh manure and it can burn the plants. The shrub is adaptable to various soils.

Wintergreen boxwood is best grown in USDA hardiness zones 5-9. If you don’t make it into a hedge, the plant is still very appealing. But most people do use this boxwood as a hedge or border along lawns, driveways and gardens. Because this boxwood is a medium green, it makes a nice backdrop to more colorful flowers.

If you are going to use wintergreen boxwood as a hedge, you will need to prune it at least once a year. It is quite easy to prune. Pruning is best done in August and needs to be completed before the first frost. If you choose not to prune the shrub, it can grow to be as much as five feet wide. You can prune the hedge to be round or square.

You should fertilize wintergreen boxwood every year in the spring. It does well with organic matter but you can use a synthetic fertilizer if you prefer. Make sure to mulch the bushes. This will keep the soil moist and cut down on weeds. In the first year of growth, it is necessary to water the plant once a week, especially if there is not much in the way of natural rainfall.


If you plant wintergreen boxwood where there is wet, poorly drained soil, the shrub will be susceptible to root rot. Other possible diseases include leaf blight, leaf spot, and canker. If you are affected by these diseases, make sure to prune off any diseased or dead limbs and dispose of them outside of your yard.

This plant is semi-resistant to some common boxwood pests, such as psyllids, boxwood mite and boxwood leaf miner. It can also be bothered by mealybugs and webworms. These pests can be deterred using organic insect control methods.

If you have always wanted a nice hedge as a border for privacy, the wintergreen boxwood is an excellent choice. Chances are people will compliment you on that nice hedge growing in your yard.