Animal Topiary Ideas



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Artificial Topiary


Artificial Topiary Trees, Shrubs and Plants

See us for the biggest selection of high-quality Artificial Topiary Trees. Forget the hassles of tree care with our eye-catching trees, shrubs, potted plants, and hedges.

We have wall hangings and potted plants too. Our lifelike topiaries are perfect for the busy homeowner or renter who works and does not have time to spend time working with live plants.

Imperfections are added to make our plants look even more authentic. Add to their authenticity by planting them in soil or rocks or top them with moss or other covering that appears to be live and growing.

Not everyone has a green thumb. Paying a professional for live tree care can get expensive in the commercial or home environment. Take a look at our plants and planters for the landscape or for your common areas outside. Try our potted products on a deck or patio.

Indoor Accessories

You may even choose a palm tree as part of your décor inside. Imagine, not watering or feeding or worrying about pests. And the good news is that nobody can tell its an artificial tree. Only close inspection by a professional will reveal that trees are not real.


New Developments in Faux Topiary

Gone are the days of the phony look you once got with a faux topiary. This is far more than another plastic plant. Today’s technology allows the creation of authentic appearing greenery for use both indoors and out. Experts create a real piece of topiary, without the upkeep of regular pruning and other care necessary for live plants.

Use them in any room from the kitchen to the den, matching any furniture type. Choose the right location to compliment your décor. No waiting for growth, our topiary plants are fully formed and low-maintenance.

Add shape and form to outdoor areas, increasing curb appeal. No pruning needed. Your topiary stays in perfect condition.

Caring for topiaries is simple too. The only thing you need to do inside is to remove the dust that accumulates when you do your regular dusting. If you’ve missed it a few times and dust is thick, take the tree outside and spray it with the water hose.

Brighten up any room with a few of our pieces. Select a wall hanging to go over the fireplace, potted plants for a table, or standing specimens for the foyer. Take a look outside to see what areas in your landscape would benefit from a groomed topiary specimen.

Use a faux topiary in combination with live specimens outside. Nobody will ever know from the appearance, but be prepared for questions about your pruning skills and how you manage the perfect upkeep.

How to Locate the Best Faux Topiaries

Don’t expect all false plants to live up to our excellent standards. When you’re ready to add fabricated plants to your home, outdoors, or office, order from us. You’ll see imitative plants in big box stores and even home improvement outlets, but they won’t be the same high quality we offer. The best faux topiaries are hard to find that look real. We offer preserved topiaries that are life like, but the are preserved live topiaries. So, thet appear faux, but they are not. However, you get the same value as faux topiary as you have no maintenace to keep and own a topiary.

An Argument for Putting Artificial Topiary in Your Environments

While we love to talk about the environmental advantages of having even a single piece of topiary in an environment, the fact is not everyone has a green thumb and not many have the desire or time to care for a plant. But we also believe that even in those instances, the addition of topiary can add to the comfort and atmosphere of any room. It’s why many businesses who do not necessarily have the resources to manage plant life will sprinkle their workspaces with artificial topiary.


What is Behind Artificial Topiary Plants?


The days of that phony look you once got with faux topiary have gone the way of the VCR and disco. Technology can create quite a realistic piece of topiary, the truth visible only to an up-close expectation, or by the eye of an expert or hobbyist that can see the difference right off. 

With lifelike topiary, you can brighten up any room simply by putting the artificial topiary plant in the right place. There’s no waiting for the plant to grow. As they’re practically maintenance free, you can continue managing a busy lifestyle without ever coming home and finding it dead.

Are You Ready for an Artificial Topiary?


There are a few things you can do to make your faux topiary look even more real.

  • Shapes, size, and placement go a long way. Tall plants, sculpted shapes, esoteric arrangements, setting on the right tabletop or mantle. Remember, these plants will not need the care of their real counterparts so you can go long in choosing the type of fake topiary. You can even go with artificial outdoor topiary.
  • Dust is the bane of any environment, but it can make faux topiary look unreal. If you dust regularly, it will maintain its look. If you let layers of grime grow, you’ll have to wash the topiary down. Tip the plant to the side and let the water wash away. Dry fake topiary out of sunlight. Otherwise, you’ll get spots.
  • The more real you want faux topiary to look, the more you should look for imperfections. Plants are beautiful, but they grow in erratic directions. Buy fakes that mimic nature. You can even cut and bend to create lifelike arrangements.
  • Settings go along to create the appearance you want. Consider keeping your lifelike topiary in dirt, rocks or fake moss. It will add to the organic look you want.
  • Most artifical topiary trees look real when you opt for the outdoor foliage. The outdoor foliage carries the illusion to look real as the materials is higher quality than just the plastic faux tree.

One last aspect you need to consider when getting a fake topiary is where you buy them. While you can certainly grab one at the lower superstore or home improvement spot, your best bet is an outlet for quality topiary trees, plants, and products. With a background in topiary, they will have a variety of ideas for how to select fake plants that will enhance all your environment.

Visit us at Topiary Trees!


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Boxwood Topiary Foliage Survival Care for the 52 Contiguous States in the USA


Using the Boxwood Guide will help you to look at a boxwood cultivar for careful consideration to be successful with a topiary garden.

Below are the milestones will look at for gardeners to grow boxwood foliages.

Growth Rate

This is an average growth rate and could vary depending on the soil, weather, location, and individual gardening practices of your particular site. This tool allows the gardener the ability to compare cultivars on a similar scale. 

Sun Exposure

Each cultivar is listed with recommendations regarding sun exposure. 

  • Sun (Location is sunny from late morning to late afternoon)
  • Part Sun (Location is shaded primarily from late morning to late afternoon)
  • Shade (Location has no direct sun)

Attributes

This section describes the cultivar including pertinent information on foliage, growth, and shape. 

Care

Here we make recommendations on how to care for each cultivar including pertinent information on pests or diseases. The pruning comments include which boxwood can be sheared or thinned and which should not, as well as which cultivars need annual pruning. Remember that care methods continually change with the site, weather, and individual gardening practices. 

Uses

This section makes suggestions for possible uses of the boxwood cultivar in the landscape. The gardener must consider characteristics before selecting the appropriate boxwood for his or her needs. Remember, each location and use is unique. Consult other gardeners to see what cultivars are most successful in your area. 

Uses listed include; 

  • A Specimen is a plant grown individually in a lawn or garden for ornamental effect rather than being used as part of a group or mass. Specimens serve as focal points in the landscape. An example of a specimen plant is flowering in a prominent spot on a lawn. 
  • Specimen Tall (mature size of 6’ tall or greater)
  • Specimen Medium (mature size of 3-5’ tall and wide)
  • Specimen Small (mature size of 1-3’ tall and wide)
  • An Allee is a tall, straight line of shrubs or trees running along both sides of a walk or road. The plants are typical of the same species or cultivar. An allee (Often called an “avenue”) is used to announce the arrival of a garden or other architectural feature.
  • A Hedge is a wall of plants. Hedges vary in height depending on the use. They can be planted to provided privacy, be decorative, or delineate a space. Take proper care to choose the correct plant based on the desired look of the hedge. Hedges can range from tightly clipped to an unclipped, more natural look. If a highly-manicured look is desired, be sure to select a plant that is responsive to pruning. 
  • Tall Hedge (mature size of 8-12’ tall)
  • Medium Hedge (mature size of 4-8’ tall)
  • Low Hedge (mature size of 4’ or less) 
  • Foundation Plants are typically used around the base of a home. Their functions include: transitioning from lawn to the home, softening hard lines around corners of the home, and beautifying an entrance. 
  • Edging (maximum mature size of 2’ high or wide) plants are used to create a low, straight, or ribbon-like border along a walkway, lawn, or garden. When creating an edge. Take care to select plants with smaller ultimate sizes. Edging in typically clipped very tightly, so select a plant that responds well to shearing. When shearing, the plant should be shaped slightly broader at the base than at the top to allow light to contact the plant selection focus on varieties that have smaller ultimate sizes similar to the desired final size. Note comments on thinning each cultivar. 
  • A Parterre is a formal garden with tightly clipped hedges. Plants are typically laid out in a very symmetrical pattern. The interior of the parterre can be planted with a variety of plants including evergreen shrubs, annuals, herbs, or perennials. A knot garden is similar to a parterre garden but has a distinctive woven pattern. Plant selection in a parterre or knot garden should focus on varieties that have smaller mature sizes as well as plants that respond well to shearing. Note comments on thinning each cultivar. 

Type of Boxwood foliages around the USA by Cultivar Name

 

1) ‘Morris Midget’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla var. Japonica ‘Morris Midget’

Zone: 6-8  USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Very slow, 0.5 to 1 inch per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Morris Midget’ is a small dwarf cultivar. It is very compact. In full winter sun, some bronzing will occur but new spring growth will cover the bronzing. The growth rate of this cultivar makes it an appealing plant where space is limited. It responds well to pruning or can be left unpruned. It is slightly smaller than ‘Morris Dwarf’. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Morris Midget’ requires little to no pruning when used as a specimen. It responds well to shearing when used in edging, parterres, and knot gardens. Thinning is recommended in late winter or early spring which will help reduce the chance of disease. Remove any sports with hand pruners by cutting sporting stems back into the interior of the plant. 

Morris Midget’ is moderately resistant to boxwood leafminer. It has few pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: This is the smallest boxwood we grow. Be patient with it as it is a very slow grower. We have seen it grown in full sun; however, for best results, plant this boxwood in areas with afternoon shade. 

Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, edging, parterre, or knot garden. 

 Substitutes: ‘Morris Dwarf’

Grace Hedrick Phillips’

‘Green Pillow’

Size at 15 years: 1’ Tall x 1’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 1.25’ Tall x 2’ Wide

 

2) ‘Morris Dwarf’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla var. Japonica ‘Morris Dwarf’

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Very slow, 0.5 to 1 inch per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Morris Dwarf’ is an excellent performing cultivar that is very compact. In winter sun, it will bronze; however, in spring new growth will quickly cover the bronzing. It is outstanding for edging formal beds or in parterre gardens and is very low maintenance. It responds well either pruned or left unpruned and is slightly larger than ‘Morris Midget’. Occasional sports occur on this plant and they should be removed. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Morris Dwarf’ requires little to no pruning when used as a specimen. It responds well to shearing when used in edging, parterres, and knot gardens. Thinning is recommended in late winter or early spring which will help reduce the chance of disease. Remove undesirable sports with hand pruners by cutting sporting stems back into the interior of the plant. 

Morris Dwarf’ is resistant to boxwood leaf miners. It has few pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comment:  A very good dwarf boxwood. We have seen it in numerous full sun landscapes but, for optimal beauty, plant it so it receives some afternoon shade. Remember it is a dwarf boxwood and you must be patient with its growth. 

Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, edging, parterre, or knot garden. 

 Substitutes: ‘Morris Midget’

‘Grace Hendrick Phillips’

‘Green Pillow’

Size at 15 years: 1’ Tall x 1.25’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 1.5’ Tall x 2.25’ Wide

 

3) ‘Grace Hendrick Phillips’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla ‘Grace Hendrick Phillips’

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Slow, 0.75 to 1.5 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Part sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Grace Hendrick Phillips’ mounds and spreads very much like some of the dwarf Japanese hollies. The growth rate is slow enough that it does not outgrow the landscape but fast enough to be used as a primary plant in many landscapes. Be patient in the spring, as new growth appears slightly later than most boxwood. New foliage is light green and matures to a darker green. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Grace H. Phillips’ requires little to no pruning, except when used in edging, parterre, or knot garden. If pruning is necessary, use hand pruners or shears. Occasional sports occur on this plant and they should be removed. Some thinning in late winter or early spring will help reduce disease incidence. 

Grace H. Phillips’ is resistant to boxwood leafminer. It has few pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: This boxwood is very highly rated in the National Boxwood Trials. Its spreading habit is very appealing. We have even seen mature plants cascading in a rock garden. 

Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, edging, parterre, or knot garden. 

Substitutes: ‘Morris Dwarf

Green Pillow’

Size at 15 years: 1’ Tall x 2’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 1.5’ Tall x 3’ Wide

4)  ‘Green Pillow’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla ‘Green Pillow’

Zone: 5-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Slow, 0.75 to 1 inch per year

Sun Exposure: Part sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Green Pillow’ is known for its naturally dense, compact, oval habit. Its foliage is lime-green and its shape is larger but very much resembles ‘Morris Dwarf’ and ‘Morris Midget’. In winter sun this cultivar will bronze; however bronzing of foliage burn will quickly disappear when new growth appears in spring. It is very common to sports on this plant and they should be removed. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Green Pillow’ needs very little to no pruning in most applications. It will need pruning if it is used as an edge, parterre, or knot garden. Use hand pruners or shears. Remove sports with hand pruners by cutting sporting stems back into the interior of the plant. Thinning in late winter or early spring will help reduce the possibility of disease. 

Green Pillow’ is resistant to boxwood leafminer and when properly planted and cared for, this plant has few disease or pest issues. 

Comments: Plant this cultivar in shade and watch it thrive. It looks like a pincushion. 

Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, edging, parterre, or knot garden. 

 Substitutes: ‘Morris Midget’ 

Morris Dwarf’

Grace Hendrick Phillips’

Size at 15 years: 1.25’ tall x 1.5’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 2’ Tall x 3’ Wide

5) ‘Insularis Nana’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Nana’

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Slow to medium, 1 to 3 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Part sun or shade. 

Attributes: Insularis ‘Nana’ is a low spreading cultivar with lime green new growth in the spring. New growth will slowly fade to light green. Although considered a smaller cultivar, it is relatively fast-growing. It is very similar to the cultivars ‘Franklin’s Gem’ and ‘Tide Hill’. Deer resistant. 

Care: Prune Insularis ‘Nana’ lightly in late winter or early spring to make a stronger and denser plant. This cultivar can be pruned with shears or hand pruners. Thinning is not typically necessary but, if this cultivar is sheared heavily, some thinning in late winter to early spring will allow air and sunlight to penetrate the plant. 

Insularis ‘Nana’ is resistant to boxwood leaf miners. It has few pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: It is becoming increasingly popular due to its resistance to disease and pests. An annual light pruning will help develop rigidity in this boxwood and lessen the chance of the plant opening up in the center as it matures. It is very popular in the Northeast. 

Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, edging, parterre, or knot garden. 

Substitutes: ‘Franklin’s Gem

‘Vardar Valley’

  “Tide Hill’

Size at 15 years: 1.5’ Tall x 3’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 2’ Tall x 4’ Wide

 

6) ‘Franklin’s Gem’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla sinica ‘Franklin’s Gem’

Zone: 4-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Slow to medium, 1 to 3 inches per year 

Sun Exposure: Part sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Franklin’s Gem’ is a low spreading cultivar with lime green new growth in the spring. New growth will slowly transition to an olive-green. It is very similar to the cultivars Insularis ‘Nana’ and ‘Tide Hill’. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Franklin’s Gem’ should be pruned lightly in late winter to early spring to make a stronger and denser plant. This cultivar can be pruned with shears or hand pruners. Thinning is not typically necessary but, if this cultivar is sheared heavily, some thinning in early spring would be beneficial. 

Franklin’s Gem’ is resistant to boxwood leafminer and had few pest or disease issues when planted and cared for property. 

Comments: A light annual pruning will lessen the tendency of the plant to open up in the center over time. Popular, especially in the Northeast. 

Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, edging, parterre, or knot garden. 

Substitutes: insularis ‘Nana’

  ‘Justin Brouwers’

‘Vardar Valley”

Size at 15 years: 1.5’ Tall x 3’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 2’ Tall x 4’ Wide

 

7) ‘Justin Brouwers’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus sinica var.insularis ‘Justin Brouwers’

Zone: 6-8  USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Slow to medium, 1 to 3 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Justin Brouwers’ is a compact, mounding to rounded cultivar. It is extremely versatile. It can be sued in applications where it is pruned or in gardens with minimal to no pruning. Foliage is a spectacular deep-green color even in winter. It holds its foliage deep into the interior of the plant. It is sensitive to poorly drained soils. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Justin Brouwers”, as a juvenile plant and up to about 10-12 inches, has a slightly upright habit. Annual pruning to round the plant should occur in late winter or early spring. Thereafter it can be left unpruned and will develop into a spectacular plant that is somewhat rounded. An occasional light pruning in late winter or early spring may be preferred. 

When used as edging, parterres, or knot gardens, pruning and shearing will be necessary. Use hand pruners or shears. Thinning in late winter or early spring is recommended to lessen disease occurrence. 

‘Justin Brouwers” is susceptible to boxwood leafminer. Special care should be taken when planting to ensure the plant is properly elevated and all drainage issues are addressed. Otherwise, it has a few other pests or disease issues. 

Comments: It is one of the best small to medium-sized boxwood on the market. If planted correctly this plant is stunning; however, we have seen numerous cases where it is planted in areas of poor drainage and the plant struggles. Use as a replacement or substitute for English boxwood. There is some discussion that ‘Justin Brouwers’ may be a sempervirens cultivar but testing has yet to prove this. 

 Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, edging, parterre, or knot garden, containers. 

Substitutes: ‘Jensen’, ‘Gelncoe’ (Chicagoland Green®) 

‘Green Mound’, ‘Suffruticosa’ (English), ‘Green Velvet’ 

‘Green Gem’

Size at 15 years: 2’ Tall x 2.25’ Wide

Size at 25 Years: 3’ Tall x 3.5 Wide

8) ‘Jensen’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus sempervirens ‘Jensen’

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Slow to medium, 1 to 12 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Part sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Jensen’ is a rounded cultivar that closely resembles Buxus sempervirens ‘SUffruticosa’ (English). It has bluish-green new growth in the spring that turns to a deep green by mid to late summer. Foliage is slightly larger than English. It thrives in dappled shade and soils with good drainage. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Jensen’ flourishes when left unpruned. It should never be sheared. Shearing will increase canopy density and increase the chance of disease problems. Avoid uses where heavy pruning is necessary. Thinning is recommended either in winter will help sunlight and air to penetrate the canopy of the plant and reduce disease incidence. Use hand pruners. 

Jensen’ is moderately resistant to boxwood leafminer. To lessen disease issues, proper planting techniques must be used as well as the proper site is chosen. Monitor soil pH and maintain in 6.5-7.2 range. 

Comments: ‘Jensen’ is showing promise to be more resistant to some of the diseases that are affecting English boxwood. It shows promise if planted on a new site where there have not been diseases boxwood, there is good drainage, and there is full shade or afternoon shade. However, when planted in full sun, in an area with poor drainage, or as a replacement of diseased boxwood, it will struggle. 

Uses: Medium specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, foliage for holiday decorations. 

Substitutes: ‘Justin Brouwers’

‘Suffruiticosa’ (English)

‘Green Velvet’

‘Glencoe’ (Chicagoland Green®)

  ‘Green Mound’

‘Green Beauty’

‘Green Gem’

Size at 15 years: 2.25’ Tall x 2’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 3.5’ Tall x 3’ Wide

9) ‘Suffruticosa’  Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ (English)

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Slow to medium, 1 to 2 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Part or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Suffruticosa’ (English) is known for its soft, billowy outline and lush foliage. English boxwood is often referred to as “dwarf boxwood” due to its slow growth rate. However, in an ideal environment, the plant will continue to grow for 75 to 150 years and develop into a very large shrub. As a result, take care to avoid using this plant where it will ultimately be too large for the desired use. English boxwood has a distinct odor. Avoid poorly drained soils. Deer resistant. 

Care: English boxwood thrives when left unpruned. Never shear. Shearing will increase the foliage density and thus the chance of disease problems. Avoid using this boxwood where heavy pruning is necessary. English thrives best when planted in shade to partial shade and left unpruned. Thinning is recommended either in winter for holiday decorations or in late winter to early spring before new growth appears. This will help sunlight and air to penetrate the canopy of the plant and reduce disease incidence. Use hand pruners. 

English boxwood shows good resistance to boxwood leafminer. Take special attention when planting and caring for English boxwood as it is prone to disease issues. Do not replant it in areas where other English boxwoods have died due to disease problems. Avoid areas with poor drainage and areas with direct afternoon sun. Monitor soil pH and maintain in 6.5-7.2 range. 

Comments: English boxwood in its optimal environment is untouched in its beauty. It has probably been the most extensively planted boxwood in the United States over the past 100 years. However, many people have planted it on undesirable sites and the plant has not done well. If planting English boxwood, take special considerations. If conditions are questionable, consider a different cultivar. 

Uses: Medium specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, foliage for holiday decorations

 Substitutes: ‘Jensen’, ‘Glencoe’ (Chicagoland Green®)

‘Justin Brouwer, ‘Green Beauty’

‘Green velvet’, ‘Green Mound’, ‘Green Gem’

Size at 15 years: 2.25’ Tall x 2’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 3.5’ Tall x 3’ Wide

10) ‘Elegantissima’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus sempervirens ‘Elegantissima’ 

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Slow to medium, 1 to 3 inches per year 

Sun Exposure: Part sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Elegantissima’ will add color to the landscape with its green leaves accented with creamy-white edges. Its creamy variegation differs from many of the white margined cultivars. Use the foliage in holiday decorations. Avoid poorly drained soils. Deer resistant. 

Care: With minimal to no pruning ‘Elegantissima’ will develop into a slightly pyramidal plant. If a more rounded shape is desired, prune lightly in late winter or early spring. Thinning is recommended either in winter for holiday decorations or in late winter to early spring before new growth appears. This will help sunlight and air penetrate the canopy of the plant which reduces disease incidence. 

Elegantissima’ is moderately resistant to boxwood leafminer. If planted properly, it has few other pests or disease issues. Avoid areas with harsh winter winds. 

Comments: The color of the foliage on this cultivar makes it a winner. We have seen it planted in full sun but it prefers shade especially in the afternoon. It can brighten shaded areas. It is a sempervirens cultivar, so at the time of planting, it is important to properly elevate the plant and address all drainage issues. 

 Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, foliage for holiday decorations, containers. 

Substitutes: ‘Golden Dream’

Size at 15 years: 2.5’ Tall x 2’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 4’ Tall x 3’ WIde

 

11) ‘Golden Dream’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla ‘Golden Dream’ PP16052

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Slow to medium, 1 to 3 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Golden Dream’ has a beautiful rounded and compact habit. The foliage is edged with heavy golden variegation. From a distance, the variegation makes the entire plant nearly a lime-green color. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Golden Dream’ can be pruned lightly in late winter or early spring to maintain the desired habit. Use hand pruners and shears. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant, ‘Golden Dream’ is resistant to boxwood leafminer and has few pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: This promising boxwood is relatively new to us and the market.  Remember it offers more of a lime coloring than the traditional white or creamy variegation. We like the fact that it is a microphylla and hope that it will be more tolerant of sunny locations as well as marginal soil conditions. In late fall and winter, we have seen this cultivar take on a natural orange tint as orange-red spots appear in the variegation. It seems to be a characteristic of the plant, so don’t be alarmed. 

 Uses: Medium specimen, medium hedge, foundation plant, foliage for holiday decorations. 

Substitutes: ‘Elegantissima’

Size at 15 years: 2.5’ Tall x 2.5’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 3.5’ Tall x 3.5’ Wide

 

12) ‘Green Velvet’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus x ‘Green Velvet’

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Medium, 2 to 3 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Green Velvet’ has a somewhat rounded habit that is slightly wider than tall. The foliage on this cultivar is a beautiful medium to light-green in spring and slowly transitions to dark green. It is a cold-hardy hybrid boxwood that was developed in Canada. It is a selected seeding cross between Buxus sempervirens and Buxus sinica var. insularis and part of the “Green Series” of boxwood which include “Green Mountain’, ‘Green Mound’, ‘Green Gem’, and ‘Green Velvet’, It is very similar to the cultivar ‘Glencoe’ (Chicagoland Green*), ‘Green Velvet’ will bronze slightly in winter especially when exposed to direct sunlight. Typically in spring, as temperatures rise, bronzed foliage will brighten and new growth will quickly transform the plant to green. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Green Velvet’ should be pruned lightly in late winter or early spring to maintain the desired habit. It may be sheared into edging and other formal applications. Use hand pruners or shears. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, it will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant which reduces the chance of disease. 

‘Green Velvet’ is susceptible to boxwood leafminer but has few other pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: This is a good boxwood that has been used in many landscapes in the past 20-30 years. We have heard some reports of root issues possibly related to poor drainage, which may be explained by its sempervirens percentage. In many landscapes, it will reach its 15-year size at a moderate speed then slow its growth. 

 Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, edging, parterre or knot garden, containers. 

Substitutes: ‘Green Mound’

‘Green Gem’

Size at 15 years: 2’ Tall x 2.5’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 2.75’ Tall x 3.5’ Wide 

 

13) ‘Glencoe’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus x ‘Glencoe’

Zone: 4-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Medium, 2 to 3 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: Chicagoland Green® will grow slightly wider than tall. It is an excellent cold-hardly cultivar that is extremely uniform in its growth. It is very similar to ‘Green Velvet’. Chicagoland Green® will bronze slightly in winter especially when planted in full sun. Bronzed foliage will typically disappear quickly in spring as temperatures rise, Bronzed foliage will brighten and new growth will begin to appear. Deer resistant. 

Care: Prune Chicagoland Green® lightly in late winter or early spring to maintain the desired habit. It may be sheared into edging and other formal applications. Use hand pruners or shears. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant which reduces the chance of disease. 

Comments: It is a selected hybrid from the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. It is very difficult to distinguish it from ‘Green Velvet’, Its hardiness and durability make it a good plant. 

Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, edging, parterre or knot garden, containers. 

 Substitutes: ‘Green Velvet’

‘Green Mound’

14) ‘Green Gem’ Boxwood Topiary

Size at 15 years: 2’ Tall x 2.5’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 2.75’ Tall x 3.5’ Wide

Cultivar: Buxus x ‘Green Gem’

Zone: 4-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Medium, 2 to 3 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Green Gem’ is a cold-hardy hybrid boxwood with a spherical habit. It is often referred to as being in the “Green Series” of boxwood (see ‘Green Velvet’ for more information). It is very similar to ‘Green Mound’ but slightly smaller. To minimize bronzing, avoid planting in areas of direct winter sun. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Green Gem’ should be lightly pruned in late winter or early spring to maintain the desired shape. Use hand pruners or shears. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant which reduces the chance of disease. 

Green Gem’ is susceptible to boxwood leafminer but has few other pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: This boxwood has been planted extensively over the past 20-30 years. Its hardiness and non-domineering size have been popular with many landscapers. 

Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, edging, parterre or knot garden, containers. 

Substitutes: ‘Justin Brouwers’

‘Green Velvet’

  ‘Green Mound’

Size at 15 years: 2’ Tall x 2’ Wide 

Size at 25 years: 2.75’ Tall x 2.75’ Wide

15) ‘Green Mound’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivate: Buxus x ‘Green Mound’

Zone: 4-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Medium, 2 to 3 inches per year 

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Green Mound’ is a cold-hardy hybrid boxwood with spherical habit. It is often referred to as being in the “Green Series” of boxwood (see ‘Green Velvet’ for more information). It is similar to ‘Green Velvet’ but more rounded in its natural shape. ‘Green’ Mound’ will bronze slightly in winter especially when exposed to direct sunlight. The bronzed leaves will typically brighten as spring temperatures rise and then be covered as new foliage appears. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Green Mound’ should be pruned lightly in late winter or early spring to maintain the desired habit. It may be sheared into edging and other formal applications. Use hand pruners or shears. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant which reduces the chance of disease. 

Green Mound’ is susceptible to boxwood leafminer but has few other pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: This is another of the hardy Sheridan Nurseries boxwood from Canada. It is very popular. In many landscapes, it will reach its 15-year size at a moderate speed then slow its growth. 

Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, edging, parterre or knot garden, containers. 

Substitutes: ‘Justin Brouwers’

 Green Velvet’

16) ‘Glencoe’ Boxwood Topiary

Size at 15 years: 2.25’ Tall x 2.25’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 3’ Tall x 3’ Wide

‘Vardar Valley’ 

Cultivar: Buxus sempervirens ‘Vardar Valley’

Zone: 5-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Slow to medium, 1 to 3 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Vardar Valley’ is very appealing due to its distinctive powdery blue new foliage in the spring combined with excellent winter hardiness. It matures into a broad, mounding plant. Spring blue foliage will fade to deep green in summer. ‘Vardar Valley’ holds the deep green color through the winter. Avoid planting in areas where drainage is poor. Deer resistant. 

Care: Lightly prune ‘Vardar Valley’ as needed in late winter or early spring to maintain the desired shape and density. Use hand pruners or shears. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant. 

‘Vardar Valley’ is resistant to boxwood leafminer. When planted properly in well-drained soils plant has few pest and disease problems. 

Comments: ‘Vardar Valley’ is one of the top plants in its juvenile stages (up to about 18’’ wide) as its habit is open and its branches are prominent. Do not plant in areas where drainage is questionable. 

Uses: Small specimen, low hedge, foundation plant, foliage for holiday decorations. 

Substitutes: ‘Green Velvet’

‘Glencoe’ (Chicagoland Green*)

  ‘Franklin’s Gem’

Size at 15 years: 1.5’ Tall x 3’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 2.5’ Tall x 5’ Wide

17) ‘Green Beauty’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Green Beauty’

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Medium, 2 to 4 inches per year

Sun Exposure: sun or shade.

Attributes: ‘Green Beauty’ is an excellent medium-sized cultivar that has deep green glossy foliage with little winter bronzing. It has a naturally rounded habit that will typically be slightly wider than tall. Its branching structure makes for a very strong plant that can withstand breakage from most moderate to heavy snowfalls. It is very durable and recovers quickly if a limb is broken or if radical pruning is necessary. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Green Beauty’ should be pruned lightly in late winter or early spring to maintain a more uniform shape. It will typically start the second flush of new growth in the late summer to early fall that may be burned and discolored by fall frost before it hardens off. These branches or “horns” can be pruned off any time after the first hard freeze of the fall, or left on the plant until early spring pruning. If the plant outgrows its desired size, it tolerates radical pruning. Prune with hand pruners or shears. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant which reduces the chance of disease. 

Green Beauty’ is susceptible to boxwood leafminer but has few other pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: We like this boxwood. Its durability and disease resistance is very good. We have planted it in locations where diseased English boxwood has died and it is thriving. Pruning as a young plant is a must to develop a good shape. 

Uses: Medium specimen, medium hedge, foundation plant, containers. 

Substitutes: ‘Green Velvet’

 Green Mound’

‘Glencoe’ (Chicagoland Green*)

‘Jim Stauffer’

Size at 15 years: 3’ Tall x 3’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 4.5’ Tall x 5’ Wide

18) ‘Wintergreen’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla va.japonic ‘Wintergreen’

Zone: 5-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Fast, 4 to 6 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Wintergreen’ is a vigorous, winter-hardy cultivar that is ideal when a medium to large foundation plant is desired. It is great for use in medium-sized hedges and is very tolerant of pruning or shearing. It has a tendency to bronze when exposed to direct winter sun but the bronzing will quickly disappear as temperatures rise in spring and as new growth emerges. It is very similar to ‘Winter Gem’. Deer-resistant.

Care: ‘Wintergreen’ should be pruned each late winter or early spring to maintain the desired shape. Use hand pruners or shears. Additional pruning may be necessary for early to mid-summer, depending on the desired look and vigor of the plant. ‘Wintergreen’ tolerates more radical pruning if the plant has outgrown its desired size. Thinning is not necessary on this cultivar. 

Wintergreen’ is moderately resistant to boxwood leafminer. When properly planted and cared for, it has new other disease or pest issues. 

Comments: It is a great choice when you want to fill a space quickly. If left unpruned, a vigorous plant can become wiry but the plant will respond very well to hedge shears. There are many cultivars in the nursery industry with the name ‘Wintergreen’. Some are very similar to this one and others are very different. When matching plants, be sure to check plant attributes and projected size before purchasing. 

 Uses: Medium specimen, medium hedge, low hedge, foundation plant. 

Substitutes: ‘Winter Gem’

‘Jim Stauffer’

‘Green Beauty’

Size at 15 years: 4’ Tall x 4’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 5.5’ Tall x 5.5’ Wide

 19) ‘Winter Gem’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla var.japonica ‘Winter Gem’

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Fast, 4 to 6 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Winter Gem’ is a round-shaped cultivar that is relatively vigorous. It tolerates a wide range of sizes and uses. New foliage emerges a lime-green color and transitions to a deep, glossy green. It has a tendency to bronze when exposed to direct winter sun but the bronzing will quickly disappear in spring as temperatures rise and as new growth emerges. ‘Winter Gem’ is very similar to the cultivars ‘Wintergreen’ or Faulkner’. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Winter Gem’ should be pruned each year in late winter to early spring to maintain the desired shape. Use hand pruners or shears. Additional lighter pruning’s may be necessary for early to mid-summer, depending on the desired look and vigor of the plant. ‘Winter Gem’ tolerates more radical pruning if the plant has outgrown its desired size. Thinning is not necessary on this cultivar. 

‘Winter Gem’ is moderately resistant to boxwood leafminer and has few other pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: Great plant to fill space quickly. It is very similar to ‘Wintergreen’. It has a very vigorous growth habit that can get rather wiry but it can be controlled with a good pair of hedge shears. 

Uses: Medium specimen, medium hedge, low hedge, foundation plant. 

 Substitutes: ‘Wintergreen’ 

‘Green Beauty’

‘Jim Stauffer’

Size at 15 years: 4’ Tall x 4’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 5.5’ Tall x 5.5’ Wide 

 

20) ‘Green Mountain’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus x ‘Green Mountain’

Zone: 4-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Medium to fast, 2 to 4 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Green Mountain’ is a cold-hardy, rounded, conical-shaped hybrid boxwood. It is often referred to as being in the “Green Series” of boxwood (see ‘Green Velvet’ for more information). ‘Green Mountain’ will bronze slightly in winter especially when exposed to direct sunlight but bronzing will quickly fade as new spring foliage begins to emerge. Deer resistant. 

Care: Prune ‘Green Mountain’ lightly in late winter or early spring to maintain desired habits. Use hand pruners or shears. ‘Green Mountain’ is often sheared in a tight pyramid or conical shape to distinguish it from other plants in the “Green Series”; however when left unpruned, it will develop a more rounded conical habit. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant. 

Green Mountain’ is susceptible to boxwood leafminer but has few other pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: Some gardeners believe annual light pruning is necessary on this cultivar to improve its rigidity as an upright plant or the plant may open up with snow. It grows with relative vigor until it is about 15 years old then slows down.

Uses: Medium specimen, medium hedge, low hedge, foundation plant, containers. 

 Substitutes: ‘John Baldwin’

Dee Runk’

Fastigiata’

Size at 15 years: 3.5’ Tall x 2.5’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 5’ Tall x 3’ Wide

 

21) ‘John Baldwin’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla ‘John Baldwin’

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Medium, 2 to 3 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘John Baldwin’ is grown for its true, broad, conical habit. Foliage is fine-textured and leaves are relatively small compared to many boxwood. New foliage has a blue tint which will slowly fade to a blue-green. Use this cultivar as an alternative to ‘Green Mountain’ when a true conical shape with minimal pruning is desired. Also, use it as an excellent substitute for conical shape with minimal pruning is desired. Also, use it as an excellent substitute for conical Japanese hollies in sun or shade. Deer resistant. 

Care: Up to 2 ft or so in height, prune ‘John Baldwin’ in late winter to early spring to develop a conical habit. Once the plant gets 2-3 feet tall, it requires less pruning, typically having to remove only side shoots or “horns” each late winter or early spring. Use hand pruners or shears although shears are seldom needed as the plant matures. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant. 

‘John Baldwin’ is susceptible to boxwood leafminer but has few other pest or disease issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments: This may be the best pyramidal growing boxwood that we have seen. Being a microphylla, it is proving to be more durable with regard to disease and its adaptation to a wider range of soil conditions. We have seen it perform well in marginally we locations; however, we don’t recommend planting any boxwood in areas where drainage is poor. 

 Uses: Medium specimen, medium hedge, foundation plant, container. 

Substitutes: ‘Dee Runk’

‘Fastigiata’

Green Mountain’

Size at 15 years: 3.5’ Tall x 2.5’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 6’ Tall x 3.5’ Wide

22) ‘Jim Stauffer’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Jim Stauffer’

Zone:5-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Medium to fast, 2.5 to 5 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Jim Stauffer’ is an excellent foundation plant that is slightly more vigorous than some cultivars, yet can be maintained in a formal shape. It grows in a comparable height-to-width ratio. It also responds very well to pruning or shearing. It has proven to be more cold-hardy than other Buxus microphyll. ‘Jim Stauffer’ can be used as a great substitute for Buxus sempervirens (American) when a plant of a similar shape is desired but with a smaller ultimate size. Deer resistant. 

Care: Lightly pruning ‘Jim Stauffer’ in late winter or early spring is necessary to maintain a more uniform shape. It will occasionally start a second flush of new growth in the late summer to early fall that may freeze before it hardens off. These branches or “horns” can be pruned off after the first hard freeze of the fall or in early spring. ‘Jim Stauffer’ tolerates more radical pruning if the plant has outgrown its desired size. Prune with hand pruners or shears. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant. 

Jim Stauffer’ is moderately resistant to boxwood leafminer and has minimal other disease and pest issues when planted and cared for properly. 

Comments; We like this boxwood. It has foliage that is very similar to ‘Green Beauty’ but its habit is more upright. Its hardiness also makes it the choice of many gardeners in colder climates. 

Uses: Medium specimen, medium hedge, foundation plant, containers. 

 Substitues: sempervirens (American)

Rotundifloia’

‘Green Beauty’

‘Wintergreen’

‘Winter Gem’

Size at 15 years: 3.25’ Tall x 3’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 5’ Tall x 5’ Wide

23) ‘Rotundifolia’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus sempervirens ‘Rotundifolia’

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Medium to fast, 3 to 5 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Rotundifolia’ is an upright rounded boxwood with unique foliage. Mature leaves are very shiny dark green even through the winter. Leaves are nearly rounded and some can be as large as nickel or quarter. Deer resistant. 

Care: Prune ‘Rotundifolia’ lightly in late winter to early spring as needed to maintain the desired habit. Use hand pruners or shears. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant and reduce the chance of disease. 

Rotundifolia’ is moderately resistant to boxwood leafminer. When planted properly in well-drained soils, this plant has few other pests and disease problems. 

Comments: The foliage on this boxwood is what makes it unique. From a distance, the habit looks very similar to sempervirens but when you get close to it the large, shiny, rounded foliage is strikingly different. 

Uses: Tall specimen, allee, a tall hedge, medium hedge, foundation plant. 

 Substitutes: sempervirens (American)

Jim Stauffer’

Size at 15 years: 4.5’ Tall x 4’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 6’ Tall x 5.5’ Wide

24) ‘Sempervirens’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus sempervirens (American)

Zone: 5-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Medium to fast, 3 to 5 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Medium to fast, 3 to 5 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: American boxwood is a classic, large-growing upright rounded boxwood. In an ideal environment, the plant will continue to grow for 75 to 150 years and develop into a massive shrub (sometimes as large as 15 ft tall and wide or more). It has excellent dark green winter foliage and cuttings are a favorite for holiday decorations. Be especially careful to plant this cultivar in areas with good drainage. Deer resistant. 

Care: Prune American boxwood lightly in late winter or early spring to maintain the desired habit. It tolerates more radical pruning if the plant has outgrown its desired size use hand pruners, shears, and loppers. Thin in winter for holiday decorations or early spring before new growth appears to increase airflow and light penetration into the interior of the plant thus reducing the incidence of disease. 

American boxwood is moderately resistant to boxwood leafminer. When planted properly in well-drained soils, this plant has few other pests or disease problems. 

Comments: This boxwood has been the backbone of many Colonial American landscapes for many years. Take care to avoid using this plant where it will ultimately be too large for the landscape. 

 Uses: Tall specimen, allee, a tall hedge, medium hedge, foundation plant, foliage for holiday decorations.

Substitutes: ‘Rotundifolia’ 

‘Jim Stauffer’

Size at 15 years: 5’ Tall x 4’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 7’ Tall x 6’ Wide

25) ‘Dee Runk’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus sempervirens ‘Dee Runk’

Zone: 6-8s USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Fast to medium, 3 to 6 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Dee Runk’ is an excellent upright cultivar with a naturally vertical habit. With some pruning, it can be a tight conical shape. It will develop a columnar habit with little to no pruning. Use as an excellent choice for narrow hedges or accenting a door or corner. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Dee Runk’ responds very well to pruning. Use hand pruners or shears. Lightly prune, as needed, in late winter or early spring to maintain density and desired form. If winter snow or ice has damaged any limbs or pulled them out from the plant, remove them. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant. If a tight conical form is desired, training will be required. Depending on growth and prior maintenance, a light annual pruning followed by a heavier pruning every 5 years or so is necessary to maintain its form and minimize splaying due to snow and ice or even heavy wet foliage in a syringe. 

Little or no pruning will yield a more columnar habit. Understand that this habit will allow branches to potentially splay out from the plant especially in frozen winter precipitation or heavy new growth in late spring. 

‘Dee Runk’ is moderately resistant to boxwood leafminer and when planted properly, it has few other pests or disease issues. 

 Comments: We believe this plant is best when pruned into a tight conical form. Its versatility of growing in full sun or full shade makes it a great option in many different landscapes. Compared to ‘Fastigiata’, it is slightly narrower. 

Uses: Tall specimen, allee, a tall hedge, medium hedge, foundation plant, holiday foliage, containers. 

Substitutes: ‘Fastigiata’ 

John Baldwin’

Size at 15 years: 8’ Tall x 2.5’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 12’ Tall x 3’ Wide

26) ‘Fastigiata’ Boxwood Topiary

Cultivar: Buxus sempervirens ‘Fastigiata’

Zone: 6-8 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Guide

Growth Rate: Fast to medium, 3 to 6 inches per year

Sun Exposure: Sun or shade. 

Attributes: ‘Fastigiata’ is an outstanding upright cultivar. The foliage is a rich green with a hint of blue. Its true habit is upright. Depending on the gardener’s preferences, this boxwood can either be trained into a conical shape or, with minimal pruning, it can be a broadly columnar shape. It is an excellent choice for narrow hedges or accenting a door or corner. Deer resistant. 

Care: ‘Fastigiata’ responds well to pruning. Use hand pruners or shears. Lightly prune in late winter or early spring to maintain density and desired form. If winter snow or ice has damaged any limbs or pulled them out from the plant, remove them. Thinning is not necessary but, as with any boxwood, will help increase airflow and sunlight penetration into the interior of the plant. 

If a tight conical form is desired, training will be required. Depending on growth and prior maintenance, a light annual pruning followed by a heavier pruning every 4 years or so is necessary to maintain form and minimize splaying due to snow and ice or even heavy wet foliage in spring. 

Little or no pruning will yield a more broad columnar habit. Understand that this habit will lend itself to branches splaying out from the plant especially in frozen winter precipitation or heavy new growth in late spring. 

It is moderately resistant to boxwood leafminer and it has few other pests or disease issues. 

Comments: This is a very good upright boxwood. Our preference is to prune it to a tight cone. It can take full sun or full shade. Its foliage is slightly bluer and habits slightly broader than ‘Dee Runk’. 

Uses: tall specimen, allee, a tall hedge, medium hedge, foundation plant, holiday foliage, containers.  

Substitutes: ‘Dee Runk’

‘John Baldwin’

Size at 15 years: 8’ Tall x 3’ Wide

Size at 25 years: 12’ Tall x 4’ Wide


Posted in Boxwood Topiary | Comments Off on Boxwood Topiary Foliage Survival Care for the 52 Contiguous States in the USA

Live Boxwood Foliage Care


Here we go in-depth into boxwood topiary foliage care for any grower to know for survival from planting, watering to pruning, and more topics to consider.

Boxwood is easy to maintain when properly planted and cared for. We recommend the following to increase your enjoyment of this timeless plant.

Cultivar selection

Take care to select the proper cultivar of boxwood in your planting zone. Consider the boxwood’s desired ultimate size, shape, and growth rate. Anticipate maintenance requirements, the sun exposure of the site, and the climate of the site. 

Sun exposure

Before choosing a boxwood cultivar for a specific location, consider the timing and intensity of the sun in the area to be planted. All boxwood will do well in shady areas, while some of those same cultivars will also do well in sunny locations. Sunny locations are areas with bright sun from late morning to late afternoon. Part-sun locations are shaded from late morning to late afternoon but may receive direct sun early or late in the day. Shady locations typically receive no direct sun. Some cultivars of boxwood will bronze in winter more than others. To lessen winter bronzing, avoid the direct afternoon sun.

Drainage 

Consider drainage before selecting a site or planting a boxwood. When choosing a site, avoid areas that have poor drainage. Avoid any area with standing water or outlets for gutters or other drains. Some cultivars are more tolerant of areas with questionable drainage; however, all boxwood will perform better in areas when the plant is elevated and drainage is addressed. 

Digging the Proper hole 

Dig the hole twice (or more) as wide as the root ball. Dig the hole so that about 1/4 of the root ball is above the original soil surface. Planting the boxwood high helps to ensure proper drainage. Never plant boxwood level with the soil surface. Take care when the soil has been disturbed below the root ball to ensure that the plant remains elevated and does not settle with time. 

Soil preparation 

Proper soil preparation is essential to ensure long-term success with any planting. Take soil tests in advance of any bed preparation. Based on the results of the soil test, modify the soil to achieve a pH in the range of 6.5 to 7.2. Before planting in an existing bed or new area, we recommend you renovate as much area as possible. This will improve drainage, reduce compaction issues, introduce new soil nutrients and organic matter, and encourage root growth. 

Renovations of existing areas or new plantings should include removal of unwanted existing plants and debris, the incorporation of soil amendments, and soil mixing. Turn the soil to a minimum depth of 10-15 inches and add amendments. Examples of soil amendments include: compost to increase organic matter, gypsum to break up heavy day soils, aged poultry litter for organic matter and nutrients, and limited amounts of peat more than 20% amendments. The amended soil should resemble the existing soil to encourage root growth beyond renovated areas. If an excess of amendments and new soil is added, the roots of the plant will often not venture beyond the new soil. 

Planting 

Once you prepare the bed and dig a hole, place the plant in the hole remembering to keep about 1/4 of the root ball above the original soil surface. Backfill the hole with the amended soil. Mound the soil up to the edges of the root ball. Do not place soil on the base or trunk of the plant and ensure that the plant remains elevated and does not settle with time.  

Watering 

A thorough soaking at the time of planting is the most important watering a boxwood will ever have. Afterward, periodic watering’s on an as-needed basis, is best. They allow the root zone to be thoroughly wetted then dry again before watering. It generally takes about 18 months for a boxwood to acclimate to a new site. During this time, monitor the plant weekly for adequate moisture. Never allow the plant to dry to the point of showing stress. When boxwood shows stress due to lack of moisture, they seldom recover completely.

Mulching

Mulching a boxwood helps in many ways. Mulch retards weed growth, helps retain moisture in dry periods, decomposes to create additional organic matter, moderates soil temperature, and reduces erosion.

Maintain about one inch of mulch around a plant but never place mulch on the trunk of the boxwood, Re-mulch as needed every two years or so. Shredded hardwood mulch works well; also, composted leaves, pine needles, and pine bark make good mulches. These types of mulches are beneficial because with time they decompose and create organic matter. Take care to not use “green” or un-aged mulch as it requires extra nitrogen from the plant. Some gardeners prefer stones or oyster shells as mulch but understand that they provide decreased benefits about moderating soil temperature and moisture retention. 

Transplanting

The best time to transplant boxwood in central Virginia is early September through mid-November. In your area, choose a time in the fall when the summer heat has begun to subside and before severe cold sets in. Some gardeners have success transplanting during mild winters. Proper timing will allow for maximum root growth through the winter when moisture is typically more abundant and in turn, better prepares the plant for dry seasons ahead, when feasible, the root ball should be dug at least as wide as the canopy of the plant. The root ball size will vary but a rule of thumb should be for every 3 feet in width, the depth should be 1 to ½ feet. Boxwood has shallow roots so focus more on root ball width than depth. Never transplant boxwood during the stress of summer heat or severe drought. Water thoroughly before transplanting as well as immediately after planting and then monitor moisture for 18 months until the plant is established. Never allow the root ball to dry out when above ground or allow the plant to dry to the point of showing stress. Once drought-stressed, boxwood seldom recovers completely. 

Fertilization and Liming

Boxwood typically does not need a lot of fertilizer. Use soil tests to determine fertilizer needs as well as the pH of your soil. Boxwood thrives when the pH of a soil is between 6.5 and 7.2. A pH below 5.8 can cause problems in boxwood, especially in Buxus Sempervirens ‘Suffruiticos’. The optimal time to fertilize is in late fall. 

Boxwood roots grow the most in late fall, winter, and early spring when soil temperatures are more moderate. Late summer and early fall fertilization may cause a plant to initiate top growth that could be burned with early freezes. 

Always place fertilizers near the drip line of the plant and never under the mulch, Boxwood typically have feeder roots just under the soil surface. Placing fertilizer directly on those roots can cause damage to the plant. The American Boxwood Society recommends using a fertilizer with a formulation of 10-6-4. Using aged poultry manure at low rates both at the time of planting and as needed for the life of the plant. Bagged cow manure has also been proven beneficial by many gardeners as a source of fertilizer as well as organic matter. 

Pruning

Proper pruning techniques are crucial to long-term success with boxwood. Pruning techniques differ with each cultivar. It is important to choose the correct cultivar for the desired use and location to avoid the need for excessive pruning. 

The best time to prune boxwood is in the late winter to early spring before the plant breaks dormancy. This is usually March in central Virginia. This minimizes the time between pruning’s may stimulate late fall growth that could be burned by early winter freezes. Early winter pruning, while not detrimental, leaves pruning scars on the plant until the spring flush is initiated. 

In general, any pruning that increases the airflow in boxwood is advantageous. Cultivars that are more sunlight penetration to the interior of the plant. Thinning is typically done by reaching into the plant and breaking or cutting out branches with hand pruners. These branches can be 6-10 inches long on larger cultivars, or only a couple of inches on a dwarf cultivar. This will leave pockets or holes in the plant for air and sunlight penetration. Using hand pruners will results or holes in the plant for air and sunlight penetration. Using hand pruners will result in a cleaner cut and lessen the possibility of disease introduction. Not all cultivars require annual thinning; however, those that benefit the most from thinning are noted in the cultivar section of the Boxwood Guide. Typically, cultivars that are sheared regularly will benefit from thinning. 

Larger and more vigorous cultivars are generally tolerant of shearing or more radical pruning techniques. Use lopes or shears to drastically reduce overall plant size on vigorous plants, taking care to leave one-half to two-thirds of the foliage undisturbed. This foliage will produce the energy the plant needs to recover. Plants that require more drastic pruning may need to be pruned over several years to reduce the overall size in steps and not jeopardize the plant’s health. If a Buxus ‘Suffruticos’ (English) overgrows its intended space, use loppers to ensure clean cuts on large branches. The plant should develop new foliage along the bare stems. Full recovery may take several seasons. You should never use shears on English boxwood. Using shears increases the density of the canopy of the plant long-term as well as shatters brittle limbs thus increasing the chance of disease. To minimize radical pruning, do not select large cultivars for applications where small plants would be more suitable. See specific notes in the cultivar section of the Boxwood Guide on boxwood pruning. 

 Some dwarf cultivars including ‘Green Pillow’, Grace H. Phillips’, ‘Morris Dwarf’, and ‘Morris Midget’ will occasionally sport or send up a branch of foliage that is very vigorous compared to the rest of the plant. Remove the sport by cutting into the plant below the point where the sport appeared. Sports on plants do not hurt the plant, but they can be unsightly. Some boxwood enthusiasts will propagate sports in hopes of finding a new desirable cultivar. 

Irrigation

Boxwood is drought tolerant once established. The best irrigation systems are designed to water boxwood only until they are established and then only occasionally in times of severe drought. After this point, boxwood needs minimal irrigation. Too much water is often more harmful than not enough water. Avoid watering daily and or methods of irrigation that keep the foliage wet for long periods. 

New plantings should receive deep watering’s about once a week for the first 3-6 months. Always monitor soil moisture before irrigating. Boxwood will do best when they are watered thoroughly by wetting the root zone to a depth of 12 to 18 inches. The root zone should then be allowed to dry before the next application of water. The timing of subsequent watering will be dependent on rainfall and soil conditions. Allowing the soil to dry between applications encourages stronger root systems as plants are forced to search for water. Avoid allowing the plant to dry to the point of showing stress as they may have difficulty recovering. The first 18 months after planting are the most critical for irrigation. 

Established plantings over 18 months old require supplemental water only in times of extreme drought. A good rule thumb is: If there is adequate rainfall that your lawn needs to be mowed, your boxwood should be fine. 

Simple drip irrigation systems installed just under the mulch work well for boxwood. They allow for the slow application of water through the root zone area. Lawn irrigation systems should be designed and maintained to avoid the daily application of water onto the foliage of boxwood. 

Avoid over-watering boxwood. Some cultivars, especially Buxus sempervirens (Americans), ‘Suffuiticos’ (English), ‘Jensen’, ‘Elegantissima’, ‘Vardar Valley’, ‘Justin Brouwer’, and other Sempervirens cultivars, are susceptible to root rot resulting from continuously wet or soggy soil conditions or poorly-drained soils. Remember, roots need air as well as water. 

Cultivation

Avoid cultivation near the roots of boxwood. Boxwood roots are shallow and widely spread. Cultivating near the drip line of the plant creates problems in boxwood. This is especially evident when boxwood is used as edging in a bed. For example, if one side of the plant is restricted in horizontal root growth by a “hard edge” like a sidewalk or manufactured edging, and the opposite side is tilled 1-2 times a year for planting annuals, severing the roots repeatedly will cause long term problems and potentially kill the plant. 

If you need to cultivate where there is a “hard edge” on one side of a boxwood planting, stay about one foot from the drip line of the plant. When the side opposite of cultivation is not restricting horizontal root growth, you may cultivate slightly closer. 

Winter and Cold Damage

Occasionally boxwood will be damaged by late fall freezes, extreme winter cold, or late spring freezes. Damage can be as minimal as a few bronzed or desiccated leaves, to broken and dead plants. Most of the boxwood listed in the Boxwood Guide is hard to Zone 5 or 6. Refer to the individual cultivars for specific hardiness information. 

If a late fall freeze damages any new growth, prune off unsightly branch tips. Do not do this until after the first freeze or two of winter. Otherwise, wait until late winter or early spring to prune, Additionally, we have seen bark splitting near the ground level of some boxwood. This typically happens to boxwood that has bare trunks and is exposed to the southwestern sun. Bark splitting is the most common Buxus Spervirens ‘Sufruiticosa’ (English). 

To minimize root damage due to extreme cold, newly-planted boxwood should be deeply watered before the roots freeze. Filling the air space around the root system with water helps to insulate the plant. Boxwood in containers is especially at risk of winter damage when they are not watered well. 

Foliage bronzing in the winter can be attributed to sun exposure and cultivar selection. Direct sun in the winter (especially from the southwest) will tend to bronze some cultivars more than others. Bronzed leaves typically begin greening up in the spring as temperatures begin to rise and as new foliage covers them. Intense sun on shade-loving cultivars will cause bronzing that does not recover quickly in spring and can cause long term problems. If you want to minimize bronzing, take care to avoid southwest exposures, and consider your varietal selection. Good choices would include “Green Beauty’, ‘Jim Stauffer’, ‘Dee Runk’, ‘Vardar Valley’, Fastigiata’, Justin Brouwers’, and sempervirens (American). The “Green Series” (‘Green Velvet’, “Green Mountain’, ‘Green Mound’, ‘Green Gem’), as well as some of the dwarf cultivars of boxwood, tend to bronze in the winter sun. Refer to the cultivar section of the Boxwood Guide for more information.

In snowy conditions, it is best to leave the plants alone and let the snowmelt on its own. However, when there is a chance of breakage, gradually remove the snow by gently brushing the limbs in a manner to minimize the breaking of branches. Remember; if branches are frozen, beating them will cause damage to the limb and bark, and will encourage the introduction of disease. Many of the microphylla cultivars are rigid and will hold snow with minimal to no damage. In a heavy ice storm, leave the ice on the plants to melt naturally. Diseases will often wait for conducive conditions before invading the damaged plants, a process that can take six months to a year more. 

Occasionally in late spring after new growth has begun to emerge, an early morning frost will damage the new growth on a boxwood. Pruning off affected foliage is not necessary as the plant will typically regenerate on its own. In most cases, a second flush will begin within days and cover any burned foliage. 

Boxwood in Containers

Boxwood is an excellent choice to use in a container. Cultivars that are suitable for containers are listed in the cultivar section of the Boxwood Guide under Uses. When planting in a container, take care to select a container that is larger than the root ball of your chosen plant. If you allow space for the roots to grow, the boxwood will have a longer life in the container. Use an artificial potting medium to fill around the root ball. Be sure the container has drainage holes in the bottom. 

After several years it may be necessary to remove the plant from the pot to re-invigorate it. Cut and loosen the roots, and replace much of the soil to stimulate new root growth on the plant before placing it in the same or larger container. When the roots stop growing, a plant typically will begin a deteriorate. Fertilize lightly annually or biannually with a well- balanced fertilizer that does not drive down the soil pH (see Fertilization, page 7). 

Although boxwood is more drought tolerant than many plants, be sure to provide adequate water throughout the entire year, including the winter. In winter the plant must be well-watered before extreme cold spells. Filling the air space around the root system with water helps to insulate the plant. In summer, water about once a week, Regularly monitor water, and keep roots moist but not wet. 

Boxwood Foliage Propagation

Boxwood is a simple plant to propagate. Propagation procedures differ with every nursery and gardener. Typical cutting propagation occurs in late June After the spring flush has had time to harden off, through early October. Do not propagate too late into the fall or winter, unless artificial bottom heat available, as the cuttings need soil temperatures in the low 70’s to begin rooting. Make cuttings 4-6 inches long and remove one-third to one-half of the foliage. Apply a rooting hormone to the bottom of the cutting before it is stuck in the rooting bed. 

Rooting bed media is typically a combination of sand and peat moss. Cuttings should be shaded from any direct sun until rooted. Keep the foliage moderately moist until roots develop to increase rooting success. Do not attempt to propagate boxwood from mid-March through early June as the energy of the plant is being directed into producing new top growth. 

 Many gardeners use layering to propagate boxwood. The natural weight of limbs or snow can push a branch down so that it touches the ground. The portion touching the ground will root into the soil. After a while, the branch can be cut from the parent will root into the soil. After a period of time, the branch can be cut from the parent plant and moved. Other gardeners, typically in the spring, will bend a side branch of a plant down to the soil and lay a brick or rock on top of it. In the fall or the following spring, the plant can be cut from the parent plant and planted elsewhere.


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Live Boxwood Pests


As discussed on the previous page, the life cycle is short, perhaps only a few days in some cases. Since you would have to spray every 2 or 3 days over 2 weeks, we think this control strategy is futile. 

The best control method would be a systemic insecticide applied just after the eggs hatch, around mid to late June in central Virginia. Since the larvae are alive, eating, and growing all during the summer and fall, we have found these systemic insecticides to be effective until temperatures turn cold, which in some years is not until Thanksgiving. When these chemicals are applied properly and thoroughly to all boxwood in a given area, you can expect control for up to 2-3 years to bring that population back up to noticeable levels. 

The best products we have tried are those that contain the active ingredient imidacloprid, Thiomethoxam, or dinotefuran

We advise any nurseryman or homeowner to contact a local full-service garden center or Extension personnel for recommendations. With any pesticide, read and follow the label. 

Another strategy that Sounder Brother, Inc. is exploring is finding varieties that are resistant to boxwood leafminer. We have experimented with about 85 varieties over the years and have found moderate to good resistance in some cultivars. We continue to research new varieties and attempt to understand why some cultivars are more susceptible than others.

Resistant*Moderately Resistant*Least Resistant*
‘Franklin’s Gem’ ‘Dee Runk’‘Chicagoland Green*’
‘Grace H. Phillips’‘Elegantissima’‘Green Beauty’
‘Golden Dream’‘Fastigiata’‘Green Gem’
‘Green Pillow’‘Jensen’‘Green Mound’
‘Insularis Nana’‘Jim Stauffer’‘Green Mountain’
‘Morris Dwarf’‘Morris Midget’‘Green Velvet’
‘Suffruticos’‘Rotundifolia’‘John Baldwin’
‘Vardar Valley’Sempervirens‘Justin Brouwers’
‘Winter Gem’

‘Wintergreen’

The astute gardener should take into account many factors when choosing a boxwood cultivar for a particular application including varietal susceptibility if neighboring landscapes have high populations of leafminer or if he desires to minimize control measures.  

Boxwood Psyllid

 Boxwood Physllid occurs wherever boxwood is found. There is only one life cycle per year and the nymph emerges in mid-April or as new growth starts in the spring. The nymph lives for about 2 months chewing on the new foliage resulting in the upward cupping of the leaves. 

The cupping of the leaf protects the feeding psyllid. A sticky white deposit is often left on the foliage by the psyllid. Minor damage is mainly aesthetic but heavy infestations can eventually cause some defoliation. The winged adult typically appears in June. After mating, the female flies over the canopy of the plant and then lays her eggs under the bud scales of the plant. The eggs remain there until the following spring when they hatch. Control measures, if desired, should be taken immediately after new boxwood buds break dormancy. Once the psyllid has cupped the leaf, the pest may be controlled but damage to the leaf cannot be corrected. Use insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, and other insecticides to control the nymphs. Consult your local full-service garden center or Extension personnel for recommendations for control of psyllid. 

Mites

The boxwood mite is a spider mite. Mites generally begin hatching in late April to May and become most active in hot, dry summers. A typical mite has a life span of 1 to 3 weeks; thus in hot, dry summers, there are many generations of this pest.

The boxwood mite is very small and difficult to see with the naked eye. Gently hitting a branch over a piece of white paper will often allow you to see the mites when they fall onto the paper. Mite-damaged leaves appear to have tiny creamy-white spots and marks  on them. Damage is often superficial but can become a problem if the mite population becomes too great. 

 Control measures include natural predators and the use of horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps, and other chemicals. Consult your local full-service garden center or Extension personnel for recommendations. Unfortunately, some of the insecticides used for control of boxwood leafminer seem to cause an increase in mite populations because they kill predators of the mites. There appear to be some cultivars that are more resistant than others to boxwood mites. Microphylla Cultivars seem to be more resistant, while some Sempervirens cultivars seem to be more susceptible. 

Pets and Boxwood Odor

Dog urine will kill boxwood branches. Buxus sempervirens cultivars are the favorite targets of dogs. 

Some boxwood cultivars exhibit a strong odor in early summer when the sun shines directly on them, especially when the humidity is high, particularly Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticos’. Some people believe this may be what attracts dogs. Some gardeners relish the aroma of boxwood while others say it smells like cat urine. Fortunately for some and unfortunately for others, this is the odor of boxwood and it is more intense with some cultivars than others and cannot be controlled. 


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How to Manage Live Boxwood Diseases?


Boxwood tends to be very disease resistant. In most instances, proper planting techniques, site selection, maintenance, and smart gardening will lessen disease occurrence and severity. Several diseases typically infect boxwoods.

 Phytophthora

Phytophthora nicotianae is also called root rot. It is a disease that is found most commonly in heavy, poorly drained soils. It weakens the plant and will eventually kill it. Usually, the first indication is when it appears the plant has stopped growing. The foliage turns to light green, then to brown, and finally to a straw color. This progression can take several months to a year or longer. Phytophthora will often selectively kill a branch or section of the plant at a time. When a plant with phytophthora is dug up, the ends of the roots will pull off much like pulling the sheath off a knife. Roots will be brown and stringy instead of a healthy white or tan color. 

When cultivars struggle with drainage and early stages of phytophthora, their foliage will begin to fade with a yellowish tint or lime-colored tint. If the drainage issues are addressed quickly or the plant is moved or elevated, it can sometimes fight off the fungus and return to a healthy green color. 

Phytophthora is difficult to treat once it is visibly present in a plant but you can usually avoid the disease with good gardening practices. Purchase disease-free plants from reputable suppliers. Avoid areas where poor drainage is an issue. Use proper planting techniques to maximize drainage around the plant. 

Some cultivars appear to be less sensitive to phytophthora, including many of the micro-phylla cultivars. Many of the sempervirens (American), ‘Suffruticosa’ (English), ‘Elegantissima’, and ‘Justin Brouwers’ are especially susceptible when planted in poorly drained soils. 

 Volutella

Volutella buxi or stem blight is a fungus characterized by foliage that will turn bronze, then red, then yellow. The damage looks very similar to winter burn but the plant will not recover spring flush of growth. Cankers will form on the branch, and the bark will typically break and fall or peel off the stem. It normally affects one limb at a time. Volutella is often a secondary infection after somethings has weakened or injured a plant. It is most prominent in times of high humidity and poor air movement. Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruitocos’ (English) is prone to volutella due to its very dense habit. 

Avoiding conditions that are conducive to volutella is the best means to control it. Boxwood is more susceptible to volutella when they are under stress, in poor environmental conditions, or suffering from winter injury. 

Avoid overhead irrigation, maintain proper drainage, and thin plants to maximize air movement within the plant. Volutella often invades plants that have had winter damage such as heavy snow loads that injured the bark. Sometimes volutella may take a summer or two to invade a damaged plant as it awaits optimum conditions of high humidity and low air movement. 

When volutella is present, prune infected limbs several inches below cankers or broken bark. There are some fungicides available on the market but as mentioned above, proper care and culture are the best way to avoid the disease. 

Cylindrocladium buxicola

The disease boxwood blight or box blight is caused by the fungal pathogen Cylindro-cladium buxicola (also known as Calonectria pseudonaviculata). Boxwood blight was officially documented in the United States in late 2011. It was found in Europe in the late 1990’s. Understanding boxwood blight is a high priority among research facilities in both Europe and the United States. Boxwood blight fungus that attacks the foliage of boxwood. It first appears as black or chocolate-colored spots on foliage. In a few days, those spots will develop yellow to brown rings around them and cover the leaf. Infected leaves will have streaking black stem lesions or cankers. 

 Boxwood blight is most prominent in times when foliage is continually wet from constant irrigation, prolonged rain, or high humidity, and the temperatures are in the high 60’s to low 70’s or higher. When optimal conditions exist and the fungus is present, it will move quickly. When conditions are not conducive, it will subside. The fungus will lie dormant in infected foliage and stems for long periods (5-10 years) and reappear when conditions are conducive. The boxwood blight spore is a sticky spore that moves from plant to plant by several means including water splash, pruning equipment, clothing, animals such as dogs or wildlife, or other contacts. It is not known to be moved by wind except in driving rain. 

Like many of the diseases, boxwood is subject to, boxwood blight is best avoided with good cultural and care practices. Purchase healthy plants from reputable suppliers. Educate yourself about the disease to minimize its movement on clothing, equipment, and plant debris. Maintain good airflow in and around boxwood, avoid overhead irrigation whenever possible, and properly select cultivars for each application based on the ultimate desired size and shape to avoid over-pruning. If heavy shearing is necessary for the desired application shape avoid over-pruning. If heavy shearing is necessary for the desired application, care should be taken to annually thin the plant to allow air penetration into the plant. 

Boxwood blight research is producing a large amount of valuable information. While all boxwood has some susceptibility to boxwood blight, Buxus sempervirens ‘Sufrruiticosa’ is the most susceptible cultivar. We have learned there is some boxwood blight resistance in boxwood cultivars, particularly the microphylla and several other cultivars. Plant architecture, with exceptions, seems to influence susceptibility. More open, taller plants tend to be more resistant while short, compact cultivars that will be resistant to boxwood blight by ascertaining the shapes and sizes that are naturally more susceptible. 


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Why Live Boxwood Foliages for Topiaries?


Rediscovering boxwood topiary, the backbone of many landscapes and formal gardens for centuries. Boxwood is evergreen, drought-tolerant, and deer-resistant.

Over the years, boxwood has fallen in and out of favor, but with increased deer browsing, water restrictions in our cities and suburbs, and the discovery of numerous new cultivars, boxwood are once again gaining popularity. 

Boxwoods are:

  • deer-resistant
  • drought-tolerant
  • easy to maintain; most require little pruning
  • versatile; many grow in both shade and sun
  • long-lived; they offer permanence in the landscape
  • multi-functional, thanks to their many shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and growth rates

Takes a few moments to go through our live boxwood care guides so you can be successful in growing a topiary garden!

We provide references for live boxwood care:

Do‘s

  • Do remove the burlap from your boxwood. It will speed up the development of new roots, however, if it is a loose soil ball leave burlap on.
  • Do water your boxwood plants well when received and after. Because they are grown in the earth they will be balled and burlapped or containerized. It is imperative that the root ball is saturated with water. It takes time and development for boxwood hair-like roots to grow outside the ball.
  • Do fertilize your boxwood until established. Use a balanced fertilizer. 10.10.10 up to 14.14.14   Fall, October and Spring, early March.  If planted in a container fertilize more frequently. More watering is required when plants are contained, use a liquid fertilizer supplement.
  • Do prune your boxwood if a certain shape or size is desired. Use sharpened manual shearers, however, if you have long high hedges you may want to invest in a gas or electric shearer. Plants may be pruned most times of the year excluding Winter.
  • Do Prune the week of June 1, new growth comes on by mid-August covering up the unsightly cut leaves. True boxwood enthusiasts pluck their boxwood. Topiary may require more clipping
  • Do try to root your own boxwood cuttings. In November take cutting off tips of boxwood about 4” long place in a tray of dense soil or sand. Keep them in a warmer area, ideally a greenhouse and you may have the beginning of some little boxwood.

Do NOT

  • Don’t buy boxwood from a dirty nursery. Check out the condition of boxwood.  No curled scratched or marred leaves. Plants should be dark green, with no yellow tips or scale marks on stems. Roots should be succulent white color.
  • Don’t suffocate your boxwood. Like all plants, boxwood needs air, light, water, and nutrients.
  • Don’t have a male dog that lifts his leg higher than 18” around your boxwood. Multiple sprays of urine on a spot will eventually yellow the leaves in that area. Clip out and train the dog to relieve himself on a tree trunk.
  • Don’t forget to water and fertilize your boxwood.
  • Don’t get herbicides on your boxwood leaves. It will probably survive, but it will set it back.
  • Don’t worry. Boxwood is very forgiving. It has many hair-like roots that supply water and nutrients to the plant.
  • Don’t let exhaust from gas shearers get next to your boxwood. May burn holes in the plant at that point.
  • Don’t park a car or truck with side exhausts next to boxwood. It will burn a hole in your boxwood.

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How to Add Ivy Foilage to a Topiary Frame


If you have ever seen plants sculpted into different shapes, you might wonder how gardeners do it. This is called topiary, or the practice of pruning and clipping plants into clearly defined shapes. The practice dates back to Roman times but is still a popular style today. Traditionally, topiary is done with evergreen plants, but with a topiary frame, you can create the same look with your ivy at home, either in your garden or even in a flowerpot.

You can add some artwork to your garden with topiary frames. Topiary artforms add a little bit of style to your plants and can be the living centerpiece of any garden. Creating these living sculptures may seem difficult, but with these step-by-step instructions, adding foliage to a topiary frame could not be easier. Soon your garden will be the perfect place to read a book or host a party with the lovely ivy topiary artwork.

This is also a good way to add interesting landscaping to your business. Create your logo with plants using a topiary frame or add a point of interest outside your store or office to draw attention. It’s a pleasant and eco-friendly way to draw attention to your business and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Step 1:

Cover ivy plant with a topiary frame. The first thing you want to do is insert the top of your ivy plant through the opening at the base of the frame, so it is inside the frame. Start with the top of the ivy. Do not worry about the bottom ivy and leaves yet. Pull the ivy in gently and carefully so you do not damage the plant. Pull the ivy up the topiary frame as much as it will go.

Step 2:

Insert the leaves into the frame around the base and the frame will begin to stand upright.

Now that the top part is inside, start tucking the bottom leaves of the plant into the bottom of the topiary frame until all the bottom leaves are inside. The frame should completely cover the base of the plant when you are done. Once all the bottom leaves are in the topiary frame, it should be able to stand on its own without propping it up. Now the artwork is slowly coming together and you can almost see the end result.

Step 3:

Once leaves are inserted, the topiary frame can be opened to continue pushing leaves inside.

Now that the topiary frame can stand on its own, you can open up the top of the frame. Open the top of the topiary frame and pull the top leaves into the frame. Use your fingers to pull the leaves inside, one by one. Be careful not to damage the leaves or the stems. The end goal is to eventually have all the leaves in the frame to make a smooth living sculpture.

Step 4:

Move your way up the topiary frame continuing to leaves inside the frame.

Continue moving the ivy up the frame until all the leaves and ivy are inside and arranged to the shape of the frame. Tease the plant into the different sections of the frame if you have a more complex topiary frame. If there is still room at the top, that is okay because the ivy will continue to grow over time. You may have to continue arranging it over time to grow in the shape that you want but luckily the frame will serve as a permanent trimming guide, so maintaining its shape will be easy and take minimal effort now that the frame is in place.

Once all the ivy and leaves are in place, close up the frame, place it in your preferred spot where the plant grows best, and enjoy your new living artwork. Now you have the perfect centerpiece for your garden or a nice atmospheric and eco-friendly touch for your business.


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How to Add Moss to a Topiary Frame


Step 1:

After unpackaging the moss, gently pull apart the fibers with your hands, loosening them. This will make applying just the right amount of moss much simpler. You can also use a spray bottle to mist the moss with water. This will soften the fibers of the moss, making them more flexible which will, in turn, make it easier to stuff them into the topiary frames.

Prepare the Moss

Step 2:

Stuff the moss into the frame until the moss becomes firm.

Begin packing the damp moss into the topiary frame. Don’t be afraid to pack the moss in quite firmly. The moss should be dense in the frame. When you press on the moss with your hands, you should not be able to easily insert your finger into the packed moss.

In order to press the moss even more firmly into the topiary art forms, you can use a wooden dowel like the one pictured below. This is also a great tool to use to push the moss snugly into the tighter or smaller spaces of the frame, and it can help you fill in the animal’s details. Continue packing the moss until you can’t see any blank spaces and the fit is tight all around.

Stuff the Moss into the Frame

Steps 3:

Once you are done stuffing, use a scissor to trim around the topiary frame so that the moss does extrude past the frame.

Once you have packed all of the moss into the animal frame topiary, you may notice that the topiary doesn’t look quite as neat as you might have imagined. There will probably be stray pieces of moss sticking out here and there. This can be fixed by trimming away the loose moss pieces with a pair of scissors. Make sure to follow the curves and angles of the topiary frame in order to stay true to the image you’re aiming for. Cut as close as possible, but be careful not to cut into the moss that’s already in the frame.

If you do cut a bit too much, however, it’s nothing to worry about. You can simply add some more moss, using your fingers or the dowel to push the moss in. This is also a good opportunity to look for any gaps in the moss you may have missed when you were first stuffing the topiary.

Step 4:

You may wonder just how much moss you’ll need to completely fill the animal frame. A good way to approximate what you’ll need is to look at the size of the frame. One cubic foot of moss will generally fill eight to 10 mini frames that are less than 10 inches tall. That single cubic foot will also fill three to four small frames that are between 10 and 14 inches. The same cubic foot will fill one medium frame, between 14 and 24 inches, as well. However, large topiary frames, between 24 and 36 inches, will need at least two cubic feet of moss each.


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How To Add Live Foliage to a Topiary Frame



How-to Instructions for adding ivy or vine foliage to a frame topiary
Step by Step Instructions to Establishing Topiary Frames

A) Start with a frame that’s wider at the base than at the top. If you are creating a special shape, make sure to securely stake down the base of the topiary and consider adding stakes to support the top of the frame. Take time to secure the base where it enters the soil and supports the frame at the top by lashing it to a sturdy bamboo stick. Once the plant starts to take over the frame, it may get heavy and be difficult to manage. The initial set-up is critical for a topiary that will survive whatever weather occurs.

B) As the vine grows, work it into the frame regularly. The plant will seek to grow up. If it reaches the top of your topiary frame and escapes too soon in the growing season, the vine will form a tangled mat and may strangle itself. Part of the topiary artform is letting the plant fill the structure over time. If you have a particular shape you need to fill, you may need to plant another vine rootstock to fill the frame. Topiary animals can be challenging to fill successfully if you have a special event early in the summer, so be ready to add more plants as needed.

C) Fasten the vine to the frame at points across the structure with a lightweight, weather-resistant nylon product. The fishing line will work as long as the outer skin of the vine won’t be cut by the line. If the line is particularly sharp or the vine especially tender, consider using a thicker nylon cord to secure the vine for the initial training stage.

D) As the vine grows, monitor it frequently and tuck new growth into the topiary mesh. After a heavy rain, check the stability of the topiary frame and add additional bracing if needed. Consider thinning the fine if the leaf cover is heavy enough to serve as a wind block as this can make your topiary vulnerable to tipping over in a strong breeze.

E) Successful topiary vines will be fast-growing and aggressive. While this may be the best option for the special shape you’re working to build, be aware that these plants can be invasive in the environment. If you’re constructing a topiary feature in a pot, monitor new growth so it doesn’t spread from the pot to the surrounding soil. Depending on where you live, a fast-growing ivy or sweet potato plant can turn from a one-time topiary to a yearly challenge.
Horse Frame Adding Foliage
Horse Frame Adding More Vine Foliage

What Plants Are Good for Adding Foliage to a Topiary Frame

Below is a list of plants that we recommend to fill your topiary frame. Rosemary is the plant we suggest, we also sell this topiary whole. Please visit your local nursery for their best recommendation depending on your area.

Ivy Plant

On the level ground they remain creeping, not exceeding 5–20 cm height, but on suitable surfaces for climbing, including trees, natural rock outcrops or man-made structures such as quarry rock faces or built masonry and wooden structures, they can climb to at least 30 m above the ground. Ivies have two leaf types, with palmately lobed juvenile leaves on creeping and climbing stems and unlobed cordate adult leaves on fertile flowering stems exposed to full sun, usually high in the crowns of trees or the tops of rock faces, from 2 m or more above ground.

Jasmine

Jasmines can be either deciduous (leaves falling in autumn) or evergreen (green all year round), and can be erect, spreading, or climbing shrubs and vines. Their leaves are borne opposite or alternate. They can be simple, trifoliate, or pinnate. The flowers are typically around 2.5 cm (0.98 in) in diameter. They are white or yellow in color, although in rare instances they can be slightly reddish.

Smaller frames can be easily assembled just like the larger ones.
These frames open for easy assembly around the plant or you can also wrap the vines up and around the frame

Add Ivy to a Dolphin Frame Topiary
Add More Ivy to a Dolphin Frame Topiary to Get a Fuller Look
Adding Ivy To a Swan Topiary Frame
Adding More Ivy To a Swan Topiary Frame
Complete Ivy Swan Topiary Frame. The rest of the frame will fil over time as the ivy grows.
Japanese Boxwood

They are slow-growing evergreen shrubs and small trees, growing to 2–12 m (rarely 15 m) tall. The leaves are opposite, rounded to lanceolate, and leathery; they are small in most species, typically 1.5–5 cm long and 0.3-2.5 cm broad, but up to 11 cm long and 5 cm broad in B. macrocarpa. The flowers are small and yellow-green, monoecious with both sexes present on a plant. The fruit is a small capsule 0.5-1.5 cm long (to 3 cm in B. macrocarpa), containing several small seeds.

Creeping Fig

As the common name, “creeping fig” indicates, the plant has a creeping/vining habit and is often used in gardens and landscapes. It is not frost-hardy, and in temperate regions is often seen as a houseplant. It is fast-growing and requires little in the way of care.

Myrtle

The plant is an evergreen shrub or small tree, growing to 5 meters (16 ft) tall. The leaf is entire, 3–5 cm long, with fragrant essential oil. The star-like flower has five petals and sepals, and numerous stamens. Petals usually are white. The flower is pollinated by insects. The fruit is a round berry containing several seeds, most common blue-black in color. A variety of yellow-amber berries is also present. The seeds are dispersed by birds that eat the berries.

Rosemary

Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub that has leaves similar to hemlock needles. The leaves are used as a flavoring in foods such as stuffings and roast lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia but is reasonably hardy in cool climates. It can withstand droughts, surviving a severe lack of water for lengthy periods.


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