How to plant boxwood shrubs is a drill you need to learn so you can ensure this evergreen shrub grows perfectly, start by choosing a location, measuring the correct spacing and preparing the planting site.How to Plant Boxwood Shrubs

For the complete guide on planting boxwood plants or how to plant boxwood shrubs directly in the garden read on!

How to Plant Boxwood Shrubs Using These Simple Steps

To plant boxwood shrubs in simple steps, start by choosing an ideal location; before digging holes, measure out the correct spacing as they need adequate space. Go ahead to prepare the planting area, dig holes, add manure, ready the plant, and finally plant it.

1. Choose a Planting Location

Boxwood bushes thrive under full sun and partial shade, so consider that as you choose your location. If you allow them to reach mature size, give them adequate space from one tree to another. Plant them away from the house or your neighbor’s fence so you have enough space to trim them all around.

When growing them as a hedge, plant them a couple of feet away from the property line so your neighbor can trim them if they spread into their property. In general, choose a location where your shrub will thrive and you will have enough space to prune it.

2. Measure the Correct Spacing

Spacing is ideal when growing boxwood, whatever variety you choose. Most varieties, including the dwarf, require at least two to three feet between holes. You could be tempted to crowd them for instant hedge effect, but it pays to be patient enough to see the adequately spaced ones grow thick with time.Correct Spacing for Boxwood Shrubs

For small English Boxwoods, allow at least 12 inches from plant to plant. If you want it to grow to about four feet tall, allow at least 18 inches between plants. For larger American Boxwood hedges, allow at least three to four feet between plants.

For wintergreen boxwoods that grow to 3 to 5 feet wide, plant them at least 2 feet apart. Dwarf varieties should be spaced up to 2 to 3 feet apart for a grouping or 5 to 7 feet apart for a row of individual plants.

Use a tape measure, string, and paint to mark the line of the hedge. Measure from the previous hole’s center to the next’s start. Once the line is marked, start preparing the planting site.

3. Prepare the Planting Site

Once you have your ideal location, it’s time to prepare the site. Good soil is vital to growing the best boxwoods. Though it adapts to many kinds of soil, adding plenty of organic material is vital. Ensure the soil is not permanently moist but drains properly all year round.

Using the soil in your holes is recommended instead of bringing foreign ones. Adjust it by adding organic matter like compost manure or well-rotted sheep, cow, goat, and horse manure to make it more fertile and provide the shrubs with enough nutrients.

You can fertilize along the way as the plant needs it. Loosen the soil around the holes to allow the roots to penetrate easily, thus establishing quickly. Remove all weeds around the area to keep them from eating up the nutrients the shrubs need.

4. Dig Proper Holes

Dig holes that are large enough to hold the root ball of this plant at least six inches minimum in width and depth. Add a bucket of manure per hole and mix it with the soil ready for planting. Ensure the mix reaches at least a quarter of your hole to leave space for the root ball before adding more soil. Add some water to the soil mix in the hole to prep it for planting.

5. Prepare the Boxwood for Planting

If you have brought your plants from the nursery, remove them from the box and unwrap them, removing all wrapping materials. Ensure the roots are not root-bound; if they are, use a pruning saw to loosen them, creating space between the roots. Be careful not to injure the large roots.

6. Plant the Shrub

Gently pick the boxwood shrub and place it in the hole while holding it upright. Add the soil mix around the sides to anchor it in place. Ensure the shrub is upright and has a reasonable depth, with all the roots covered deeply in the soil mix.Planting Boxwood Shrubs

7. Firm up the Soil and Water the Boxwood

Once your plant is in place, firm up the soil gently but firmly on all sides. You can use a spade or trowel to help you get the soil in all those spaces. Water the plant around the soil area, giving it a good soak but don’t overdo it. As part of boxwood care, continue to water it every day for three days and every other one for the first two weeks if the weather is dry.

How to Plant Boxwood Trees in Containers?

To plant boxwood trees in containers, you will need to choose the best container for them, prepare the potting soil mix, plant the boxwoods, water them, and leave them outdoors to thrive before and then bring them indoors during winter.

1. Select the Right Container

It is best to grow dwarf-sized boxwoods as they perfectly fit the containers. Choose a good-sized container allowing adequate space for the plant’s root system. Ensure the containers allow proper drainage without holding excess water, which can cause root rot.

2. Prepare the Potting Soil Mix

Prepare well-draining soil using peat moss and organic manure or fertilizer, just like planting beds. Ensure it drains well to help release excess water so as not to kill the roots due to constant watering. Container plants dry out faster than the garden and will need constant watering.Soil Mix for Boxwood Shrubs

3. Plant the Boxwoods

Once the soil is in place, it’s time to plant the boxwood in the middle of the pot. Make large enough hole for the root ball and replace the soil once planted. Firm up the soil all around gently but firmly to keep the shrub in place.

4. Water the Plants

Once the plant is firmly planted, water it thoroughly to soak the soil mix until it overflows through the draining holes. Remember to place a saucer underneath the pot to hold the water before pouring the excess.

5. Leave your Plants Outdoors

Your plants will thrive under sun or shade, so leaving them outdoors will do them justice. Let them thrive outside during spring, summer, and autumn. However, you can shield them from the tough snow during the cold winter season as it may hurt them, especially when still young.Planting Boxwood Shrubs Outdoor

Frequently Asked Questions

– When Is the Perfect Time To Start Planting Boxwoods?

The perfect time to plant boxwoods is late in fall or early in spring after the last frost date and the temperatures have started warming up. They can resist cold winters, although very harsh winters can affect them.

– What Is the Best Location for Boxwoods?

The best location for boxwoods should have partial shade and sunlight, getting full sunlight for at least six hours and shelter from the harsh afternoon sun. Too much sun will damage the foliage causing it to dry up when exposed too much.

– How Long Does It Take for These Plants To Mature?

It takes an average of 15 to 25 years for this plant to reach maturity. Boxwoods are slow-growing plants compared to many shrubs managing only 3 to 6 inches per year. The growth rate depends on the variety, as you will note that dwarf types are the slowest growing variety.


This guide is clear on how to plant boxwood shrubs both in the garden and in containers so you can grow them where you want. Consider boxwood if you are looking for an ornamental shrub that can grow into a small tree that looks like a small green mountain. Here are a few growing tips you should remember as you work on this plant.

  • Boxwoods are low maintenance but require occasional trimming to keep them in shape and remove all dead or discolored foliage.
  • These shrubs do not flower, so their beauty is the well-manicured green velvety foliage that stands out from the perfect trimming.
  • You can grow these plants without adding fertilizers as they do not produce flowers, but you can top dress with some manure in the fall.
  • If properly cared for, these shrubs can last many years, so keep them watered in the dry season and properly trimmed to avoid overgrowing.

Have you tried growing boxwood? Share your tips with us.

5/5 - (19 votes)
Evergreen Seeds