If you are wondering about what to plant in front of boxwoods, then look no further and read our detailed article on the list of plants that you can grow with boxwoods.

spherical boxwood shrubsBoxwoods are stunning plants grown commonly as shrubs and used for landscape design due to their dense, green foliage.

You can grow different garden plants such as annuals, perennials, herbs and flowers with boxwoods. Keep reading to find out more.

Table of the Best Companion Plants for Boxwood Shrubs

Annual Flowers Perennial Flowers Herbs Perennial Plants
Geranium Daylily Sage Caladium
Salvia Begonia Thyme Coleus
Marigold Black-Eyed Susan Rosemary Elephant Ears
Impatiens Rose Wormwood Hosta
Alyssum Gardenia Lady’s Mantle Liriope
Zinnia Foxglove Dill Germander

List of the Companion Plants for Boxwood Shrubs

Out of numerous options available out there, you can plant annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables in front of your boxwoods. Depending on the weather conditions and ease, you can choose the varieties that suit you the best. Let us take a detailed look at companion planting for boxwoods.   

– Marigold

MarigoldMarigold flowers are one of the best annuals to plant with boxwoods. The bright yellow and orange-colored flowers are perfect to add color against the green background. The annual flower makes for a perfect addition in fall and winter. 

– Geranium

2. GeraniumThe white and pink geraniums that bloom from spring to summer are great annual flowers to plant with boxwoods. By the time fall arrives, the flower color changes to slight red

– Salvia

3. SalviaSalvia looks great as one of the annual flowers in front of boxwood shrubs. The hot red color of the flowers looks great against the green backdrop of boxwood foliage.

Colors, especially in flowering plants can completely change the look of your garden. Add hydrangeas, phlox and carnations in front of the hedges to fill some romantic pastels. If you are looking for mixed colors, go for a mix of cosmos, salvia and petunia along with several other varieties. 

– Impatiens 

4. Impatiens With the woody boxwoods, impatiens work as a great bedding plant. Boxwood lining also looks wonderful with the impatiens blooms inside the lining. While planting this flowering plant, be careful to protect both plants from boxwood blight. 

– Alyssum

5. AlyssumAlyssum or Carpet of snow is an excellent groundcover and grows well along the retaining wall of boxwoods. These flowers smell great and bloom all season making them perfect annual flowering plants to plant with boxwoods.

– Zinnia

6. ZinniaZinnia is an annual flowering plant in most areas and works as a great companion plant for boxwoods. These plants need full to partial sunlight to bloom from spring to fall. It is difficult for them to survive in harsh, frosty winters. 

Once boxwood hedges are established in the soil, despite having a shallow root system, they take up quite a lot of nutrients and water from the surrounding soil. Boxwoods also have dense foliage making the nearby area shaded.

What you must do in this case is to choose the complementary plants that can grow well in partial shade and space the companion plants accordingly. 

– Rose

7. RoseRoses and boxwoods make for perfect partners and are often grown together. Rose is a perennial shrub with care requirements quite similar to those of boxwoods. This classic combination looks not just beautiful but is also relatively easier to maintain. 

– Begonia

8. BegoniaIf you are looking for a combination of boxwood and perennial design, go for begonias. Begonia is an evergreen plant that can survive all weather conditions. The colorful flowers bloom from spring to fall before harsh winters.

– Daylily

9. DaylilyPlant boxwoods behind the perennial daylilies to add a bright green background against the colorful flowers. The bright orange blooms and the plant’s foliage blend perfectly with boxwood’s foliage.

– Coneflower

10. ConeflowerConeflower is a colorful perennial flowering plant with colors ranging from yellow to pink. It can become two to four feet high making them perfect to grow in front of taller box heads. 

In the case of annual and perennial flowering plants, like this beautiful flowers, make sure that the place where you will plant them receives a lot of bright sunlight as they need full sunlight to bloom. 


– Black-Eyed Susan

11. Black-Eyed SusanThe Black-eyed Susan is a perennial flowering plant grown commonly in cold and temperate climates. The bright yellow blooms look amazing against the green boxwoods. But while growing these perennials, remember to keep them under control as they self-seed and can quickly take over a lot of space around other plants. 

– Gardenia

12.GardeniaGardenia is a perennial shrubby flowering plant that looks amazing planted alongside Boxwoods. Its white blooms and glossy green leaves help add texture and color to the garden. Growing boxwood with these small plants is a good idea as these plants need protection from direct sunlight in the afternoon. 

Depending on the direction of the boxwoods, plant your flowering gardenias. Since gardenias need more sunlight should be planted slightly farther from boxwoods and preferably on the western side where they can soak in the afternoon sun. Plant herbs and vegetables next to it if the planting area gets lots of sunlight. 

– Foxglove

13. FoxgloveFoxglove is a low-maintenance, perennial plant that produces purple blooms. Foxglove and alliums lined with boxwood hedges look amazing. You can also combine foxgloves with geraniums to add color to your garden. 

Foxglove is drought-tolerant and can get up to five feet tall rising above the borders of boxwood hedges. The tall flowering spikes complement the boxwood hedges perfectly. You can grow begonias and bellflowers with foxgloves as these plants grow well in alkaline soils. 

– Hydrangea

14.HydrangeaLandscaping with boxwoods and hydrangeas works amazing as they can be easily shaped and kept at a comfortable size. The beauty of these flowers is that the light blue hydrangeas give a great pastel shade in front of boxwoods.

When in bloom from late summer to fall, hydrangeas along the boxwood hedges can easily make passersby stop and admire the beautiful boxwood border. 

– Thyme

15. ThymeMost gardeners with a kitchen garden grow herbs such as thyme with boxwoods. It adds textural contrast to the hedges and helps enhance the vibe of the garden. This is a drought tolerant herb that gardeners love, because it is very low maintenance. This herb is an aromatic that can be neglected, which is why it’s a commone favorite amongst gardners.

– Sage

16. SageSage is a small-sized plant that works well in adding texture and contrast against boxwoods. Boxwood foliage is simple and does not stand out. Adding plants like sage helps give the garden a stunning look. 

If you have recently planted boxwood hedges, chances are that they will be small and short, just like the sage herb. In such cases, go for shorter flowers and herbs that will not hide the shrubs.

– Rosemary

17.RosemaryRosemary too adds textural contrast to the foliage of boxwoods. It is a striking combination of herbs and boxwoods. Prune both rosemary and boxwood regularly to make them thick and bushy.

If you are wondering whether you can plant vegetables in front of boxwoods, then choose vegetables that do not grow taller than the hedge

– Wormwood

18. WormwoodWormwood is a common herb used in alcoholic drinks. It is a hardy plant with minimal care needs. If you live in a harsh climate, try growing it with boxwoods. Its gray-green leaves provide a contrasting look to boxwood’s glossy leaves.

– Lady’s Mantle

19. Lady’s MantleLady’s mantle is a perennial herbaceous plant that can tolerate full sunlight to partial shade. It is commonly grown as a ground cover plant in front of hedges like boxwoods. In front of boxwood hedges, it can live comfortably in part shade and part sunlight. 

– Caladium

20. CaladiumCaladium is a perennial, shade-loving plant that can be easily grown under boxwood hedges. There are a lot of colorful Caladium varieties in different shades of red, green and pink that give a great contrast against the green boxwoods. 

If the garden bed is in the northern direction, grow shade-loving plants such as begonias, elephant ears and caladiums. It all depends on the area that you have chosen and how you can make it look more vibrant and colorful.

– Coleus

21. ColeusIf you want to add some bright pink and purple colors in front of boxwoods, grow Coleus as this shade-loving plant grows wonderfully alongside Boxwoods adding the perfect amount of color. 

– Elephant Ears

22. Elephant EarsThe Elephant ears plant has large and glossy green leaves making it stand out from the rest of the plants. These plants can tolerate both sunlight and shade but make sure that the sunlight is not too harsh as it can cause leaf burns. 

If you want to go for a more normal and easy-going look, grow rounded boxwoods. Rectangular or square-shaped hedges give a more formal look to the garden. Prune the hedges and plants regularly to maintain their size and shape.

– Hostas

23. HostasHostas or Plantain lilies are shade-tolerant plants that can grow well near boxwoods. Dig a hole in front of boxwoods that is big enough to accommodate a hosta root ball. Hostas are great for shady gardens and spots that do not receive a lot of direct sunlight. 

– Liriope

24. LiriopeLiriope or lilyturf or monkey grass is a perennial plant with deep green or variegated green foliage. It is a flowering plant that can tolerate shaded conditions. It is a grass-like plant used commonly for landscaping. The plant is also drought and deer-resistant making it a low-maintenance companion plant for boxwood. 

– Germander

25. GermanderGermander is a perennial shrubby, flowering plant. Its bright pink, blue and white flowers that bloom in summer give a beautiful contrast to the green foliage of boxwoods. You may choose the complementary plants with a similar or slow rate of growth, such as other perennial shrubbies. 


Grown as spherical, rectangular and cubic bushes, boxwoods look quite similar to Japanese Holly and make for great shrubby plants.

Whatever plant you choose to grow with boxwood, remember to keep the following points from the article.

  • Korean boxwood is winter hardy and needs a lot of open space to grow well. It has oval-shaped leaves and the plant grows up to four feet in height. Japanese boxwood is a very adaptable variety that can grow up to eight feet in height and makes for an excellent border when maintained properly. 
  • With boxwoods, you can grow annuals, perennials and herbs depending on the climate type of your area, how much light your garden receives and the direction in which you are planning to plant the companion plants. 
  • Herbs such as sage, thyme and rosemary are great plants to grow in front of boxwoods perfect for all the kitchen gardeners out there. Avoid growing vegetables like tomatoes and corn which get bigger over time. Instead, go for varieties such as lettuce, bush tomatoes, eggplants and cilantro.
  • Boxwood varieties can be grown like ornamental grasses and you can give them any shape that you desire. But, spherical and cubical shapes are the most common as they suit all settings.
  • If you have recently planted boxwood hedges, chances are that they will be small and short. In such cases, go for shorter flowers and herbs that will not hide the shrubs. Once the hedges are well-established and tall, you can shift to longer and bigger plants such as vegetables. 

There are four varieties of boxwood commonly available – English, American, Korean and Japanese. While the American boxwood is the most common one that can grow up to 20 feet tall, the English boxwood is more rounded with its shape resembling a cloud. 

Now that you have the answer to the question – “What to plant next to boxwoods”, which plant would you like to grow? 

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