The Tree Center

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Highlander Boxwood

Buxus sempervirens 'Highlander' (PP# 22,978)

How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me

The Highlander Boxwood is probably the fastest growing English boxwood available, reaching 30 inches a year exceptionally, and growing 24 inches a year under ordinary circumstances. It makes taller hedges possible within a few years, normally reaching 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide within 5 years. It is also ideal for upright shapes, like columns, square or round cones, and spirals. Left unclipped it makes an attractive upright evergreen for accents in any bed. It has extremely dark-green leaves, which hold their color all year round, without any significant browning or bronzing.

  • Upright, pyramidal growth form
  • Exceptionally dark, rich-green foliage color all year round
  • Very fast growth of 2 feet a year or more
  • The best plant for taller hedges in a hurry
  • Ideal for pyramid and spiral accents

In full sun or partial shade is the ideal spot to plant the Highlander Boxwood. It will also tolerate light full shade, such as near deciduous trees or on the north side of a wall. It grows in any well-drained soil, and benefits from richer soils kept moist, for the best growth. Use evergreen fertilizer when young, and trim in late spring after the first growth has darkened, and then as needed. Don’t trim in late fall, to avoid winter injury. The vigor of this variety protects it from the common pests and diseases that affect other boxwoods.

Plant Hardiness Zones 5-9
Mature Width 3-4
Mature Height 6-8
Soil Conditions Well-Drained Soil
Sunlight Full Sun to Full Shade
Drought Tolerance Moderate Drought Tolerance
Zones 5-9

Perfectly trimmed hedges of boxwood are elite features in any garden, and always desirable for their fine texture and special look. They typically take years to create – which is of course why they are ‘elite’ – but now you can enjoy a perfect boxwood hedge 6 feet tall in just a few years, with the amazing Highlander Boxwood. This is almost certainly the fastest growing boxwood around, growing as much as 2½ feet in a single year. Think about it, at that rate a 6-foot hedge is just 3 years away, although more realistically it will probably take about 5 years. Compare that to classic boxwood, which only adds about 6 inches a year – so 12 years to get to 6 feet, and even then, the upper section will still be thin. As well, the growth of the Highlander Boxwood is tight and vertical, so it doesn’t waste energy and growth on side branches that will only be clipped away. It is perfect as well for creating columns and pyramids as vertical accents, and its very rich, extra-dark green foliage stands out, always looking perfect, all year round,

Growing the Highlander Boxwood

Size and Appearance

The Highlander Boxwood is an upright evergreen shrub with a narrow vertical profile, reaching at least 5 feet tall within 5 years, with a natural spread at that time of 3 to 4 feet. Its branches are slender and grow vertically upright, keeping a narrow profile that adds height without excess width. It is however wide enough to avoid the need for staking to provide collapse under snow or in storms, unlike some other very narrow, vertical boxwoods. The glossy leaves are an unusually deep and rich green color, which doesn’t show any significant browning or bronzing during the winter months. The leaves are between ½ and 1 inch long, with a notched tip and a broad oval shape. Inconspicuous flowers may be seen in March or April, all along the stems, particularly in unclipped plants. These are small, yellow-green and without petals, and they attract bees.

Using the Highlander Boxwood in Your Garden

With its fast growth rate and upright habit, this bush is perfect for hedges, of any height from 3 to 6 feet. For a dense, continuous look, plant no more than18 inches apart if you are creating a lower hedge, or 2 feet apart for a taller hedge. A boxwood hedge is perfect to separate one part of the garden from another; to hide unsightly garden objects like AC, pumps or meters; to hide a wall or fence; or to separate your garden from a neighbor. It can also be quickly turned into upright columns or pyramids, either round or square, and other fancier topiary, like spirals and upright poodles. These look perfect paired on either side of a gate or doorway, at the corners of beds, or spaced out along a path, forming a gracious avenue. Left unclipped it will grow into an upright bush that fits well into less formal beds, giving height without a lot of width and naturally growing bushy.

Hardiness

The Highlander Boxwood is reliably hardy in zone 5, without burning or bronzing. It also grows well in warmer zones, although zone 9 in the south-east can be too hot and humid for boxwood plants.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

The Highlander Boxwood is very adaptable for sunlight. It will be densest and darkest in full sun, but it grows almost as well with a few hours of shade each day, and even in light, dappled shade, such as near deciduous trees or on the north side of a house.

Maintenance and Pruning

Regular application of evergreen fertilizer, and thorough soil preparation, with plenty of rich organic material dug in, will give you the maximum growth from your Highlander Boxwood. Because of its vigorous growth it is generally free of pests and diseases, and regular clipping is beneficial for pest control. Make the first trim when the spring growth has darkened in color, and then as needed through the season, allowing time in fall for the last flush of leaves to mature before the cold of winter arrives. Always keep the upper part of your hedge narrower than the base, by sloping the sides inwards at a slight angle. This will keep your hedge dense and green right to the ground. A narrow top also gives protection from winter damage by ice and snow.

History and Origin of the Highlander Boxwood

American boxwood, Buxus sempervirens, arrived in America in 1653 with the first colonists and it has been popular ever since in all but the coldest zones. There are many different forms, and around 2000 Norman Cole III, who owns Cole Nursery, Pipestem, West Virginia, was tending to a block of boxwood he had grown from cuttings. Among them he spotted one that stood out – it had much darker-green foliage, and it had grown much taller than the others. He separated it and grew more from it, and after testing he realized how valuable this fast-growing bush was. He named it ‘Highlander’ and patented it in 2012, with Star® Roses and Plants, from West Grove, Pennsylvania, taking over its growing and distribution.

Buying the Highlander Boxwood at The Tree Center

You used to need incredible patience to grow boxwood hedges more than a couple of feet tall, but with the Highlander Boxwood that is a thing of the past. Order yours now and sharpen up those trimmers, because the hedge of your dreams is about to become a reality. But order now, while our limited stock lasts, as we would hate to disappoint you.

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Highlander Boxwood

Buxus sempervirens 'Highlander' (PP# 22,978)

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