Everybody loves boxwood bushes, for their easy growth and the way they make such beautiful hedges, balls, cones and other trimmed features around the garden. We all love the look, but we don’t all love the trimming needed to keep that look. If you don’t either, then the North Star® Boxwood is exactly what you are looking for. This beautiful rich-green shrub grows so densely, with such tightly-packed branches, that it makes perfect hedges and balls all by itself, without any need to trim. A more relaxed look to formal features is fashionable, so it’s perfect OK to have the odd leaf or two out of line – put away your shears and plant the North Star Boxwood for relaxed gardening and easy living. Plus, this variety is hardier than most, and stays healthy green all through zone 5 – yes, that’s right.
The North Star Boxwood is a slower-growing dwarf boxwood, that will reach around 2½ feet tall and wide. It has an incredibly tight and dense branching structure, and the leaves are tightly packed along the stems, so it naturally has that dense ‘clipped’ look that we must work hard to achieve in other varieties. Somebody actually took the trouble to count the number of branches in a six-year-old plant, and there were over 2,000, and the plant had never even been clipped! The smooth, glossy, deep green leaves are less than an inch long, with a dense, leathery texture. There is less than a quarter-inch between each pair of leaves on the stems, which, combined with the way this plant is constantly branching out, creates that great dense look.
Growing North Star Boxwood Shrubs
There are many ways to use the North Star Boxwood in your garden. Planted 12 inches apart in a row, they will make a perfect miniature hedge that you can use to line a bed along a path, or in a lawn. You can use it to make geometrical edges, such as squares or perfect circles, or use it less formally along the undulating edge of a bed in your lawn. In beds it can be used to make attractive accents balls – it grows untrimmed into almost perfect spheres. You can also use it in planter and pots – the classic round boxwood in an attractive pot is always a favorite way to frame an entrance or line the edge of a terrace. It really gives a touch of elegance to any garden.
The North Star Boxwood is hardy almost everywhere, from zone 5 to zone 9, and it doesn’t turn brown in winter in colder zones – a big plus for gardeners who have struggled to grow boxwood in cold places. You can plant the North Star Boxwood in a wide variety of light conditions. It grows perfectly happily in full sun; partial shade with just a few hours of direct sun a day; in the shade of a wall or fence; or in full shade beneath deciduous trees. It will grow a bit less dense the more shade it is in, but only if you plant it deep under heavy evergreens will it begin to grow poorly. It also grows in just about any kind of soil, from sand to clay, and in both acidic and alkaline soils. The soil should be well-drained, and not constantly wet and boggy, but otherwise your plants will be happy. For the very best growth, add plenty of rich organic material to the soil when you prepare it for planting, and mulch in fall or spring over the roots, keeping it off the foliage. This variety has been found to be more resistant to the pests that can affect boxwood, and if grown in well-drained soil, diseases will rarely happen. Of course, if you do want that super-neat look, you can trim the North Star Boxwood just like any other one – you just don’t have to.
History and Origins of North Star Boxwood Shrubs
The American boxwood, Buxus semperivirens, isn’t really from America at all, but from England and Europe. It was introduced very early into the colonies, for the formal gardens that were so fashionable at the time. Later, in Europe, a dwarf form called ‘Suffruticosa’ became the normal form used there, and we know that one as the English boxwood. There are many varieties of boxwood, with different shapes. One old variety, called ‘Welleri’, dating back to 1945, is an attractive plant, but it needs regular clipping to keep it neat and round. It does have one advantage, and that is cold hardiness, staying green and fresh all through zone 5.
In 1990, at the Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, Michigan, Gerard Katerberg noticed an unusual stem growing on a plant of ‘Welleri’. It had very dense branching and tighter leaves. When he used it to create new plants, be found that he had discovered a new variety, which was much denser and more compact than its parent, but just as winter-hardy. He grew it carefully for years to study exactly how well it would perform, named it ‘Katerberg’, and in 2005 he received a patent for it. This is the plant we know as North Star®, a registered trade name, and it is marketed by Spring Meadow under their Proven Winners® label. Our plants are true to type, and they will give you hardy, rich-green and compact boxwood bushes you will love to grow. Order now, because the demand for the best boxwoods is always high, and our stock will not last long.