Everyone loves boxwood, for the neat evergreen look it brings to any garden. For hedges both short and taller, or for clipped specimens, it is ideal. Left to grow naturally it is also wonderful, and plants become more interesting as they grow older. Unfortunately for us, it is usually slow growing, but not always. Not only does the Rotundifolia Boxwood have unusually large leaves and a great deep green color, it is also incredibly fast growing, adding at least 9 inches a year, and capable of as much as 12 inches a year, with a little care. Imagine – a 5-foot boxwood hedge in just 5 years – how great is that?
Growing Rotundifolia Boxwood Shrubs
The Rotundifolia Boxwood is an upright evergreen shrub, densely branched and with a compact form. It grows to 6 or 8 feet tall in a few years, slowing down as it matures, if untrimmed. Older plants have been recorded as much as 25 feet tall, looking like small trees, although with trimming just about any size is easy to maintain. As its name suggests, one of the main differences between this plant and the ordinary American boxwood is the foliage. The glossy leaves are almost double the size of normal boxwood leaves, as they are 1¼ inches long and ⅓ of an inch across, while a regular boxwood has leaves about ¾ of an inch long and less than ½ inch wide. The thick, glossy leaves are very round, and they stand out from the stem almost horizontally. They are also a very deep green color, darkened by a bluish tone to the green, and young growth in spring has a silvery blue coloring – quite distinct from the normal light green of boxwood. In winter in colder zones the foliage may take on a bronzed-purple color, adding to the seasonal interest of this boxwood. All these features give the plant a more striking appearance that we see in regular boxwood, making it ideal not just for hedges, but also for evergreen specimens.
Use the Rotundifolia Boxwood for hedges and topiary, because its fast growth-rate makes it quick and easy to grow taller hedges, and to create elaborate trimmed topiary forms. It is prized by experts for this purpose. Grow it also as a trimmed or untrimmed evergreen in the foundation planting around your home, or in beds to give structure between your deciduous flowering shrubs. Growing boxwood untrimmed is rarely done, but we recommend it for the way the plants develop into unique specimens, full of character that only increases as they become older. If you want to do this, allow plenty of room for the ultimate spread of this plant, which could easily become 6 or 8 feet wide if untrimmed. For hedges, space plants 8 inches apart for hedges 12 inches tall or less, 12 inches apart for hedges up to 3 feet, and 18 inches apart for hedges up to 5 feet tall.
The Rotundifolia Boxwood grows well in full sun in cooler zones, and in partial shade anywhere. In hot zones it will grow in full shade, such as in the dappled shade beneath large trees, or on the north side of a wall, but not in deep shade beneath other evergreens. It grows best in moist, well-drained soil, but boxwood bushes are not particular about soil, and they grow well in most ordinary garden soils. Avoid areas that are constantly wet. Regular watering will give the best results and the fastest growth, although plants have moderate drought tolerance once they are established. Trimming can be done between spring and fall. In spring wait until the flush of new growth has darkened in color before trimming, and don’t trim too late in fall, so that new growth has time to mature before the coldest weather arrives. When trimming hedges, always keep the top a little narrower than the bottom, to maintain the vigor of the lower branches, which will keep your hedge lush and full right to the ground. Regular fertilizer applications will keep trimmed plants lush and vigorous, and spring mulch will conserve moisture and keep the soil cool. Boxwood is subject to some pests or diseases, but good drainage, watering during dry spells, and fertilizing will usually keep your plants healthy and growing well. Deer normally leave boxwood alone, but they are ultimately not always predicable.
History and Origins of Rotundifolia Boxwood Shrubs
The Rotundifolia Boxwood is a variety of the American boxwood, Buxus sempervirens, which is not American, but European. It was brought over by the early settlers, to re-create the formal gardens they admired in their homes. The smaller English Boxwood is a variety of this plant, called ‘Suffruticosa’, and it is the one most used for small hedges below 12 inches. The form called ‘Rotundifolia’ was described first by the French botanist Henri Baillon in 1859, but he doesn’t indicate its origin. It is sometimes called the German Boxwood, which suggests it came from that country originally, but we simply don’t know anymore. Our plants are grown from stem pieces, not seed, to preserve the exact characteristics of this unique boxwood. If you like evergreens, you will love this one, for its special foliage, its vigorous growth and its great form. Our stock is limited, so order now for that boxwood hedge in the fastest time possible, or for some unique specimens in your garden.