Boxwood is a long-time favorite with gardeners, used for low and medium-sized hedges, and of course for all those charming balls, pyramids, cones and other clipped forms that bring grace, elegance and permanence to a garden. Whether used for a completely formal look, or as valuable accents and edging in a more casual garden, they are indispensable. There great value lies not only in being easily clipped into dense forms, and in their small leaves, that enhance the tight look, but also in their ‘always green’ look – fresh and bright in every season. Sadly, in colder areas, that reliable green can easily be marred by winter bronzing and browning, making the plants look dull and less attractive. Secondly, the practical task of creating upright shapes can be slowed down a lot by the natural tendency of most boxwoods to grow outwards as much or more as they grow upwards. This means that pillars and cones can be harder and slower to make that round shapes.
The Uptight Boxwood solves both of these problems. It is completely hardy throughout zones 4 and 5, never turning bronze in winter and keeping a perfect green color throughout the coldest parts of the year. Even in the coldest parts of zone 4 it will only show a little bronzing, and quickly return to full green with the first growth of spring. It even stays green in conditions when the Wintergreen Boxwood begins to bronze, and that variety is usually considered, as the name suggests, one of the best for areas with cold winters. As well, it grows naturally into an informal upright column that needs no trimming at all to be dense and a perfect accent. It will grow 5 to 7 feet tall – easily big enough for any topiary needs. Yet it will stay no more than 3 feet wide, so all its energy goes into upwards growth. Very quickly you can create a substantial cone, pyramid or column, depending on your design needs and trimming skills. Not only that, this plant offers the quickest way yet to produce a taller boxwood hedge. Space the plants 18 or even 24 inches apart, and in a few years you can have a 5 foot hedge of beautiful, soft foliage with a very fine visual texture.
Korean boxwood (Buxus sinica var. insularis) is a relative of the Japanese boxwood. These tough Asian boxwoods grow where the European boxwood early settlers brought to America will not. In areas colder than zone 6 the leaves of European boxwood will turn an ugly bronzy color in winter and young growth or whole branches can easily die. The Asian boxwoods are a much better choice, but even they can bronze near the limits of their hardiness. Not the Uptight Boxwood, which was selected precisely for its persistent green coloring. It also grows well in warmer climates, so it makes a great choice even down into Florida and southern California – wherever you live this is the perfect boxwood wherever you need height and narrowness.
The Uptight Boxwood is a variety of the Korean boxwood discovered in1989 by Robert J. Roberson at his nursery in Grain Valley, Missouri. He spotted an unusual growth on one plant in a field of Wintergreen boxwood he was growing. He grew it separately and soon noticed how green it stayed through the winter, without any bronzing of the leaves, as happens in many other boxwood plants. After a decade of growing and testing the plant, he patented it and released it for the enjoyment of gardeners. Because of its special origin, this plant must be carefully reproduced from stem pieces taken from plants of the correct variety. You may see cheaper boxwood bushes available, but these will always be of uncertain origin, and they will certainly not be the unique and reliable Uptight Boxwood.
Choose a location anywhere from full sun to moderate shade for your Uptight Boxwood plants. They will grow in almost any soil that it is well-drained. Use an evergreen fertilizer regularly, as clipped plants need more nutrients than ones that grow without trimming. Although when established this plant is moderately drought-resistant, it will grow faster and sturdier with a good supply of water, especially during hot, dry periods and in the early growing seasons. Oh, one other important thing – this plant is normally never eaten by deer, so you do not need to worry if your garden is visited in winter by those pesky critters. As an added bonus, this particular boxwood flowers more than many others do, with pink buds opening to tiny white flowers with a rich perfume. These are produced more on plants that are not clipped regularly.
The Uptight Boxwood is new to gardens, and it has created a sensation for its hardiness and unique growth pattern. At the Tree Center we have been fortunate enough to obtain some top-grade specimens, but we know that our limited supply will not last long. To take advantage of the upright growth and winter green of this special plant, order now, as we cannot guarantee to keep plants in stock.