Winter Gem BoxwoodBuxus microphylla var. japonica 'Winter Gem'
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Buxus microphylla var. japonica 'Winter Gem'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is the ‘go-to’ boxwood for colder areas of the country. Much more hardy than other boxwoods, it will stay fresh and green all winter, even with temperatures falling to minus 20. If you want boxwood hedges, balls and other clipped shapes, or just want a naturally-dense and rounded evergreen shrub, this reliable plant will give you what you want. If you live in a colder area, such as zone 5, you may already have tried to grow boxwood and given up, because of winter browning and die-back. This time you can succeed, with a plant that is very hardy, normally pest and disease free, and not even eaten by deer. It will naturally grow 3 to 5 feet tall, with a broad, rounded shape, or with clipping it makes a beautiful hedge anything from one foot to 4 feet tall. It also clips easily into balls or pyramids, or into any geometric shape.
Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood grows well in a wide range of light conditions, from full sun to moderate shade, and it will thrive in any kind of soil that is not constantly wet. A little fertilizer in spring is all that is needed to keep the neat foliage glossy and rich-green colored, making the perfect neutral color to show off your flowers and shrubs. Once established it is tolerant of normal summer dry periods, and if you don’t feel like trimming, but want an attractive background evergreen shrub, it will be that too.
As gardens move north, the most striking change is in the numbers of broad-leaf evergreens that will grow, since so many are damaged by low winter temperatures. Boxwood was brought to America by the early settlers, but the plant was found to not be very hardy, and it was only with the much later introduction of boxwood species from the Far East that hardy forms became available for cold gardens. Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is perhaps the best of those hardy forms, and it is the ideal way to build a boxwood hedge, or have clipped boxwood balls, if you live in colder places.
Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is an evergreen shrub with small, glossy, rich-green leaves. It grows naturally into a mound up to 5 feet tall and 3 or 4 feet across, but it is easily clipped and is mostly seen in gardens as a clipped hedge. The more it is clipped, the denser and more compact it becomes, so that beautiful hedges anything from 12 inches to 4 feet tall can be created. These are perfect for edging beds and giving structure to your garden. They are usually used in a formal way, in straight lines, but creative gardeners also plant circles, curves and other patterns. Features like balls and small pyramids, and even cubes, can also be formed in a short time, making this a versatile plant for all kinds of gardens. For the busier gardener, unclipped boxwood naturally grows into interesting dense, rounded shrubs that are perfect for background planting to compliment more showy plants.
The most valuable feature of Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is its relative hardiness. Winters reaching minus 20 degrees do not bother it, and with a little protection it will tolerate even colder conditions. Only in the far north-east and north-central states will growth be limited by winter cold. Everywhere else, from Florida to the Great Lakes and all through the west, now you can enjoy the calm beauty of boxwood hedges and clipped specimens using this great plant.
The other great thing about Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is its versatility in different light levels and soils. It will grow well in all light levels from full sun to light full shade. Although it will even grow in deep full shade, the growth will be slower and the plants less dense. The shade from deciduous trees is easily tolerated, that from evergreens less so. As for soil, any well-drained garden soil, from sand to clay, will suit this plant just fine. Some organic material mixed into the planting soil is always appreciated, and a mulch over the roots in late fall, especially in the coldest areas, is a good idea too. In the early few years, regular watering and fertilizing will help your plants become well-established and grow rapidly into the dense hedge you are looking for. After that they are unaffected by normal summer dryness, and only need fertilizer if the leaves lose their rich green color.
For a hedge, place your plants 12 to 24 inches apart, using the wider spacer for taller hedges. For a hedge under 12 inches tall, space the plants 8 inches apart. Begin to clip your boxwood almost as soon as it is planted, trimming lightly and regularly to encourage dense growth. One of the good things about Winter Gem is its natural dense growth, creating a good hedge even with light clipping. Do not clip after early fall in colder areas, and do not clip during the winter – wait until warmer weather arrives.
The little-leaf boxwood, Buxus microphylla, is a native of China, Japan and Korea. It has been grown in Korean, Japanese and Chinese gardens for centuries, loved for its compact form and ability to be clipped into different shapes. It quickly became popular in the Northeastern states when gardeners there discovered that the English boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) was not very hardy and suffers in the winter anywhere colder than zone 6. The Japanese boxwood, Buxus microphylla var. japonica, has become very popular because it is entirely hardy in zone 5, without burning. The variety ‘Winter Gem’ is a selected form of the Japanese Boxwood introduced in 1982 by John Vermeulen & Son Inc., New Jersey. Its new growth is light green, but matures into a rich, glossy green that always looks attractive at every season. Avoid seedling forms or other unnamed varieties, which may be cheaper but will always be very much inferior to the real thing.
The Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is a very useful garden plant, whether clipped into a hedge, as specimens, or left to grow naturally. It is always a popular variety with knowledgeable gardeners, so we know that our stocks will not last long. Order now and you will soon be enjoying this top boxwood for the coldest places.
The best time to plant Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is in the early spring or fall. This allows the plant to establish its root system in moderate temperatures before the heat of summer or the chill of winter. However, given its hardiness, it can be planted at any time of the year as long as you provide it with adequate care.
Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood does not require frequent watering. Once established, it can tolerate normal summer dry periods. However, during the first few years after planting, regular watering will help the plant become well-established. After that, you should only water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch.
Yes, Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood can be grown in containers. It’s a versatile plant that can adapt to a variety of conditions. Just make sure to use a well-drained soil and place the container in a location where the plant will receive adequate light. Also, remember that container plants generally require more frequent watering than those planted in the ground.
Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of ways in landscape design. It can be clipped into hedges, balls, pyramids, or any geometric shape. It can also be used to edge beds and give structure to your garden. If left unclipped, it grows into a dense, rounded shrub that can serve as a beautiful background for more showy plants.
Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is a robust plant that is normally free from pests and diseases. However, like any plant, it can occasionally be affected by common garden pests such as aphids or diseases such as root rot. Regular inspection of your plant and prompt action at the first sign of trouble can help keep your Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood healthy and vibrant.
To encourage dense growth in your Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood, regular clipping is recommended. The more it is clipped, the denser and more compact it becomes. However, even without clipping, this plant has a naturally dense growth. So, whether you prefer a manicured or a more natural look, you can achieve a lush, dense appearance with this plant.
Yes, Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is known for its ability to tolerate a range of challenging conditions, including pollution. This makes it a good choice for urban gardens or landscapes near roads or highways where pollution levels may be higher.
Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood does not require heavy fertilization. A little fertilizer in spring is usually sufficient to keep the foliage glossy and rich-green colored. A slow-release granular or liquid fertilizer designed for evergreen shrubs can be used. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying fertilizer.
Yes, Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood is an excellent choice for bonsai. Its ability to be clipped into a variety of shapes and its compact form make it a popular choice for this ancient art form. With proper care and attention, you can create a beautiful and unique bonsai with this plant.
Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood can be propagated by semi-hardwood cuttings. This involves taking a cutting from the plant during the late summer or early fall, planting it in a well-drained soil mix, and keeping it in a protected location until it develops roots. However, keep in mind that this is a selected form of the Japanese Boxwood, so seedlings or other unnamed varieties may not have the same desirable characteristics.