Winter Gem Boxwood

Buxus microphylla var. japonica 'Winter Gem'

11 Reviews

Winter Gem Boxwood

Buxus microphylla var. japonica 'Winter Gem'

11 Reviews


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


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.

  • Top-choice boxwood for colder areas
  • Ideal for small to medium-sized hedges
  • Clips well into balls and low pyramids
  • Attractive, dense growth even without clipping
  • Completely hardy in zone 5, without burning

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.

Plant Hardiness Zones 5-9
Mature Width 2-4
Mature Height 2-5
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 5-9

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.

Growing Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood

Size and Appearance

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.

Soil Conditions and Sun Exposure

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.

Using as a Hedge

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.

History and Origins of the Winter Gem Japanese Boxwood

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.

Adding Winter Gem Boxwoods to Your Property

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.

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Winter Gem Boxwood

Buxus microphylla var. japonica 'Winter Gem'

11 Reviews