3Gal 12-15" Winter Gem Boxwood Buxus microphylla var. japonica 'Winter Gem'
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.