The boxwoods are profusely branched evergreen shrubs widely used in landscaping, especially for hedges and foundation plantings. There are some 70 species of boxwoods, but only two are commonly found in cultivation: this one and common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens). But those two species have given us hundreds of botanical varieties, horticultural cultivars and hybrids of garden origin to choose from. All the boxwoods have small, opposite, evergreen leaves. They produce small star shaped yellowish green pistillate (female) and staminate (male) flowers on the same plants. The flowers are not showy, but are quite fragrant. The star points are actually sepals - boxwood flowers have no petals. The flowers are in clusters consisting of a single female flower in the center, surrounded by several male flowers, recognized by their conspicuous yellow anthers. Littleleaf boxwood has very small leaves, just 3/4 in (1.9 cm) long, and considerably thinner in texture (almost transparent) than those of other boxwoods. They are elliptic-oblong, and dark green, usually turning a rather ugly bronze in winter. Littleleaf boxwood grows in a dense rounded mound, 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) tall and 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m) across.
Culture Littleleaf boxwood responds very well to pruning. Hedges and plants used for edging can be trimmed in summer. Hard, rejuvenating pruning and major shaping should be done in late spring and followed by a dose of fertilizer and mulch. Don't cultivate around the shallow-rooted boxwoods.
The boxwoods, including littleleaf boxwood, do well in partial shade. Newly transplanted plants especially, should be protected from midday sun. Established boxwoods do fine in full sun up North, but should be positioned in partial shade in the South.
Boxwoods have shallow roots, so they should be mulched well and watered when the soil gets dry, especially if positioned in full sun.
Hardiness USDA Zones 5 - 9. The cultivars of var. japonica are the most cold-hardy, and some of them are reported to be hardy to zone 4. Propagation Boxwood cuttings are fairly easy to root; take semiripe tip shoots in summer and root in a moist potting medium under mist or under a plastic "tent." The species and even some of the cultivars can be propagated from seeds, which require 2-3 months of chilling before they will germinate.
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