Buxus is a genus of about 70 evergreen shrubs in the Buxaceae family. One of the more popular cultivars in this genus is a green velvet boxwood. The aromatic green velvet boxwood is very versatile and may be used in formal and informal landscaping. It also grows well in container gardens. This Buxus cultivar is cold-hardy, relatively resistant to disease, and easy to care for.
Green velvet boxwood is native to Ontario, Canada, and was bred specifically to grow in cold locations. It grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones four through eight, which means that it can tolerate temperatures as low as -30° Fahrenheit (-34° Celsius). This boxwood cultivar prefers full sun exposure, but will grow in a location that is partially shaded. Plants can be grown in moist, but not soggy, soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 7.5, which is slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.
This boxwood cultivar may be 24-48 inches (61-122 cm) tall and have a spread about the same size. In April and May, this boxwood produces small clusters of yellowish cream-colored blooms. The blooms are quite inconspicuous and short-lived, but do have a nice fragrance while they last. This shrub is grown primarily for its small, shiny, dark green foliage.
The green velvet boxwood is usually associated with formal colonial gardens. Today, it is used in commercial landscaping, singly or with multiple plants trimmed into a hedge. Boxwood also makes an excellent backdrop for flowers or other plants, as a walkway border, or can be grown in large containers. Unpruned plants will form small round mounds, but the green velvet boxwood is very easily pruned into any shape. Examples of this can be seen in amusement parks where the plants are sometimes trimmed to look like animals, letters, or other shapes. Gardeners who want a more formal look can prune this plant as a topiary.
These plants are relatively easy to care for and do not require a lot of attention to keep them looking healthy. Boxwoods are propagated by simply taking stem cuttings. Since they have shallow root systems, the plants do need to be mulched well, particularly during winter in cold climates. The green velvet boxwood may need to be fertilized in the spring and in fall.
This particular cultivar is more resistant to pests and diseases than many of the other boxwood cultivars. Even so, gardeners should watch for any signs of root rot or canker disease. Root rot can be prevented by planting in well-drained soil and not overwatering. Insects that may infest the plants include the boxwood leaf miner, boxwood webworm, and nematodes. If the green velvet boxwood becomes infested with these pests, they can be eradicated with an insecticidal soap meant for use on this plant.