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How Long Do Boxwood Shrubs Live?

Like many shrubs, boxwoods are woody plants that grow to a certain height and width, and then stay that way for a long time. Unlike some shrubs, however, boxwood shrubs tend to stay the same height and width indefinitely, and if properly cared for, can live for decades. 

Boxwood shrubs have been a favorite in yards and gardens for centuries because of their lush, dark green leaves and shrubby, compact shape. 

If you’re like me you must wonder how long these shrubs considered evergreens live. So, I sought to find out through publications both online and offline. 

To my surprise no publication gives us the answer precisely. 

However, I checked a few forums and in one of them, and one of the participants suggested that the boxwood that was their patio must have been there for more than 25 years.  

Even though I came out with a not so convincing answer, I was able to dig up some incredible gardening ideas and information.

For instance, I found the Washington Park Arboretum Bulletin that shows you how to take care of a boxwood container garden and other plants that can be used to decorate urban landscapes.

What is boxwood?

Boxwood shrubs have been a favorite in yards and gardens for centuries because of their lush, dark green leaves and shrubby, compact shape. 

As popular as they are, they’ve become an American tradition in the hedges lining the property of upscale homes.

I was actually surprised that they were not originally growing in the US. They were actually brought to America from Europe in the 1800s.

These shrubs are considered evergreens, despite the fact that they lose their leaves every fall.

Boxwood shrubs are tough little plants that can survive in a number of tough conditions. They grow in many climates, including desert climates and areas with colder winters, and they can grow in shady, well-lit, and even indoor environments.

They are a species of holly that belongs to the genus Buxus.

A common variety, Buxus sempervirens, is a fast-growing shrub that can reach 4 feet in height in three years, while other varieties can take up to a decade to reach the same height.

Like many shrubs, boxwoods are woody plants that grow to a certain height and width, and then stay that way for a long time.

Unlike some shrubs, however, boxwood shrubs tend to stay the same height and width indefinitely, and if properly cared for, can live for decades. 

Here’s how to get the most out of your boxwood shrubs so you can enjoy them for a long time.

Maintenance of a Boxwood Shrub

If you are looking to keep your boxwood shrubs looking their best, there are some simple and easy maintenance practices that will help you keep them shiny and green all year round. 

Boxwood shrubs are one of the most popular shrubs in North America, and for good reason. 

They are easy to care for and a lot of them are used in gardening and landscaping, so they are very easy to find at local nurseries and they are also affordable and easy to care for.

Here are a few nurturing tips that I think that can help get the most out of your boxwood shrubs.

  • Boxwood shrubs thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. The first step is to plant your boxwood shrub in a location where it will receive adequate water and sunlight, and then do whatever you can to provide those resources. 
  • In the spring, give the shrub a thorough pruning, and then apply a small amount of fertilizer on its soil. Boxwood shrubs are generally slow-growing with an upright, oval, bushy shape, but are often pruned into a square shape.
  • You should also apply an insecticide to prevent the shrubs from being eaten by pests. In the fall, you should repeat the pruning process, and then apply a different insecticide to ward off pests who may be looking for a warm place
  • If you have ever purchased a boxwood shrub that was already in the ground, then you already have a bit of the work done for you. The shrub should already have established roots, which means you do not have to dig up the shrub and move it to a new location. 
  • However, once you plant your new shrub, there is still work to do! Over time, the soil around the shrub will become compacted, and the roots will be limited in their ability to grow. In order to keep your shrub healthy, you must loosen the soil and encourage new root growth on a regular basis.
  • Keeping boxwood shrubs planted in a cluster is easy. Simply separate the shrubs by pulling them apart at the base. This will allow the roots to naturally spread out.
  • If the shrubs are in a large area, you can also dig a trench and spread the roots out as you place them in the trench.
  • Planting shrubs in clusters makes them look more natural and allows you to place more shrubs in the area than if you were to plant them individually.

Final thoughts

If you’re not interested in buying boxwood, you might wonder how long the shrubs last. As it turns out, these popular shrubs that add privacy and beauty to your home can live for more than 20 years.

A boxwood shrub is a prized addition to many lawns, particularly those of houses on the market. The shrub provides a uniform green backdrop to an otherwise casual, unkempt lawn. 

The shrub can be maintained by trimming it every other year. 

Although boxwood shrubs are somewhat low-maintenance plants, they are also delicate and will die if they are not properly cared for.

If you have a boxwood in your yard that is starting to look a bit ratty, don’t fret! 

This guide that I’ve put together lists the best ways to prune and care for boxwood shrubs so you’ll never have to battle overgrown boxwood shrubs again.

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