Boxwood (Buxus Sempervirens ‘Variegata’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Understanding Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’)

What is Plant: Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’)

Boxwood (Buxus spp.) is a popular evergreen shrub that belongs to the Buxaceae family. It is native to Western and Southern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. The ‘Variegata’ variety of Buxus sempervirens is known for its distinctive variegated leaves, adding visual interest to gardens and landscapes. This compact, slow-growing shrub is commonly used for hedging, topiaries, borders, and containers.

Key Takeaways – Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’)

  • Scientific Name: Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’
  • Common Name: Variegated Boxwood
  • Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Growth Rate: Slow
  • Mature Size: 3-5 feet tall and wide
  • Uses: Hedging, topiaries, borders, containers
  • Characteristics: Variegated leaves, dense growth habit
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-8
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (6.5-7.5)

Now, let’s delve into the comprehensive care guide for the boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’).


Cultivating boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) requires attention to several cultural aspects that contribute to its health and appearance.


The boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) is a versatile plant with several uses in landscaping and gardening.

Landscaping and Gardening Uses

  • Hedging: Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) is commonly used for creating formal or informal hedges due to its dense growth habit and ease of pruning.
  • Topiaries: Its compact growth and ability to withstand frequent shaping make it an ideal choice for creating various topiary forms and designs.
  • Borders: The variegated foliage and neat habit of this boxwood variety make it well-suited for edging perennial borders or pathways.
  • Containers: Its slow growth, small size, and attractive foliage make it an excellent choice for container gardening, adding structure and interest to outdoor spaces.


Proper watering is essential for the health and vigor of boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’). Understanding its water needs is crucial for maintaining its growth and appearance.

Watering Guidelines

  • Established Plants: Water deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Provide approximately 1-2 inches of water per week during dry spells, adjusting based on weather conditions and soil moisture levels.
  • Newly Planted Boxwoods: Ensure consistent moisture for the first growing season to help the roots establish. Water deeply immediately after planting, and continue to monitor soil moisture.


Understanding the sunlight requirements of boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) is essential for ensuring its optimal growth and appearance.

Sunlight Preferences

  • Full Sun to Partial Shade: Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) thrives in a location with full sun to partial shade. It performs best when provided with morning sun and afternoon shade, especially in warmer climates. In hot regions, partial shade can help prevent leaf scorch.


Proper fertilization is vital for maintaining the health and vigor of boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’).

Fertilizing Recommendations

  • Timing: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring before new growth begins. Additionally, a light application in late summer can provide supplementary nutrients.
  • Fertilizer Type: Use a fertilizer specifically formulated for acid-loving plants or a general-purpose, well-balanced fertilizer. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application rates.
  • Application Method: Spread the fertilizer evenly over the root zone of the boxwood and water thoroughly to aid in the nutrient absorption.


Understanding the soil requirements of boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) is essential for ensuring its healthy growth and appearance.

Soil Characteristics

  • Well-Drained Soil: Boxwood thrives in well-drained, loamy soil. Avoid waterlogged or compacted soil, as it can lead to root rot and other issues.
  • Soil pH: Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil with a pH range of 6.5-7.5. Amending the soil with organic matter can help improve its structure and fertility.


Proper pruning is essential for maintaining the shape, density, and overall appearance of boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’).

Pruning Guidelines

  • Timing: Prune boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) in late winter to early spring before new growth emerges. Avoid pruning in late summer or early fall, as it can stimulate new growth that may not harden off before winter.
  • Techniques: Use sharp, clean pruning tools to make precise cuts. Shape the shrub as desired, removing any dead, damaged, or overgrown branches. Regular light pruning can help maintain the desired form and size.


Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) can be propagated through various methods to expand its presence in the landscape or create new plants for personal enjoyment.

Propagation Techniques

  1. Stem Cuttings: Take 4-6 inch semi-hardwood cuttings in late summer or early fall. Dip the cut ends in a rooting hormone, and plant them in a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide bottom heat to encourage root development.
  2. Layering: Select a low-growing branch and wound a section of the stem. Bury the wounded portion in the soil, keeping it in place with a stake or rock. Once roots form, the layered section can be separated and planted as a new boxwood.

Container Popularity

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) is a popular choice for container gardening due to its compact size, slow growth, and attractive foliage.

  • Container Selection: Choose a well-draining container that allows for sufficient root growth. Consider using a container with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
  • Cultural Considerations: Container-grown boxwood may require more frequent watering and fertilization compared to plants in the ground. Monitor soil moisture and fertility levels to ensure optimal growth.

Container Common Diseases

Understanding common diseases affecting container-grown boxwood is crucial for implementing proper preventive measures and management strategies.

Common Diseases in Container-Grown Boxwood

  1. Boxwood Blight (Calonectria pseudonaviculata): This fungal disease can cause rapid defoliation and dieback of affected plants. It thrives in high humidity and can spread through infected plant material and contaminated tools.
  2. Phytophthora Root Rot: Waterlogged conditions in containers can lead to the development of root rot caused by Phytophthora species. Symptoms include wilting, yellowing leaves, and root decay.

Disease Diagnosis

Timely diagnosis of diseases affecting boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) is crucial for implementing effective management strategies.

Disease Identification

  • Visual Symptoms: Look for signs of unusual leaf spots, leaf blight, defoliation, or dieback.
  • Laboratory Analysis: If necessary, submit samples to a plant pathology laboratory for accurate disease diagnosis. This can help identify the specific pathogen and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Common Pests

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) is susceptible to attack by various pests that can diminish its health and appearance.

Pest Management

  1. Boxwood Leafminer (Monarthropalpus flavus): The larvae of this pest feed within the leaves, causing visible blotches and leaf discoloration. Regular monitoring and timely insecticide applications can help manage infestations.
  2. Boxwood Mite (Eurytetranychus buxi): These tiny pests feed on the undersides of leaves, causing stippling and bronze discoloration. Horticultural oil applications can help control mite populations.

Botanist’s Tips

Here are some expert tips for cultivating and caring for boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’):

  • Regular Monitoring: Keep a close eye on the foliage for any signs of discoloration, disease, or pest infestations. Early detection can facilitate prompt intervention.
  • Proper Air Circulation: Ensure adequate spacing between boxwood plants to promote good air circulation, reducing the risk of foliar diseases.

Fun Facts

  • Boxwood has been used since ancient times for crafting various items such as boxes, combs, and decorative woodwork.
  • The wood of boxwood is known for its fine grain and natural resistance to splitting, making it highly valued for carving and engraving.

Now that we have explored the comprehensive care guide for boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’), let’s delve into some useful external resources that provide additional information and insights about this popular shrub.

Links to External Resources

  1. American Boxwood Society – A comprehensive resource for information on various boxwood species, including care guides, cultivation tips, and historical significance.
  2. Royal Horticultural Society – Boxwood – Detailed information on the cultivation, uses, and common issues related to boxwood plants.
  3. University of Maryland Extension – Boxwood Blight – In-depth resources on identifying and managing boxwood blight, a significant disease affecting boxwood shrubs.
  4. North Carolina State University – Boxwood Pest Management – An extensive guide to identifying and managing common pests of boxwood plants.
  5. Missouri Botanical Garden – Boxwood Care Overview – Visual and informative resources outlining the care practices for boxwood, including pruning, fertilization, and disease management.

By leveraging these external resources, enthusiasts and horticulturalists can further enhance their understanding of boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) and its cultivation, care, and maintenance.

In conclusion, the boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’) is a valuable addition to gardens and landscapes, offering year-round visual appeal, versatility in landscaping, and a rich history of utility and craftsmanship. By adhering to the comprehensive care guidelines and leveraging the information from external resources, enthusiasts can cultivate and enjoy the enduring beauty and elegance of this beloved evergreen shrub.

Remember that while plant care guidelines are universal, local climatic and soil conditions can influence specific care needs. Always consider the unique environmental factors in your region when cultivating and caring for boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’).

Enjoy the process of nurturing and appreciating the timeless allure of boxwood in your outdoor spaces!

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Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.