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Growing Boxwood Alternatives

June 19, 2024
Written by The Eising Team

The much-loved boxwood hedge has been a classic for centuries and is widely used in gardens worldwide. Neatly trimmed and manicured boxwood becomes the framework for containing everything from roses to riots of perennial blooms. From extensive estate gardens to small and modest yards, boxwood is a versatile shrub that earned its place by being easy to care for and prune.

Unfortunately, this staple shrub has trouble brewing, which impacts its leafy lifespan. 

Since its first appearance in Ontario in 2014, the Boxwood Blight has become a significant concern for gardeners. However, the University of Guelph is not sitting idly by. They are actively researching this issue and working hard to find solutions to protect beloved boxwood shrubs.

Sometimes, being popular isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Because Boxwood is a widely planted favourite, a new pest attracted to it, the Boxwood Moth (from Asia), has easily spread and is infecting shrubs.

Beautiful Boxwood Alternatives

Boxwood Blight and Boxwood Moth do pose severe threats to Boxwood shrubs, but here's the good news—many shrubs make great alternatives! Using a similar shrub is one of the simplest solutions to Boxwood's issues. You have lots of options to protect and diversify your garden.

Inkberry Holly

The closest Boxwood lookalike is the Inkberry holly. It naturally grows in a rounded evergreen mound, can be trimmed like a traditional boxwood hedge, and has other enticing bonuses! Not only is it native to North America, but unlike boxwood, it blooms. In the spring, Inkberry holly is covered in showy white flowers, making it a standout alternative to boxwood. Here at Eising Greenhouses, look for Gem Box Inkberry Holly.


Upright Junipers

Blue Arrow and Moffat Blue Junipers make beautiful hedges and stand-alone accent trees. Both have an elegant upright form, striking blue evergreen foliage, and silvery blue berries from late spring to late fall. If that isn’t enticing enough, add drought tolerance to the list of features!

Showy Shapes and Standards

Consider a standard evergreen or a dwarf variety that has been pruned and sculpted to become a piece of art if you want to add something even more unusual. What’s a standard? It’s usually a single trunk with a plant at the top, like a compact evergreen shrub. 

Standards and shaped dwarf evergreens can make a bold statement or add wonderful whimsy to your garden. We have lots to choose from, but here are a few examples to get your imagination going!

When it comes to replacing boxwood, there are many creative solutions and beautiful plants to choose from!

For more information:

Landscape Ontario - Boxwood Blight and Boxwood Moth 

Toronto Master Gardeners - Rethinking Boxwood

Canada.ca - Box tree Moth

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