Buxus microphylla 'Green Pillow'
Common Name: boxwood
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Buxaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Greenish-cream
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer

Culture

Best grown in evenly moist, well-drained loams (sand-clay mixture) in full sun to part shade. Plants will grow well in a variety of part-shade situations, including open sun-dappled conditions or light shade with several hours of morning sun or early afternoon sun. Plants can grow in close to full shade, but typically are less vigorous and more open with decreased foliage density. When grown in full sun, plant foliage is more likely to scorch, bronze in winter or suffer from mite attacks. Plants prefer soils with a pH of slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. Plants are generally tolerant of pruning and shearing as needed. Pruning should never be done prior to the last spring frost date. Pruning too early in spring often promotes tender new growth that may be damaged or killed by a late spring frost. Avoid cultivating around plants because they have shallow roots. Roots appreciate a good organic (e.g., bark or compost) mulch (1-2”). Thin plants and remove dead/damaged branches annually to improve air circulation. This boxwood is best sited in locations sheltered from strong winds and full day winter sun. Winter winds can remove moisture from leaves at a rapid rate, often resulting in dehydration and bronzing. Carefully remove heavy snow accumulations from plants as quickly as practicable to minimize stem/branch damage. Plants may be propagated by cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Buxus microphylla, commonly called littleleaf boxwood, is a slow-growing, densely-branched, broadleaf evergreen shrub. Most cultivars sold in commerce today mature over time to 3-4' tall. Tiny, rounded, leathery, elliptic to obovate, medium green leaves (1/3" to 1" long) with blunt tips are evergreen. Leaves may bronze in winter, but good green color usually returns by mid-spring. Axillary petalless fragrant spring flowers are inconspicuous.

'Green Pillow' is a low-mounded, dwarf cultivar that grows from a single trunk to form a dense, cushion-like, green dome. Tiny green leaves of variable shapes (generally ovate to obovate) grow to 9/16" long. 'Green Pillow' will grow to only 10-12" tall over the first 10 years. Plants placed in the White House rose gardens in the 1960s have over time grown to mounds measuring over 3' tall. 'Green Pillow' was introduced into commerce in 1962 by Henry Hohman.

Problems

Boxwoods can be somewhat temperamental plants to grow in the St. Louis area where the evergreen foliage tends to bronze (turn unattractive brownish-yellow) in harsh winters, particularly if plants are located in open areas where exposed to full sun and winter winds. No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to blights and leaf spot. Root rot can also be a problem in poorly-drained soils. Plants are susceptible to boxwood leafminer and boxwood mites, but are usually not affected by boxwood psyllid.

Garden Uses

Slow-growing, dwarf boxwood for small places in the landscape. Specimen, mass or edging. Low hedge. Foundations.