Buxus harlandii

Overall Plant
Common Name: Harland boxwood 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Buxaceae
Native Range: Southern China, Hong Kong
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Pale yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-9 where it is easily grown in evenly moist but well-drained loams (e.g., 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. When grown in full sun, plant foliage is more likely to bronze in winter. Limited cold tolerance. Established plants have some drought tolerance. Should be grown in a protected location sheltered from strong winds in the northern parts of Zone 7 where it is marginally winter hardy. Winter winds can remove moisture from leaves at a rapid rate, often resulting in dehydration and bronzing. True species may be winter hardy to Zone 8, but B. harlandii of gardens (form of B. microphylla - see below) may have slightly better winter hardiness.

Plants prefer soils with a pH of slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. Plants are generally tolerant of pruning and shearing. 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” thick). Thin plants and remove dead/damaged branches annually to improve air circulation. Carefully remove heavy snow accumulations as quickly as practicable to minimize stem/branch damage.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Buxus harlandii, commonly known as Harland boxwood, is a small, bushy, multi-stemmed broadleaf evergreen shrub with a rounded vase-shaped form. It typically grows to 2-3’ (infrequently to 5’) tall and as wide. It is native to southern China where it is often found growing in open wooded areas and stream margins. Bright green leaves are oblanceolate to obovate-oblong (to 1.25” long). Each leaf has an indentation at the leaf tip. Fragrant pale yellow flowers bloom in April–May. Staminate flowers are stalked but pistilate ones are sessile. Attractive white trunk accents.

Many plants sold in North America under this species name are in reality forms of Buxus microphylla.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for plants in this genus.

Common name of boxwood is in reference to the prior use of the wood of some plants in he genus to make boxes. Another theory on common name is that the name is in reference to young plant stems which are quadrangular (square box cross section).


Harland boxwood requires little special care other than annual pruning. No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to blights and leaf spot. Root rot can also be a problem in poorly-drained soils. The three main insect pests of boxwoods are boxwood leafminer, boxwood mite and boxwood psyllid. In the deep South, nematodes are of concern. New growth is particularly susceptible to winter damage.


Hedge, borders, foundations. Good specimen/accent. Excellent selection for bonsai. Sometimes grown in containers in the deep South.