The Difference Between Wintergreen & Japanese Boxwood

Boxwoods (Buxus genus) are common hedges grown for their winter interest and evergreen tendencies. The Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. Japonica) comes in several distinct varieties. The “Wintergreen” boxwood (Buxus sinica var. insularis “Wintergreen”) is a Korean boxwood. Both look very like they have glossy, evergreen leaves. “Wintergreen” has inconspicuous, yellow flowers in spring while Japanese boxwoods tend to possess inconspicuous, creamy white flowers. Japanese boxwoods will change in hardiness, although the “National” variety is hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 9. “Wintergreen” is hardy from USDA zones 4 to 9.

Height and Spread

Height is a significant gap between the Japanese boxwood and Korean boxwood variety “Wintergreen.” The Japanese boxwood, based on the variety, will grow from 3 to 12 feet tall when left alone, while the shorter, dense “Wintergreen” boxwood will grow 2 to 4 feet tall. There are different varieties of Japanese boxwood, nevertheless, with some being dwarf cultivars reaching just 1 foot tall. The spread of this “Wintergreen” Korean boxwood is 3 to 5 feet, while Japanese boxwoods’ spread will change based on variety.

Growing Requirements

As with other boxwoods, both the Korean “Wintergreen” and Japanese varieties thrive in average, well-drained soils that maintain a medium humidity degree. Their shallow root systems can easily be damaged by cultivating too tightly, so don’t plant smaller plants near the main system. The shallow roots will even enjoy a fantastic layer of mulch approximately 2 inches deep to safeguard them from the elements and regulate the dirt and temperature. Both these boxwoods are fine in full sunlight to partial shade; plant in more shaded areas in hot climates to safeguard them from sunlight.

Primary Uses

Both these boxwood types are hardy to both pruning and shearing, which makes them excellent choices for a drop. The “Wintergreen” Korean boxwood makes a nice, 2- to 4-foot-tall hedge and you will rarely see them taller than that. Based on the variety of Japanese boxwood you are interested in, you could see 12-foot-tall accent a fine, glossy hedge ranging from 1 foot to 5 feet tall on average. Some of these dwarf Japanese boxwoods are perfect as accent plants in flower beds. Both the Japanese varieties and also “Wintergreen” boxwoods are ideal for formal gardens or as a contrast to looser plants in a landscape.

Diseases and Pests

“Wintergreen” is much more resistant than a number of other boxwoods to the 3 major pests of boxwoods: psyllids, boxwood mites and boxwood leaf miners. Japanese varieties will change in resistance, but most are susceptible to these pests although they are rarely fatal to this boxwood. The two “Wintergreen” and Japanese boxwood are somewhat susceptible to various kinds of blight and leaf spot. In a poorly drained area, the shallow root system of both might be affected by root rot.

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