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Boxwood Spacing — The Ultimate Guide

Boxwood Spacing — The Ultimate Guide

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Boxwoods are ornamental plants popularly grown as shaped bushes, hedges, and Bonsai trees worldwide. The reason for their popularity is the ease with which these shrubs can be shaped. 

Whether growing Boxwoods as square or round shaped bushes or in a long hedge, you must know how far apart to space each Boxwood plant to obtain the best look for your garden.


How Far Apart to Plant Boxwoods?

Plant Boxwoods 5 feet apart for growing them as single-body ornamental bushes. For a hedge, spacing Boxwoods depends on the cultivar and the hedge type you intend to develop. Dwarf cultivars should be spaced 3 feet apart. Place Common Box 1.5 and 2 feet apart for low and tall hedges, respectively. 


Spacing Single Boxwood Bushes

If you’re growing Boxwoods as separate specimen bushes in round or cubic shapes, the distance between each bush matters a lot to the aesthetics of your garden.

The distance between each Box bush should be 3-5 feet at the center. That is, the center of one shrub from the next should be 3-5 feet apart from each other.

Boxwoods are usually grown this way along driveways and footpaths. The distance between each bush must be the same for the best looks. 

Irregularly spaced Boxwood specimens don’t look good at all. To ensure even spacing between the shrubs, use a long tape measure and spray paint to mark the planting locations.

Space each hole 3-5 feet apart, marking the center of each hole as subsequent points. It is easy to deviate from the line and length when digging a hole, so be extra careful.

Still, a difference of one or two inches is inevitable, and you shouldn’t get too meticulous about it. The perfect line and length can be achieved later when the shrubs grow and are pruned to shape.

It is up to you to choose the minimum distance of 3 feet or the maximum of 5. If you have a short footpath, you can stay on the lower limit for a fuller look.

For longer driveways, you can ride on the upper limit of 5 feet as there is a considerable number of plants involved, and caring for boxwoods in such large numbers is not easy.  


Spacing Boxwood Plants in a Hedge

Individual plants grow into each other to form a uniform body. Hedges can be grown in long rows, circles, mazes, and a variety of different shapes.  

The basic rules for spacing plants for creating a hedge are pretty much the same for all hedge types and sizes. That being said, the ideal distance between plants is determined by the Boxwood cultivar you’re working with. 

When spacing Boxwoods, you should always consider the mature size of the Boxwood plants you are growing into a hedge. 

Usually, Boxwoods need a distance of 2-3 feet in between to grow well as a hedge.  

Gardeners who are new to growing Boxwoods tend to cramp too many Boxwoods together in an attempt to get the hedge look as soon as possible. 

This is absolutely not recommended because crowding the Box bushes can lead to a range of different problems as they grow bigger. So, it is essential to be patient.

After being planted, the Boxes will grow at the right time to the right size, and you can prune them together to form a spectacular hedge. 

If you’re growing the hedge for privacy, you would need a tight hedge effect. For this, plant the Boxwoods half of their mature width apart. 

For instance, if the variety you’re working with grows as wide as 4 feet on average, plant each Box 2 feet from the next.   

If you’re working with a tall variety for a tall hedge, using a distance of 18-30 inches is recommended. 


Boxwoods Planted Around a Building or Wall

Shrubs planted next to walls are also known as foundation shrubs because they cover the foundation of the wall or building. 

When planting shrubs next to a solid structure, maintain adequate distance. Planting a Boxwood too close to the wall will damage both the structure and the health of your plant in the long term. 

A distance of 2-3 feet must always be maintained between the house and the foundation boxwood shrubs. This allows adequate light levels and air to reach all sides of the shrub. 

Moreover, do not plant Boxes too close to drains or downspouts that constantly pour water onto them. Excessive exposure to water leads to root rot and a range of other issues.


The Importance of Adequate Spacing

Like all living creatures, plants need air and space to breathe. You can’t cram a lot of plants in a small space and expect everything to go right.

Plants growing too close together or to another structure face a lack of light, and air suffocate. Before long, the weaker plants will die while the stronger dominate.  

When planting Boxwoods in hedges, it is important to remember that in time, each plant will grow into its mature size. 

If you’re placing them too close, thinking about their mature size will help you increase the space between them. 

Other than a lack of light and air, Box shrubs growing too closely are also more susceptible to catching fungal infections and Boxwood Blight. 

Practice patience and wisdom and plant the shrubs an adequate distance apart. Patience is an essential part of growing Boxwoods. 

The best you can do is water the shrubs well and feed them with nitrogen-rich fertilizer for Boxwoods for them to grow into a hedge quickly. 


Frequently Asked Questions About Boxwood Spacing


What to do if Boxwoods grow too close to each other? 

If you have a pair of Boxwoods growing too close, the best solution is to transplant the smaller plant elsewhere. This is only doable if the plants are smaller than a specific size. If the shrubs are too large, try trimming away the foliage where they are the closest. 


What is the best Boxwood variety for growing hedges?

The Dwarf English variety Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ is best for short, 1-2 feet tall hedges. The ‘Dee Runk’ variety is better suited for tall hedges.