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Boxwood & Boxwood Substitutes Compare
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Green Mountain
Green Mountain Boxwood (Buxus x ‘Green Mountain’) is an extremely popular boxwood. It has great cold tolerance and is one of the most naturally resistant to Boxwood Blight. It is deer and rabbit resistant and grows well in full sun to shade. It is hardy in USDA Zones 4-9.
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Schmidt
Schmidt Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Schmidt’) is a lesser-known boxwood variety but has a desirable tall and narrow growth habit making it great for hedging. It is deer resistant and grows in full sun to partial shade. It is hardy in USDA Zones 5-8.
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Box Honeysuckle
Box Honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida) is lovely hedge in its own right but also makes a great boxwood substitute for areas with Boxwood Blight. The foliage is evergreen and very similar to boxwood. It is deer resistant, takes full sun to full shade, and grows in USDA Zones 6-9.
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Hick's Yew
Hicks Yew (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’) is the best hedge for deep shade locations, although it also thrives in full sun. This is a naturally narrow plant, so it is good for small spaces. It has evergreen needles and bright red fruits. Hicks Yew is hardy to USDA Zones 5-8.
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Little Simon
Little Simon Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Little Simon’) is a dwarf selection of Emerald Green that only reaches 3-4’ tall. It is a great boxwood substitute for colder regions and blight-susceptible areas. It grows best in full sun and is hardy in USDA Zones 3-8.
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Teton Firethorn
Teton Firethorn (Pyracantha ‘Teton’) is an evergreen hedge that boasts billows of white flowers in spring, followed by bright orange fruits that feed birds through winter. Sharp thorns keep deer away. It grows well in full sun to shade and is hardy in USDA Zones 6-9.
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Sizes
Our hedges come in multiple, convenient sizes. Learn about which hedge size option will work best for your project, from our 18-24” tall MiniHedge to our 5-6’ tall InstantHedge. See detailed dimensions for all of our different hedge sizes, including root balls.
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Containers
You have multiple options for the kind of container in which your InstantHedge is shipped. Learn about our standard Biodegradable Cardboard Boxes, as well as the fabric bag and cedar box options. This page will lead you to the best choice for your project.
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Installation
InstantHedge is a unique product and the planting process is very unlike installing a traditional hedge. This page takes you step by step through the easy process of how to plant an InstantHedge. No doubt about it, it’s the fastest way to plant a hedge.
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About Us
Learn about our company’s past and present, and all about how we introduced this revolutionary product to the US market. You can also get a peek at our farm and meet our team of hedge experts who make all the hedge magic happen!
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Distributors
Find out where you can purchase our hedges in your area, whether you are a retail or wholesale buyer. We have exclusive wholesale distributors in some states, and this is where you can connect with them.
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Projects
See real-life examples of our hedges being used in projects all over the country. These photos are provided by our customers and can be used as inspiration for a wide range of uses, from commercial to residential. You can find customer reviews here as well.
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FAQ
Got questions? Of course you do! And chances are, many others have had the same questions. We know that with an unusual product like our hedges there are always many questions. We answer some common questions here on this FAQ page, so it’s a great place to start.
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Are you looking for some good boxwood alternatives? We know that Boxwood (Buxus) hedges are extremely popular for their evergreen, low-maintenance features. They are practically fool-proof plants, tolerating a wide range of conditions from sun to shade, deer and rabbit pressure, poor soils, and cold or hot climates. The one big issue facing boxwood lovers now is a fungal disease called Boxwood Blight that is killing many new and old boxwood plantings all over Europe and the United States. We have selected several great boxwood substitutes that we offer in the same MiniHedge size as our well-loved boxwood hedges for folks who either can’t grow boxwood anymore due to having blight in their landscapes, or for those who simply do not prefer boxwood but want native alternatives to boxwood.

Take a look at our carefully selected boxwood alternatives to find the perfect hedge for your landscape!

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4 Boxwood Substitutes

Box Honeysuckle
Box Honeysuckle

Lonicera nitida

Hicks Yew
Hicks Yew

Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’

Little Simon Arborvitae
Little Simon Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis

Teton Firethorn
Teton Firethorn

Pyracantha ‘Teton’

Box Honeysuckle
Box Honeysuckle

Lonicera nitida

Hicks Yew
Hicks Yew

Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’

THE NEED FOR BOXWOOD ALTERNATIVES

With boxwood (Buxus) being such a popular landscape plant for many great reasons, why is a selection of good alternatives to boxwoods so important?

– Boxwood drawbacks: no plant is perfect, and boxwoods are no exception. Some situations are simply not suitable uses for boxwood plantings.For example, allthough they are extremely hardy plants, there are some regions where the winters are just too harsh for boxwood. There is alsothe issue of fragrance. While not all boxwood varieties are pungently scented (Green Mountain being a mild-smelling cultivar), some have a distinct odor that has been compared to cat urine. This isn’t usually an issue in landscapes, but in certain applications, like outdoor wine tasting

venues where a fragrance-free environment is required, this can be problematic.
– Biodiversity: mass plantings of 1 plant species have a dramatic impact, but the best choice for biodiversity is to plant a wide range of species and genera. This supports different pollinators and diversifies your plant portfolio, making it more likely that at least some things will survive in case of environmental or disease issues

– Disease and pest pressure: Unfortunately boxwood has some major diseases that were recently introduced to the USA that are threatening the ability to grow boxwood successfully in many parts of the country, namely Boxwood Blight and the devastating Box Tree Moth that was recently spotted in Canada. These pests specifically affect Buxus species and just a few others (Sarcococca and Pachysandra)

BOXWOOD BLIGHT

Boxwood Blight (Calonectria pseudonaviculata) is a fungus affecting mainly Buxus species as well as Sarcococca and Pachysandra. It causes defoliation, plant decline, and plant mortality and spreads readily through spores that can be carried on water splashes, clothes, gardening tools or by animals. It tends to be worse in areas with humid summers or gardens with overhead irrigation, and once it finds its way to a landscape it can be practically impossible to remove.

Using care to avoid introducing it with strict sanitation practices is the best way to avoid blight, but it has many ways of spreading and this can be difficult. There are also preventative fungicides and other cultural practices that have been used with some success to protect an existing boxwood hedge from infection.

There are breeding programs attempting to develop blight-resistant cultivars, but as of now there are no truly blight-resistant varieties (although there is a big range in susceptibility within common cultivars. For example, Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ is known to be one of the most susceptible varieties, while Buxus x ‘Green Mountain’ demonstrates some natural resistance).

The only way to fully prevent Boxwood Blight is to plant alternatives to boxwood hedges that are not susceptible.


BOXWOOD SUBSTITUTES

HERE ARE 4 GREAT OPTIONS FOR BOXWOOD ALTERNATIVES:

1. Box Honeysuckle (Lonicera Nitida)

This plant is listed among the best boxwood alternatives with extremely similar leaf shape and size. It grows more quickly than boxwood, but responds well to regular, heavy pruning and forms a dense, boxwood-like hedge over time. It has none of the smell issues of boxwood but maintains the deer-resistance, sun and shade tolerance, and evergreen qualities. It is a little less cold-hardy, but a great choice for areas with warm, humid summers that are especially prone to Boxwood Blight.

  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 6-9
  • Exposure: Full sun to full shade
  • Growth rate: Fast, ~12” per year
  • Mature size: 4’ x 4’ unpruned, as small as 2’ H x 1’ W pruned
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Lonicera Nitida

2. Hicks Yew (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’)

This classic evergreen hedge has a deep green foliage color similar to most boxwoods. It is a conifer, so it has needles instead of broad leaves. It also bears bright red “fruits” for added color contrast. Birds eat the fruits but all parts of the plants are toxic for humans and pets. Unfortunately, deer are not deterred by this. Hicks Yew is a great choice for boxwood substitutes for narrow and deep shade locations and also does well in full sun. It requires well-draining soil but tolerates many harsh conditions.

  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-8
  • Exposure: Full sun to full shade
  • Growth rate: Moderate, 6-8” per year
  • Mature size: 10‘ x 2’ unpruned, as small as 3’ H x 1’ W pruned
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3. Little Simon Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)

Little Simon is a new, dwarf selection from Emerald Green Arborvitae. It has brilliant green, feathery foliage and has just the cutest compact size. It is extremely cold-hardy and easy to grow. It grows best in full sun and is not deer resistant. This is a great choice for an application needing a small, evergreen hedge where the look and texture of boxwood is not preferred, particularly good for colder regions.

  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-8
  • Exposure: Full sun to full shade
  • Growth rate: Moderate, 6-8” per year
  • Mature size: 10‘ x 2’ unpruned, as small as 3’ H x 1’ W pruned
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4. Teton Firethorn (Pyracantha ‘Teton’)

This hedge has evergreen, boxwood-like foliage with a few highly distinctive features. As the name implies, the branches are covered with sharp thorns, making this hedge deer-resistant and a good deterrent for intruders. In early summer, Teton displays billows of beautiful white flowers that attract pollinators. Later in the early fall, plentiful bright orange berries develop that last through the winter, providing great winter color and food for birds. A low-maintenance and rewarding boxwood substitute!

  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 6-9
  • Exposure: Full sun to full shade
  • Growth rate: Fast, 8-12” per year
  • Mature size: 8‘ x 5’ unpruned, as small as 3’ H x 2’ W pruned
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