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Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Buxus spp.

Family Name:



Buxus spp. are usually small to medium size evergreen shrubs in Texas landscapes, but Boxwoods can grow to tree form and are sometimes encountered as such in old landscapes. Boxwoods were the preferred plant for use in formal sheared hedges in years past. Heat and cold tolerance is variable among and within a given species. Buxus microphylla, Buxus sempervirens, and Buxus harlandii are the species most commonly seen in Texas.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, small shrub, medium shrub


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Not ornamental.

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Small inconspicuous capsules


2 ft to 8 ft depending upon the species, rarely to 15 ft


2 ft to 8 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Medium Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

6, 7, 8, 9

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Somewhat of an enigma. Can be a durable shrub in the right setting, but tends to be short-lived in Texas. Nematodes, root rot, and physiological leaf scorch can be limitations. Foliage smells unpleasent to some people.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.