Description & Overview

Chicagoland Green® boxwood is a selection from Chicagoland Grows® in partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden., the Morton Arboretum and the Ornamental Growers Association of Northern Illinois. This cultivar has a uniform, broad to mounded habit that grows to about 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Chicagoland Green® boxwood touts superior cold-hardiness, surviving temperatures down to 32 below zero with no dieback. Soft green foliage will slightly bronze in winter but will quickly return to green when temperatures rise in spring. Low maintenance and attractive green foliage make this a reliable choice in the landscape.

Core Characteristics

Category: Broadleaf Evergreen

Wisconsin Native: No - Introduced

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 4

Mature Height: 3 feet

Mature Spread: 5 feet

Growth Rate: Moderate

Growth Form: Broad, mounded shrub

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Full Shade

Site Requirements: Average to moist, well-drained

Flower: Yellow, Inconspicuous

Bloom Period: Early Spring

Foliage: Medium Green

Fall Color: NA

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Inconspicuous

Suggested Uses

Chicagoland Green® boxwood should be grown in full sun to full shade; growth will be fastest and fullest in full sun. Boxwood aren’t picky about the type of soil they are grown in; they prefer average to moist conditions in well-draining soil. Boxwood do not do well when planted in areas with heavy salt use or in areas with strong winds, so site carefully or be aware of salt-use.

This cultivar has exceptional uniformity, making this an excellent application for formal landscapes. Boasting a wider habit than taller, you can use less plants to cover the same amount of area. Its height makes this a great option for planting underneath windowsills, too.

Boxwood are most often used as a hedge or border planting. Its green foliage makes a wonderful backdrop for the more ‘colorful’ plants, and offers a visual break from the business that a typical flower garden offers.

With inconspicuous, non-messy fruit, little leaf drop, and compact growth habit, Chicagoland Green® boxwood does nicely bordering a deck or patio. Chicagoland Green® boxwood also works well when planted in masses. The rounded form creates a sea of undulating green waves that produce this wonderful texture in the landscape.

Boxwood are excellent options for shaded areas that have heavy deer browsing. It is tolerant of these difficult conditions, and can even handle urban pollution.

Wildlife Value

Boxwood has little wildlife value, unfortunately. The tiny, barely noticeable flowers are attractive to bees and flies. Birds can take refuge in their tightly clustered branches.

Maintenance Tips

Pruning or shearing can be performed when there is active growth occurring. Shear using the haircut method.

Boxwood have shallow roots and are more sensitive to soil moisture changes. A healthy mulch layer will help reduce plant stress and retain soil moisture.

Pests/Problems

It’s best to plant boxwood with some space between individual plants. This improves air circulation and create an environment that’s less hospitable for diseases. If possible, avoid overhead irrigation.

Blight, mites, root rot, canker, and leaf spot are all potential pests of boxwood.

This cultivar is ‘very susceptible’ to boxwood Leafminer, and variable tolerance to boxwood blight.

Leaf Lore

Despite being poisonous, the leaves of boxwood have historically been used for medicinal purposes. Some of those purposes include being a quinine substitute in the treatment of malaria, in the treatment of syphilis, as a sedative, as a substitute for hops in making beer, and to cure leprosy.

Chicagoland Green® Boxwood looks very similar to Green Velvet Boxwood and can be hard to distinguish between the two.

Under ideal conditions, plants can live for 30 years or more!

Companion Plants

Need more utilitarian options but sick of the green evergreen look? Try Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa), Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris), Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum), Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), American Filbert (Corylus americana), Cutleaf Stephanandra (Stephanandra incisa ‘Crispa’), Hedge Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus), Common Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), Common Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), Koreanspice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii), Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora), Witherod Viburnum (Viburnum cassinoides), and Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum).

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Written by Beth DeLain