The Baby Jade™ Japanese Boxwood is a new super-compact variety of the hardy Japanese boxwood. It is the answer when you want the neat look of boxwood hedges and globes, but don’t want the endless trimming that is usually needed for that. Left to grow naturally this plant will reach perhaps 3 feet tall and wide, forming a neat mound or tidy row without clipping. It is both cold and heat resistant, thriving in zones 5 and 9 where traditional English boxwood fails, and it grows well everywhere else too.
- Tiny, rich green leaves on a compact plant
- Compact upright to rounded form for hedges and specimens
- Stays small and neat with little or no trimming needed
- Good winter color and hardiness in zone 5
- Vigorous and easy to grow
Full sun or partial shade will suit the Baby Jade™ Japanese Boxwood perfectly, and it grows in a wide range of light conditions. It does best in rich, moist but well-drained soil, but even in poorer soils, it grows well. Trimming is not needed for a neat look, but for super-neat, trim once a year, or every second year, in spring after the danger of frost has passed. Pests and diseases are possible but rarely serious, and deer leave this plant strictly alone.
Boxwoods are always favorite plants in the garden, but while many of us still love that formal, clipped look, the time, effort and skill needed to maintain it can be an issue. If left unclipped many boxwoods will grow into large plants, and some eventually even become small trees, but increasingly breeders and growers have been responding to our needs. Today there are some excellent smaller varieties, that will stay small, neat and compact without any clipping, or at most with a clip once a year or every couple of years. If you are looking for a low, compact boxwood for a hedge, or for specimens in beds or pots, then look no further than the Baby Jade™ Boxwood. This selected variety is neat, rounded and low, without any clipping at all – and it’s hardy too.
The Baby Jade Boxwood is a variety of the Japanese boxwood, that grows naturally into a rounded mound of dense twigs and leaves. Plants stay about 12 inches tall and wide for some time, growing only slowly to eventually reach 3 feet tall and wide, so it is an excellent choice for low-maintenance hedging and globe specimens. The neat leaves are tiny and in complete proportion to the small size of the plant – they are just ¾ of an inch long and ¼ inch wide. The leaves are very tightly packed along the stems, giving plants an incredibly dense and neat look. The branches grow vertically, keeping this plant upright, without spreading and sprawling across the ground, so hedges are easy to develop. The leaves have a glossy surface and a rich green color, which holds well through the winter in all but the coldest zones. In very cold winters some slight bronzing of the leaves may be seen, but this quickly disappears with the arrival of warmer weather and new growth.
Use the Baby Jade Boxwood to create low boundaries and edgings along beds and paths. Plant in rows, spacing the plants between 8 to 15 inches apart, at an even spacing of your choice. Plant individual specimens on the corners of beds or dotted among small flowering shrubs for background and contrast. Plant in pots or planters to place on either side of an entrance or doorway. Boxwood hedges and specimens are classic elements in both formal gardens and modern, minimalist gardens. With the Baby Jade Boxwood you can achieve that look without endless trimming and clipping – what a relief!
The Baby Jade Boxwood is hardy in both zones 5 and 9. These are zones where English boxwood does not thrive, so this plant is an ideal substitute for that plant, which it closely resembles. It of course also grows well in the zones in between, and with its compact growth it is a superior choice everywhere. It grows best in full sun or partial shade. In dense deep shade the growth can be reduced, and thinner. For edging in deep shade we recommend plants like the Convexa Japanese Holly, which has no spines and looks almost exactly like boxwood, but is much more shade tolerant and problem free. The Baby Jade Boxwood grows well in most garden soils, as long as they are well-drained. Although it is moderately drought-tolerant, plants grow best, with the greenest and lushest foliage, in richer, moist soils. Pests and diseases are not often issues, and deer leave this plant alone – a bonus where those animals come around in winter. Boxwood have shallow roots, so avoid digging and cultivating around them. Instead use mulch to conserve moisture and suppress weeds. An occasional clipping, perhaps once a year or every second year, will keep this plant super-neat, dense and tidy for a very long time. Trim in spring after the risk of frost has passed. Trimming also helps control some of the potential insect pests that boxwood can attract, so it has an additional benefit beyond appearance. Water young plants regularly and soak them deeply from time to time during longer dry spells.
The Baby Jade Boxwood is a selected form of the Japanese Boxwood, Buxus microphylla var. japonica. That species is more cold-hardy and generally tougher than the English boxwood, and it is highly recommended for American gardens. An old, traditional variety is called ‘Winter Gem’, and in 2002 Rodrigo Moreno and Scott Maxwell selected some very compact branches, with tightly packed leaves, from plants of ‘Winter Gem’ they were growing at the Greenleaf Nursery Company, El Campo, Texas. This became the variety called ‘Gregem’, the Baby Gem™ Boxwood. In 2010 Jane Marie Kubala and Bill Barr selected even neater and smaller branches from ‘Gregem’, and once rooted and propagated these became ‘Grejade’, which has both smaller, more closely-packed leaves and a faster growth rate than Baby Gem. They patented this new variety in 2016, and released it as Baby Jade™, through Garden Debut, a company that promotes and publicizes valuable new garden plants. This new variety has had a great reception, and if you want small boxwood, but don’t want endless trimming, this ‘baby’ is for you.