What To Plant In Front Of Boxwoods

What To Plant In Front Of Boxwoods

In this article, we’ll give you some friendly advice on what to plant in front of your boxwoods. You’ll discover a variety of options that will complement and enhance the beauty of your boxwood shrubs. From colorful annual flowers to perennial groundcovers, we’ll guide you through the selections that will create a stunning visual display in your garden. So let’s dive in and explore the perfect plants to enhance the front of your boxwoods!

Boxwoods: A Classic Landscape Plant

Are you looking to enhance your garden with the timeless beauty of boxwoods? These evergreen shrubs have long been one of the most popular choices for landscaping due to their versatility and durability. With their attractive glossy leaves, dense growth habit, and ability to be shaped, boxwoods make a fantastic backdrop for any garden. However, to truly make your boxwoods shine, it is essential to choose the right complementary plants to showcase their beauty. In this article, we will explore the best options for planting in front of boxwoods, considering factors such as sunlight requirements, soil conditions, and climate adaptability. By carefully selecting plants that complement and enhance your boxwoods, you can create a stunning and harmonious landscape.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Plants

Before discussing specific plant options, it is important to consider several factors that will influence your plant choices. By taking into account sunlight requirements, soil conditions, climate adaptability, and maintenance needs, you can ensure that your selected plants will thrive alongside your boxwoods.

Sunlight Requirements and Shade Tolerance

The amount of sunlight your garden receives will greatly influence your plant selection. Some plants prefer full sun, while others thrive in partial shade or even full shade. It is crucial to assess the amount of sunlight the area in front of your boxwoods receives throughout the day and choose plants accordingly. Consider the height of your boxwoods as well, as taller boxwoods may cast shade on the plants in front of them.

Soil Conditions and pH Levels

The type of soil in your garden and its pH levels play a significant role in the success of your plants. Boxwoods prefer well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. It is important to choose plants that can tolerate or thrive in similar soil conditions. If you have clay or sandy soil, consider amending it with organic matter to improve its quality and drainage.

Climate Adaptability

Different regions have varying climate conditions, including temperature ranges, humidity levels, and annual rainfall. It is crucial to choose plants that are well-suited to your specific climate. Some plants may require protection from frost, while others may struggle in high heat or humidity. Research the hardiness zones and regional climate conditions to select plants that will thrive in your area.

Maintenance and Care Needs

Consider the level of maintenance and care each plant requires. Some plants may require frequent watering, pruning, or fertilizing, while others may be low-maintenance. Assess your available time and resources for maintaining your garden and choose plants that align with your maintenance capabilities.

Best Plant Options for the Front of Boxwoods

Now, let’s explore some of the best plant options that will complement and enhance the beauty of your boxwoods:

Colorful Flowering Perennials

Planting colorful flowering perennials in front of your boxwoods can add vibrant pops of color to your garden throughout the growing season. Choose perennials that bloom at different times throughout the year to ensure a continuous display of color. Some excellent choices include daylilies, salvia, coneflowers, and asters.

Evergreen Ground Covers

To create a lush and cohesive look, consider planting evergreen ground covers in front of your boxwoods. These low-growing plants provide a beautiful carpet of foliage and serve as a backdrop for your boxwoods. Some popular evergreen ground covers include creeping juniper, creeping phlox, and creeping thyme.

Fragrant Herbs and Shrubs

Adding fragrant herbs and shrubs in front of your boxwoods can introduce pleasant aromas to your garden and attract pollinators. Consider planting lavender, rosemary, or a variety of scented geraniums. These plants not only provide visual interest but also offer a delightful sensory experience.

Deciduous Ornamental Grasses

For a touch of elegance and movement, consider planting deciduous ornamental grasses in front of your boxwoods. These grasses can create a graceful contrast with the dense foliage of boxwoods and add texture and interest to your garden. Choose varieties such as feather reed grass, maiden grass, or switchgrass.

Dwarf Conifer Varieties

If you prefer a more structured and formal look, planting dwarf conifer varieties in front of your boxwoods can achieve that desired effect. These compact conifers provide a sculptural element and maintain their shape throughout the year. Look for dwarf varieties of spruce, cypress, or juniper for an elegant and neat appearance.

Attractive Annuals

For a burst of color during the summer months, consider planting annual flowers in front of your boxwoods. Annuals offer a wide range of color options and can be easily changed from year to year, allowing for versatility in your garden design. Some popular choices for annuals include petunias, impatiens, marigolds, or zinnias.

Choosing Plants for Different Boxwood Cultivars

When selecting plants to accompany your boxwoods, it is essential to consider the specific cultivar of your boxwoods. Different boxwood cultivars vary in size, growth rate, and leaf form. By matching the sizes and growth rates of your chosen plants with your boxwoods, you can ensure a visually appealing and harmonious arrangement. Additionally, consider creating contrast by selecting plants with different leaf forms and textures. The combination of different leaf shapes and textures will create visual interest and highlight the beauty of your boxwoods.

Design Tips for a Beautiful Boxwood Arrangement

To create a visually stunning arrangement with your boxwoods and companion plants, consider the following design tips:

Balance and Symmetry in Plant Selection

Maintaining balance and symmetry in your plant selection will create a cohesive and visually pleasing arrangement. Choose an equal number of companion plants to flank each side of your boxwoods, creating a mirrored effect.

Creating Visual Interest with Height Variations

To add dimension to your garden, vary the heights of your companion plants. Plant taller plants towards the back and shorter plants in the front to create a visually appealing layered effect. This will draw the eye and showcase the beauty of your boxwoods.

Seasonal Color Coordination

Plan for plants that offer seasonal color coordination with the changing foliage of your boxwoods. Consider selecting plants with blooms or foliage that complement the colors of your boxwoods during different seasons.

Using Hardscape Elements

Incorporating hardscape elements such as trellises, arbors, or garden structures can enhance the overall design of your boxwood arrangement. Utilize flowering vines or climbing plants to create a vertical element and provide additional visual interest.

Enhancing Boxwoods with Complementary Plants

Boxwoods can be further enhanced by strategically selecting complementary plants. Consider the following options:

Flowering Vines for Trellises and Arbors

Placing flowering vines on trellises or arbors near your boxwoods can add vertical interest and create a stunning focal point. Clematis, jasmine, or climbing roses are excellent choices for beautiful blooms and a touch of romance.

Shade-Tolerant Ferns and Hostas

If your boxwoods are situated in a shaded area, select shade-tolerant plants such as ferns and hostas to create a lush and verdant undergrowth. These plants thrive in shade and will complement the glossy foliage of your boxwoods.

Variegated Foliage Plants for Contrast

To create contrast and visual interest, choose plants with variegated foliage. The contrasting patterns and colors will add a striking element to your garden. Variegated varieties of hostas, heucheras, or variegated euonymus are excellent choices.

Ornamental Grasses for Movement and Texture

Adding ornamental grasses near your boxwoods will introduce movement and texture to your garden. The graceful swaying of grass blades and their wispy appearance will beautifully complement the dense foliage of boxwoods. Consider planting miscanthus, pennisetum, or fountain grass for a dynamic addition.

Considerations for Multi-seasonal Appeal

To ensure year-round interest and appeal, select plants that provide visual interest during different seasons. Aim to incorporate plants with early spring blooms, summer color and foliage interest, fall foliage and berries, and winter interest and structure. By considering the changing seasons, you can create a garden that captivates and delights throughout the year.

Early Spring Blooms

Incorporating plants with early spring blooms will add a vibrant burst of color after the winter months. Consider planting daffodils, tulips, or flowering shrubs such as forsythia or witch hazel.

Summer Color and Foliage Interest

Select plants that provide summer color and foliage interest. Flowers such as dahlias, hydrangeas, or daylilies offer vibrant blooms. Ornamental grasses and summer-blooming perennials like rudbeckia or coneflowers provide texture and visual interest throughout the summer.

Fall Foliage and Berries

To create a stunning fall display, choose plants that offer vibrant foliage and berries. Japanese maples, burning bushes, or sedums are excellent choices for their colorful foliage. Consider planting shrubs like beautyberries or hollies for the addition of berries.

Winter Interest and Structure

Select plants that offer winter interest and structure. Evergreen shrubs such as hollies, winterberries, or yews maintain their foliage throughout the winter and add structure to your garden. Additionally, consider including plants with interesting bark, such as birch or dogwood, for added visual appeal.

Maintenance and Care Techniques

Once you have chosen the perfect combination of plants for your boxwood arrangement, it is crucial to establish proper maintenance and care practices. By providing adequate watering, mulching, pruning, and fertilizing, you can ensure the health and longevity of both your boxwoods and companion plants.

Proper Watering and Irrigation Practices

Most plants require consistent watering, especially during their establishment period. It is essential to provide adequate moisture, particularly in dry periods or during hot summer months. Consider installing an irrigation system or using drip irrigation to ensure proper watering.

Mulching and Weed Control

Apply a layer of organic mulch around your plants to retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Mulching also provides a neat and finished look to your garden beds. Take care not to pile mulch too high around the base of plants, as it can lead to excessive moisture and rot.

Pruning and Shaping Boxwoods

Regular pruning is necessary to maintain the desired shape and size of your boxwoods. Prune your boxwoods in early spring or late winter before new growth begins. Use sharp and clean pruning tools to make precise cuts and remove any dead, damaged, or overcrowded branches.

Fertilization and Soil Amendments

To promote healthy growth and overall vigor, consider fertilizing your boxwoods and companion plants. Use a balanced slow-release fertilizer or organic amendments to provide essential nutrients. Follow the package instructions for application rates and timing.

Potential Boxwood Companion Plant Issues

While selecting companion plants for your boxwoods, it is important to be aware of potential issues that may arise. Take the following concerns into consideration when making your plant choices:

Competitive Root Systems and Nutrient Depletion

Some plants, particularly aggressive or fast-growing species, may compete with boxwoods for nutrients and moisture. Be mindful of the potential impact these plants may have on the growth and health of your boxwoods. Regularly monitor the competition and make adjustments as needed.

Disease and Insect Vulnerability

Certain plants may be more susceptible to pests or diseases, which could potentially transfer to your boxwoods. Research the disease resistance and insect vulnerability of your chosen plants to ensure they will not pose a risk to your boxwoods’ health.

Invasive Species Concerns

Invasive plant species have the potential to take over your garden and disrupt the natural balance. Be cautious and avoid planting invasive species as companion plants, as they can quickly outcompete and overwhelm your boxwoods.

Choosing Non-Stoloniferous Plants

Boxwoods have shallow root systems and are susceptible to damage from stoloniferous plants that spread via runners. Avoid planting aggressive ground covers or spreading perennials that may encroach upon your boxwoods’ root zone.


By carefully selecting plants that complement your boxwoods, you can create a beautiful and harmonious landscape that maximizes the beauty and value of these classic landscaping plants. Consider the specific requirements of your boxwoods and companion plants, ensuring they are well-suited to the sunlight, soil conditions, and climate of your garden. Additionally, keep in mind the importance of balance, symmetry, and seasonal interest when arranging your plants. With thoughtful plant selection and proper maintenance, you can create an enchanting garden that showcases the timeless beauty of boxwoods and their accompanying plants.

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