7 Boxwood Alternatives for Evergreen Landscape Elegance

Boxwoods have long been a staple in landscaping for their evergreen foliage and versatility. However, there are times when you might want to explore alternatives to diversify your landscape design. Whether it’s due to disease concerns, climate considerations, or simply a desire for something new, there are several plants that can offer the same elegance and structure as boxwoods. In this blog post, we’ll explore seven boxwood alternatives that can add charm and beauty to your landscape while providing year-round greenery.

1. Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata)

Japanese holly, with its glossy green leaves and compact growth habit, is an excellent substitute for boxwood. It shares similar characteristics, such as being easy to shape and prune, making it ideal for hedges and borders. Additionally, Japanese holly is more resistant to pests and diseases than boxwood, making it a low-maintenance option for your landscape.

2. Dwarf Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria ‘Nana’)

Dwarf yaupon holly is a compact evergreen shrub that offers dense, dark green foliage similar to boxwood. Its small size and slow growth rate make it perfect for small spaces or container gardening. Dwarf yaupon holly is also drought-tolerant once established, making it suitable for a variety of climates and soil conditions.

3. Dwarf English Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Otto Luyken’)

Dwarf English laurel is a versatile shrub known for its dense, glossy foliage and fragrant white flowers in spring. Like boxwood, it responds well to pruning and can be shaped into formal hedges or left to grow naturally as a specimen plant. Dwarf English laurel is also tolerant of a wide range of soil and light conditions, making it adaptable to different landscapes.

4. Korean Boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. koreana)

If you’re looking for a boxwood alternative that closely resembles the original, Korean boxwood is an excellent choice. It features small, dark green leaves and a compact growth habit, making it ideal for formal gardens and topiaries. Korean boxwood is also more resistant to pests and diseases than traditional boxwood varieties, making it a reliable option for landscapes.

5. Dwarf Burford Holly (Ilex cornuta ‘Dwarf Burford’)

Dwarf Burford holly is a compact evergreen shrub with glossy, dark green leaves and bright red berries in fall and winter. It can be used as a low hedge, border plant, or specimen shrub, adding year-round interest to your landscape. Dwarf Burford holly is also tolerant of heat, drought, and poor soil, making it a hardy alternative to boxwood.

6. Japanese Skimmia (Skimmia japonica)

Japanese skimmia is a versatile evergreen shrub valued for its glossy foliage and fragrant flowers. It thrives in partial shade and moist, well-drained soil, making it suitable for woodland gardens or shaded borders. Japanese skimmia also produces red berries in fall and winter, adding color and interest to the landscape.

7. Dwarf Conifers

Dwarf conifers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them excellent substitutes for boxwood in landscape design. From dwarf spruces to miniature pines, these evergreen trees offer year-round interest and structure to the garden. They can be used as focal points, specimen plants, or planted in groups to create a dynamic landscape.


While boxwoods have long been favored for their timeless elegance, there are numerous alternatives available that can offer similar beauty and functionality in the landscape. Whether you opt for Japanese holly, dwarf yaupon holly, or any other alternative mentioned above, you can create a stunning and diverse landscape that remains green and vibrant throughout the year. By exploring these boxwood alternatives, you can add depth and interest to your outdoor space while ensuring its long-term health and vitality.

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