Grown for their handsome foliage as ornamental shrubs, weeping boxwood evergreens (Buxus sempervirens) produce shiny, deep green leaves sometimes embellished with subtle yellow markings. Two cultivars, Buxus sempervirens "Unraveled" and "Aurea Pendula," have a weeping habit. The boxwood cultivars differ slightly in appearance but grow in the same hardiness zones and require similar care.
"Unraveled" is hardy in U.S. Department of Agricultural plant hardiness zones 6 through 9, and unlike other weeping boxwoods that droop at the branch tips, this cultivar cascades, giving this boxwood a more elegant appearance. It grows up to 4 feet tall with a 7-foot spread and makes an excellent specimen plant. You can also allow the plant to form a small weeping tree by staking the central leader. Foliage is blue-green and glossy.
"Aurea Pendula" is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 9 and unlike "Unraveled," it is not a true weeping plant. Instead, it has side branches that droop toward the ground. "Aurea Pendula" looks more like a small tree than a shrub with oval, variegated dark green and yellow foliage. It grows up to 6 feet tall with a spread of 4 to 6 feet. Shrubs are grown for their foliage, as the small white flowers they produce in spring are insignificant.
Both "Unraveled" and "Aurea Pendula" require a site with full sun to partial shade. Pruning consists of removing damaged or dead branches and thinning plants to improve air circulation. Proper pruning helps maintain the graceful growing habit of "Unraveled." Newly-planted weeping boxwoods require regular water until they are well-established; once established, "Unraveled" shrubs can tolerate drought, only needing a deep watering to 18 inches when the top 7 inches of the soil dries out.
These weeping boxwoods are fairly pest- and disease-resistant; however, "Aurea Pendula" is susceptible to blights and leaf spot disease and a few pests, including boxwood leaf miners and mites. Weeping boxwood shrubs can benefit from a 2-inch layer of mulch to protect their shallow roots, retain moisture and suppress weed growth. In cooler climates, such as USDA zone 6, boxwood shrubs need a location that shelters them from sun and strong winds during winter months.
- The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Gardening Volume 4; T.H Everett, Editor
- North Carolina State University JC Raulston Arboretum: Buxus Sempervirens "Unraveled"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Buxus Sempervirens "Aurea Pendula"
- Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images