• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Buxus sempervirens

common box

  • Other common names common box
    European box

    Abassian boxwood

    see more
  • Family Buxaceae

  • Genus Buxus can be evergreen shrubs or small trees, with simple, leathery, opposite leaves and clusters of small, pale yellow flowers followed by pale green to brown fruits

  • Details B. sempervirens is a large, slow-growing evergreen shrub to 5m or more, compact in habit, with small, glossy oval or oblong leaves, and small, yellowish flowers in the leaf axils

  • Plant range SW Eurasia, N Africa


  • Foliage Evergreen

  • Habit Bushy

  • Toxicity Ingestion may cause stomach upset

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)




  • Partial Shade

  • Full Shade

  • Aspect North-facing or South-facing or East-facing or West-facing

  • Exposure Sheltered or Exposed


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • MoistureWell-drained, Moist but well-drained

  • SoilClay, Chalk, Sand, Loam

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral


  • Ultimate height 4-8 metres

  • Ultimate spread 4-8 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 20-50 years

How to grow

Cultivation Grows best in well-drained soil in partial shade; can be scorched by sun and strong winds. Susceptible to a number of box problems

Propagation Propagate from semi-hardwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types Drought Resistant Hedging & Screens Low Maintenance Banks and Slopes Ground Cover Garden Edging Patio & Container Plants Mediterranean Climate Plants

How to care

Pruning Pruning group 8

Pests Can get box sucker, mussel scale and box red spider mite

Diseases Susceptible to a leaf spot and box blight

Advertise here

Did you find the information you were looking for?

RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.

Join the RHS now