If you are planning a backyard landscaping overhaul, you may be wondering what all of the differences are between Japanese Holly vs boxwood shrubs. Both of these bushes are fantastic for a variety of regions and backyard landscaping, but what might some of the similarities and differences between them be?
In this article, we will compare and contrast everything you need to know about Japanese Holly shrubs and boxwood shrubs so that you can determine which option works best for you. We will go over their descriptions, classifications, and overall uses in backyard landscaping and beyond. Finally, we will address their hardiness zone and the locations in which they originated and grow best in, if you are considering growing one yourself. Let’s get started now!
Comparing Japanese Holly vs Boxwood
|Classification||Aquifoliaceae family; Ilex crenata||Buxaceae family; Buxus sempervirens|
|Description||Shiny, dark green leaves that occur alternately from each other rather than opposite. Scalloped or textured edges, and flowers are tiny and white. Produces bluish berries if pollinated, and grows as tall as 10 feet||Smooth leaves in dull green shades, occurring on opposite sides from one another in order to form pairs. Reaches as tall as 20 feet tall, depending on species, and flowers tiny green flowers. Does not produce fruit or berries|
|Uses||Slow growth rate makes this shrub ideal for low hedges, ground cover, and statement pieces in any elegant backyard landscaping||Easy to prune and maintain, making them ideal for ornamental gardening. Also used medicinally to treat HIV and improve immunity, the only evergreen shrub to be used in this way|
|Location Originally Found||Japan and East Asia||Europe and Asia|
Key Differences Between Japanese Holly vs Boxwood
There are a number of key differences between Japanese Holly and boxwood plants. For example, the average boxwood grows taller than the average Japanese Holly, by as much as 10 feet. Additionally, the leaves of the Japanese Holly are shiny and scalloped compared to the dull and smooth leaves of the boxwood. Finally, the boxwood grows best in hardiness zones 5 through 9, while the Japanese Holly grows best in hardiness Zone 6 through 9.
Let’s go over all of these differences and describe these shrubs in more detail now.
Japanese Holly vs Boxwood: Classification
While they may look extraordinarily similar, especially in the average backyard, there are some basic classification differences between the Japanese Holly and boxwood plants. For example, both of these shrubs belong to different families and have very different genus classifications. The Japanese Holly belongs to the Aquifoliaceae family, while the boxwood belongs to the Buxaceae family. There are a number of different species found under both of these families as well.
Japanese Holly vs Boxwood: Description
Given the fact that both of these shrubs are used for similar purposes and seem almost identical upon first glance, you may be wondering how you can learn how to tell a Japanese Holly apart from a boxwood. The key is in the leaves of both of these shrubs, as the leaves of the Japanese Holly are shinier compared to the leaves of the boxwood.
Additionally, boxwood leaves are smooth along the edges, while Japanese holly leaves are often jagged or scalloped. The leaves of the Japanese Holly also grow alternately from each other, while boxwood leaves grow opposite one another in pairs. While the Japanese Holly reaches heights as tall as 10 feet, the boxwood can grow as tall as 20 feet.
If it is the appropriate time of year for either of these two shrubs to flower, they have extremely different flowers from one another as well. For example, the boxwood produces tiny green flowers, while the Japanese Holly produces tiny white flowers. Finally, the Japanese Holly produces bluish berries if properly pollinated, while the boxwood shrub does not produce berries at all.
Japanese Holly vs Boxwood: Uses
The Japanese Holly and The boxwood have extremely similar uses in backyard landscaping, given the fact that they are both easy to maintain hedges or shrubs. However, the Japanese Holly grows at a slower rate compared to the average boxwood, making it ideal for low-lying shrubbery and ground cover. Additionally, the boxwood is the only evergreen shrub used in immunity boosting and HIV medicines, while the Japanese Holly is not used medicinally in any way.
Japanese Holly vs Boxwood: Hardiness Zones
Another benefit to choosing either the boxwood or the Japanese Holly in your backyard landscaping is that they are found in extremely similar hardiness zones. However, the Japanese Holly grows in hardiness zones of 6 through 9, while the boxwood grows in hardiness zones 5 through 9, making it slightly more resistant overall.
There are many different steps you can take to protect both of these shrubs in the winter time, and regular pruning benefits both the Japanese Holly and the boxwood. Speaking of winter time, the Japanese Holly will maintain its dark green shrubbery throughout the year, while some species of boxwood turn a beautiful orange or copper color as the seasons change.
Japanese Holly vs Boxwood: Locations Found and Origin
Both the boxwood and the Japanese Holly can grow worldwide, in a variety of different regions, depending on their respective hardiness zones. However, the Japanese Holly originated in Japan and East Asia, while the boxwood shrub originated in Asia and Europe. No matter their origins, both of these fantastic plants can bring a level of ornamentation and sophistication to any backyard or natural area!
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