National Boxwood Collection


Few plants exude elegance like boxwood. Its evergreen nature and refined, understated growth habit make it the perfect plant for framing anything—an herb garden, a perennial border, or a garden maze. Humans, both ancient (including Neanderthals and ancient Egyptians) and modern, have valued boxwood for millennia, owing to its utility as material for long-lasting tools, as well as for being a mainstay in formal and informal gardens.


The U.S. National Arboretum’s National Boxwood Collection is one of the most complete collections of temperate-growing boxwood in the world. There are over 180 different taxa (species, varieties, and cultivars) planted in this verdant corner of the Arboretum. The foliage color on some boxwood specimens ranges from blue-green to lime-green, while others feature variegated foliage, displaying splashes of cream or yellow. Some are dwarf with a mature height of less than two feet, whereas other varieties, such as ‘Graham Blandy’, resemble exclamation points, growing upward in a narrow column. Various perennials complement the collection and add seasonal interest.


The most prominent design element in the collection—a parterre—features boxwood as the primary shrub. It is currently under development, but be sure to visit often to see its progress, as well as the garden’s changes throughout the seasons.