A Better Boxwood

When it comes to determining if you have a better plant, it is essential that you know and understand the plants that are currently available. New plants must be trialed and compared in side by side tests with the best varieties to know what you have. If you can’t beat the best, then you better keep breeding until you get it right.

This side by side comparison of boxwood is a great example of the power of trialing plants. I’ve been growing and trialing North Star boxwood for over five years. When we first got the plant from its originator Gary Katerberg I was skeptical that his plant could rival the best boxwood varieties available. In fact, I did not give it much of any chance of being introduced. But when we had it in a test bed with twenty other varieties of boxwood, it preformed so well, the results could not be ignored. When you see it side by side with Green Velvet, the number one variety on the market, you can clearly see that it is a better plant. Even during winters with temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees, North Star boxwood shined; the winter and the spring foliage color was so much darker. While Green Velvet turned a pale pea green, North Star boxwood remained very dark. Additionally the plant is very compact, with dense growth, yet at the same time it grows faster than other popular varieties.

Clearly “Seeing is Believing,” and side by side trialing is the only way to find out if a plant is truly better or not. North Star boxwood has passed the test.


  1. Anonymous8:54 AM

    Wow. Seeing is definitely believing. Minus 15 degrees is a test for any plant, or gardener for that matter. Love your post.

  2. Anonymous12:17 PM

    Hi Tim, I just read your previous post about the rose. I see that Amazon is selling it. My questions: is it on its own roots or is it grafted? Does Amazon ship it bareroot? I was thinking about planting a 'Knock Out' in a particular spot but since I already own one 'Knock Out' methinks 'Candy O' (?) would be perfect. ccgracepeterson@comcast.net

  3. Anonymous12:40 PM

    Tim - I happened across your blog on blotanical and am enjoying your very informative posts. I'm a landscape designer in Northern California and if I only specified plants I have experience with I'd never try anything new. On the other hand, feels a little sneaky to do too much experimenting in a client's garden, so appreciate your detailed info.

  4. Tim, that's a gorgeous green. Is cold hardiness its main virtue, or does 'North Star' have any other advantages in mild climates such as the SF Bay Area?

  5. When will North Star be available? Is it as subject to boxwood leaf miner as Green Velvet? Boxwoods perform well here in Cincinnati in tough conditions: heavy clay, alkaline soil, severe deer pressure. We use them a lot, but they're not looking so wonderful by this time of year.

  6. Good news not only for my own Michigan garden but those our garden club (Bloomfield Village Garden Club) tends. Thanks.

  7. Hi,
    Do you know where in the SF bay area I can buy small North Star Boxwood plants? I would like to have them as soon as I can. Thanks


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