What To Plant In Front Of Boxwoods [7 Colorful Options To Consider]

Gathering new ideas for your landscaping can sometimes feel like an endless maze. Do you have a beautiful boxwood you're struggling to decorate and don't know what to plant in front of it? Considering how plain these shrubs can be, is it a good idea to add more color around one?

We'll answer these questions and more throughout this article. With that said, let's dive in!

There are plenty of species to consider for those wanting to plant something in front of their boxwood. A few of our favorites include:

  1. Thyme
  2. Hosta
  3. Lady's Mantle
  4. Lilyturf
  5. Germander
  6. Rosemary
  7. Sage

Generally, you want to pair boxwoods with a shorter shrub or flower, as you don't want your new plant to become much bigger within a short time.

We also recommend pairing this bush with other vibrant options, especially those with yellow or dark foliage for contrast.

As we start, we will cover all things landscaping around boxwoods and show you our top seven plant suggestions. Whether you're preparing for the springtime or want ideas for after this winter, we're here to offer some inspiration. Without further ado, let's check out these plants!

Boxwoods edging close up shot, What To Plant In Front Of Boxwoods [X Ideas]

Should You Add Plants In Front Of A Boxwood?

Although this isn't always necessary, you can add contrast to your garden by planting vibrant species in front or around a boxwood.

As we mentioned, boxwoods tend to be on the blander side appearance-wise. Of course, they make perfect hedges or shaped bushes throughout a garden but don't produce any flowers.

Therefore, it can be helpful to add flowering, more vibrant options in front of boxwood to improve its overall aesthetics.

box plants have been individually clipped as oval ball shapes and allowed to grow together at the edges, boxwood edging, What To Plant In Front Of Boxwoods [7 Colorful Options To Consider]

You don't want to grow anything super bulky or tall in front of a boxwood shrub. Considering you don't want to obstruct your boxwood's view, try to purchase lower-growing species.

Another benefit of choosing low-growing plants near a boxwood is that they typically have shallower roots.

That can be especially helpful if you don't want to deal with separating the two root systems, which can sometimes become quite an ordeal.

Honorable yard with large cut boxwood

Furthermore, we recommend finding bright, floral plants in front of boxwood to add contrast to your garden. Now that we know this information, let's check out these seven plant ideas below!

1. Thyme

Kitchen window sill filled with herbs and thyme

First, we have a fan-favorite herb suggestion for in front of boxwoods. In general, thyme will be fragrant and has purplish blooms, which can be helpful for a colorless garden.

One of the interesting features of thyme is that you can eat the plant and use it for cooking/medicinal purposes. That includes the gorgeous purple flowers.

Although thyme has a Mediterranean origin, it should be able to grow anywhere it isn't too cold.

So, whether you're in California, Florida, or even Nevada, you should be able to grow it successfully alongside your boxwood.

2. Hosta

Blooming bright yellow leaves of hostas

Our second suggestion for in front of boxwood is planting a few hostas. Not only are hostas attractive in their appearance, but they also tolerate shade extremely well.

Notably, these flowering shrubs can survive in full shade, which is perfect for gardens with less exposure to the sun throughout the daytime.

You may also know these as 'Plantain Lilies,' meaning they will produce gorgeous lily flowers.

In addition, hostas are also perennials, so you don't need to replant them each year. Again, these aren't super vibrant, but they're gorgeous to look at and easy to grow and manage.

Mixed Heart-Shaped Hosta Bare Roots

These hostas will come alive, bare-root, include six units, produce mildly fragrant white or purple flowers, prefer full shade, and have an expected summer blooming time.

Follow this link to see them on Amazon.

3. Lady's Mantle

Bright ladies mantle

Third, we have another unique flowering perennial for in front of your boxwood shrub. Generally, a lady's mantle will do well in moderate sun or full shade, which is perfect for gardens filled with trees or larger plants.

Known for its almost greenish-grey foliage, the lady's mantle will produce yellow flowers during late spring and early summer.

This plant species is also herbaceous and will die back during the cooler winter months. Moreover, as long as your soil has good drainage, a lady's mantle should tolerate other plants nearby, so keep that in mind.

4. Lilyturf

Bright purple leaves of a Lilyturf flower

Next, we have a fragrant, evergreen ground cover that will work perfectly alongside boxwood.

You can typically expect these flowering plants to be filled with purple flowers/berries throughout the fall, sure to catch the neighborhood's attention.

These purple plants will also reach a mature height of roughly six inches, so they won't overpower your boxwood.

Another benefit to this evergreen species is that it self-multiplies and requires very little care. So, you may only plant 1-2 plants but could quickly end up with upwards of 4-5 by the following year.

Perennial Farm Marketplace 'Royal Purple' Lilyturf

This live plant will come in a 7 x 6.5-inch container, fully rooted, ready to plant, has a USDA recommendation of 5-10, expected bloom between summer and fall, and has excellent customer reviews.

View this live lilyturf on Amazon.

5. Germander

Bright light purple leaves of a Germander flowerq

Following a purple flower theme, we have germanders for in front of a boxwood shrub. Generally, this shrubby, broadleaf species will produce an aromatic scent, hence its popularity.

In addition, germanders tend to clump, meaning they will multiply rather quickly.

Another fun fact about the germander is that these flowering shrubs are evergreen. If you live somewhere cold, this can be perfect for keeping some color in your yard throughout the year.

Furthermore, these plants aren't too picky regarding their ground conditions, so as long as your garden has good drainage, all will be well.

6. Rosemary

Bright purple flowers of a rosemary

Another fragrant idea for in front of boxwood is planting rosemary. Not only will this flowering plant smell amazing, but you can also use it for cooking!

Usually, this evergreen species thrive in Mediterranean climates, although it can survive in places with moderate winters.

Color-wise, you should see pink, white, purple, or blue flowers on your rosemary, so this is perfect for adding vibrance to a garden.

In addition, studies have found that rosemary is also great for lowering the risk of infection and boosting your immune system, so there are plenty of reasons to plant some in your yard.

7. Sage

Blooming bright purple leaves of a sage herb

Lastly, we have another purple, fragrant plant to consider growing in front of boxwood. Besides being a perennial, sage is also incredibly tolerant to various conditions.

This plant is also a member of the mint family, explaining why it has such a beautiful aroma. Like many of these species, you will also find sage in mainly Mediterranean climates, although the flowering shrub is grown worldwide due to its popularity.

On top of that, you can also expect sage to reach mature heights between two and 2.5 feet, so it is moderate in terms of sizing.

Gardeners Basics - Sage Seeds

These sage seeds are GMO-free, heirloom, great for indoor and outdoor gardening, come with dedicated instructions, and have a USDA recommendation of zones 3-10.

See these non-GMO seeds on Amazon.

How Do You Landscape A Boxwood?

For those still needing some help with their boxwood landscaping, there are a few things to consider. First, considering how these shrubs tend to be used as shaped foliage, you want to trim yours accordingly.

Have you ever seen those gardens with hedges shaped like cones or animals? A lot of the time, those are boxwood hedges.

Therefore, we recommend keeping your boxwood(s) in a specific shape or size, so they'll appear uniform in your landscaping.

Furthermore, some gardeners use their boxwoods as edging for other plants nearby, so that's an idea to think about. As we said, this species tends to work best as a barrier, so try to follow that theme.

You may even want to grow your boxwoods around or train them to grow alongside a fence or gateway in your yard, which is a great way to add greenery and protection.

Again, there's no right or wrong way to handle boxwoods, so do whatever works for your space.

Do Boxwoods Stay Green All Year?

Yes! One of the many reasons you'll find boxwoods throughout the country is because they keep their color all year long.

Considering this species is evergreen, you can expect a boxwood to remain lush through the wintertime.

However, depending on the variety of boxwood you have, your plant could change color slightly as the temperatures drop.

Luckily, this shouldn't be dramatic, but not all boxwoods are built the same way.

Again, these shrubs are incredibly weather resistant, so it will take more than a cold spell to shock them. You may even notice the foliage on boxwood become deeper green during winter, which can be gorgeous among your landscaping.

Therefore, we recommend growing other evergreen species in front of a boxwood, so your garden can maintain its vibrancy year-round.

It's also a good idea to keep your boxwood properly trimmed during the year, as this will keep it healthy and full, even in the colder winter months.

To Finish It Up

box plants have been individually clipped as oval ball shapes and allowed to grow together at the edges, boxwood edging

Whether you have boxwoods growing throughout your garden or want to plant your first, it's always nice to pair one with other colorful species nearby.

From what we found, there are plenty of options for in front of a boxwood shrub, whether it's thyme, hosta, lady's mantle, lilyturf, germander, rosemary, or sage.

The key to landscaping in front of boxwood is choosing plants with vibrant flowers or leaves. Even though boxwoods will keep their color all year long, they aren't going to produce vibrant flowers.

So, don't be afraid to spice things up with a pop of color!

Made it to the end? Check out these other related garden posts below:

Shrubs For Pots In Full Sun [17 Great Ideas For Your Landscaping]

What To Plant Under Redbud Trees [Flowers, Grass, & More!]

What To Plant Under Elm Trees [5 Great Options!]

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