From Matthew Chappell, UGA
NewGen Boxwood, marketed by Saunders Genetics, LLC, will unveil the first two introductions in its groundbreaking boxwood program at Cultivate’19. The two exclusive varieties will be available in the marketplace beginning early 2020. The revolutionary aspect of the brand-new introductions is reflected in the given names—Buxus NewGen Independence and Buxus NewGen Freedom. “We’re excited to be able to offer these introductions to the industry and consumers,” says Bennett Saunders, General Manager of Saunders Genetics. “The discovery of boxwood blight in 2011 and the spread of leafminer before that signaled a need to raise the bar in boxwood genetics. After these initial years of work, we think we’re on the track to a new era for boxwood.”
NewGen Independence is a very deep green medium-sized boxwood that holds its rich color all winter. It performs best in Zones 5b-8, with further testing underway. With a medium growth rate, Independence will mature as a 3 ft. rounded shrub in 15 years. It performs well in sun, part sun and shade. Strong branching withstands moderate to heavy snows. Recommended uses would be in formal plantings where a medium-sized plant is desired, including as a replacement for English boxwood in foundation plantings.
NewGen Freedom is a relatively vigorous rounded cultivar, slightly taller than it is wide. With a fast growth rate of 3 to 5 inches per year, at maturity (in 15 years) it will reach a size of 4.5 ft. (height) by 4 ft. (wide). Freedom performs best in Zones 5-8, with further testing underway. It performs well in sun, part sun and shade. Beautiful glossy green foliage paired with a uniform and tight habit make it an excellent choice for more formal and residential landscapes as a medium specimen, hedge or foundation plant.
The Saunders folks have created a VIDEO that tells the details of how these varieties came about. Give it a view—it’s compelling stuff!