NewGen Boxwood, marketed by Saunders Genetics, LLC, will unveil the first two introductions in its boxwood program at Cultivate'19, July 13-16, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. The two exclusive varieties will be available in the marketplace beginning in early 2020. The revolutionary aspect of the brand-new introductions is reflected in the given names — Buxus NewGen Independence ‘SB108’ and Buxus NewGen Freedom.
Years in the making, NewGen Boxwood began with research and development by Saunders Brothers Nursery in Piney River, Va. as a response to heightened disease and pest challenges to boxwood beginning in the early 2000s. A process of testing and selection has resulted in a new standard for modern boxwood characterized by demonstrated better tolerance of Boxwood Blight, better resistance to Leafminer and WOW factor in the garden. NewGen Independence and NewGen Freedom are the first introductions to be released. Saunders Genetics, LLC is an outgrowth of these efforts, created to pursue R&D of new boxwood genetics and the production and sale of the NewGen brand.
“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 is rated for Zone 5B-8 with further testing underway. With a medium growth rate, Independence will be 3’ tall x 3’ wide in 15 years and 4.5’ tall x 4.5’ wide in 25 years. It performs well in sun, part sun, and shade. Strong branching withstands moderate to heavy snows. Recommended uses would be informal 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, it reaches 4’’ tall x 3.5’ wide in 15 years and 5.5’ tall x 5’ wide in 25 years. Freedom is rated for Zone 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.
Both varieties meet the NewGen requirements for high tolerance to Boxwood Blight, better resistance to leafminer and performance in the garden.
In addition to Saunders Brothers Nursery, three NewGen licensees have signed on to grow and distribute the product line in 2020. They include:
- Overdevest Nurseries, N.J.
- Prides Corner Farms, Conn.
- Willoway Nurseries, Ohio
Other licensees will be added in 2020 and 2021 for wider availability across the country and internationally.