What Is Boxleaf Azara: Learn About Azara Microphylla Care

Closeup of a branch of boxleaf azara in shades of light and dark green
(Image credit: Irina Pislari)

If your neighbor says she is growing azara boxleaf shrubs, you might ask: “What is boxleaf azara?” These shrubs are gorgeous little evergreens for the garden. They offer showy flowers in early spring and shiny berries in summer. For more Azara microphylla information and tips on how to grow boxleaf azara, read on.

What is Boxleaf Azara?

Imagine a slender tree with tiny, shiny evergreen leaves that look like round emeralds. The foliage is evergreen, with variegated types available, and stays on the plant year-round. That’s not all you’ll get if you start growing azara boxleaf shrubs. Early every spring, the azara produces yellow, pom-pom shaped flowers that exude a striking fragrance with a touch of vanilla. These become orange or crimson berries in summer.

Azara Microphylla Information

Boxleaf azara (Azara microphylla) is an understory shrub or small tree native to South America. It grows to 15 feet (5 m.) tall with a 6 foot (2 m.) spread and thrives in both sun and shade. You’ll find many reasons to invite this lovely plant into your garden or backyard. The small leaves are dainty and glossy, shining brightly in the sun.

The tiny pom-pom shaped flowers fill your garden with a lovely fragrance early in spring. In summer, you’ll get a multitude of reddish orange berries that attract wild birds. Another attraction is the lovely growth habit, with gracefully layered branches. When it comes to care, the plant requires little or no pruning to keep its shape strong and attractive.

How to Grow Boxleaf Azara

If you are wondering how to grow boxleaf azara, start by making sure it will grow in your climate. The shrub is not very cold hardy, thriving in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 10.

You can start growing azara boxleaf shrubs in a site with full sun. Or you can plant the shrub in an area with filtered shade.

Here’s an important rule: find a site with excellent drainage. Sand and other rapid draining soils are ideal for this plant. As far as soil pH goes, it accepts anything from highly acidic soil to mildly alkaline.

If you select the correct site for this plant, Azara microphylla care is not difficult. Pruning is not necessary, but irrigation is. You’ll want to provide your azara with ample water on a regular basis.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.