Boxwood is probably the shrub that best personifies the notion of “French garden”.
A summary of what there is to know:
Name – Buxus
Family – Buxaceae
Type – shrub
Height – extremely variable, maximum 13 feet (4 meters)
Soil – ordinary
Exposure – sun and part sun
Foliage – evergreen
Planting, care, pruning and watering potted boxwood are all good practices that will turn them into magnificent shrubs.
- Disease – treating against boxwood tree moths
- Pruning – how to prune boxwood well
How to plant boxwood
Boxwood is normally planted in fall or in spring. In the first case, settling in is easier, and in the second case, you’ll need to water regularly after having planted your boxwood.
Planting boxwood in pots
Potted boxwood, if a few special precautions are taken during planting, is guaranteed to grow and thrive in a good environment.
In pots, favor spots that are partly shaded over during the hottest hours of the day to avoid desiccation.
- Provide your potted boxwood with planting or repotting soil mix.
- Verify that the bottom of the pot has a hole in it.
- Pour a drainage layer of stones or clay pebbles to keep water from stagnating around the roots.
- Water regularly.
Planting boxwood in the ground
In the ground, if you wish to grow a low-lying hedge, your 6 to 8 inch (15 to 20 cm) boxwood should be planted 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) apart.
- With more space between plants, your hedge can be taller.
- Add soil mix blended with earth from your garden.
- Once the boxwood is planted, cover the ground around it with mulch similar to cocoa hulls which will protect the young roots from from freezing, and add the organic matter that will let it grow.
- After planting, water abundantly, press the soil down, and water once more.
Pruning, and caring for boxwood
Boxwood is a shrub that requires very little work. Pruning is the only care that is actually needed, and even this can be converted from chore to passion, when the art of topiary is mastered!
Easy to care for, boxwood thus doesn’t need any care other than pruning.
- Regular watering during the 1st year is recommended for specimens planted in the ground.
- Regular pruning will ensure that your boxwood will remain beautiful and stand true to its reputation in the shrub world.
- Read our guide on pruning boxwood.
Boxwood growing directly in the ground resists drought well, but potted boxwood quickly suffers in case of dry spell. Forgetting to water it could spell its death.
Watering potted boxwood
- Boxwood tends to suffer from water deficit in a short span of time, and you’ll notice that its leaves turn yellow and brittle.
- In case of heat, remember to water regularly without, however, drowning its roots.
- Also check that your pot presents a hole in its bottom, because if the roots macerate in water, they’ll start rotting.
Watering boxwood planted in the ground
- It isn’t necessary to water, except in case of drought, and then again only if you notice the leafage turning yellow.
- Note that the leaves of certain varieties naturally turn yellow in fall, which doesn’t mean that water is lacking.
- In spring, add special boxwood or shrub fertilizer to boost growth and produce nice leaves.
Learn more about boxwood
Boxwood is famous in “French gardens” since it is easy to trim and can be given virtually any shape you can think of.
Thanks to its tiny leaves, tightly bound together, it is like a material that truly can be sculpted.
This pruning is for some among us a passion that leads to amazing works of art. Try growing it into a cloud shape!
Its hard wood and leathery leaves give boxwood an extended longevity, sometimes counted in centuries…
Today, boxwood is under attack in many places, falling victim to a caterpillar that chews up its leaves and can devastate a tree in only a couple weeks.
- Disease – treating against boxwood tree moths
Species and known boxwood varieties
There are nearly a hundred boxwood species, and notable differences are color, shape, and leaf size.
Leaf color can range from creamy white to dark green, including shades of yellow. Leaf shapes can range from conventional ovals to more surprising shapes.
- Buxus Sempervirens – This is common boxwood, and it comes in a collection of sub-species.
- Buxus Sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ – This variety is the epitome of edge hedges, it is a dwarf variety.
- Buxus Sempervirens ‘Rotondifolia’ – This boxwood bears large dark green leaves.
- Buxus Sempervirens ‘Aureo-variegata’ – It has cute leaves, mottled with yellow and green.
- Buxus Sempervirens ‘Arborescens’ – An ideal boxwood to shape balls or cones.
- Buxus Sempervirens ‘Elegans’ – Mottled-leaf boxwood with a conical shape.
- Buxus Sempervirens ‘Pyramidalis’ – It grows into an interesting pyramid-like shape, and is very hardy.
Smart tip about boxwood
Boxwood is perfectly suited to growing in pots or in garden boxes for terraces and balconies.
It will decorate your deck and garden magnificently, and will survive through the winter without giving you any problems…
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