Boxwood care and details: Amazing Bonsai and Topiary Plant
Boxwood are hardy plants and can tolerate stress. The plants can be shaped and pruned vigorously without harming it hence it is one of the most commonly grown ornamental plants. These make them a good choice for bonsai and topiary.
Quick Details of Boxwood
|Other Common Names||Boxwood|
|Maintenance||Moderate/ high in case of bonsai|
|Light||Bright direct sunlight, can tolerate partial indirect light.|
|Water||When the soil is dry|
|Temperature||Warm humid conditions|
|Soil||Well drained soil|
|Fertilizer||Any liquid cactus fertilizer|
|Habitat||Europe, Madagascar, Asia, South America.|
|Toxicity||Various parts of the plant are toxic. keep away from pets. wear gloves while pruning.|
|Common Diseases||Root rot|
|Scientific name||Buxus sempervirens|
Boxwood Buying Instructions
- Keep the purpose in mind while buying the boxwood plant.
- If you are buying for bonsai make sure stem is strong and thick.
- If you are buying for topiary, keep the shape in mind. You may have to buy more plants for topiary depending on need.
- If you are buying the plant for decoration purpose, buy a bushy plant.
- Buy a plant with shiny and healthy leaves.
Overview of Boxwood
Boxwood are evergreen flowering trees native to Europe, Asia and South America. The plants belong to the family of Buxaceae.
The branches and the trunks tend to twist as they grow. The leaves are small, oval green and glossy. They bear greenish yellow flowers. They can grow in any kind of soil. They branch off and produce multiple stems resulting in a huge canopy.
Usage and Advantage of Boxwood
- They are grown as bonsai or topiary plants.
- The trees grown in natural habitat are used in making stringed musical instruments and wooden carvings
General Care for Boxwood
Pruning and training:
They require regular trimming and pruning. The new shoots can be pruned half its length leaving a pair of leaves in them. During the growth period the plant tends to produce a thick canopy. Old and mature leaves can be pinched off to reduce the thickness. This helps in proper circulation of air and exposure to sunlight. They are slow growers so do not require much pruning.
They can be extensively pruned throughout the year. The shoots can be pruned to maintain shape. The branches can be wired early spring. Care should be taken not to damage the barks of the trees. Wiring can leave behind marks.
Repotting: The boxwood can be repotted ones in 2 or 5 years. Repotting mostly depends on the age of the plant. Young plants do not require frequent repotting. The plant can be uprooted from the pot. The roots can be washed and cleaned to remove any left-over soil. the roots are pruned back to 2/3 its original length before repotting them back. A bonsai mix or a soil with pH ranging from 7-8 can be used. Gravel can be added to the soil
During summers and spring the Boxwood plant should be placed in spots with proper sunlight in the morning and partial sunlight in the afternoon. They prefer warmer places.
During winters, the plant should be placed indoors at a warmer spot with ample amount of sunlight.
If the plants are placed indoors throughout the year, it should be placed in a colder dark region for 3 months to imitate winters.
Boxwood prefer a well-drained soil. Any pre-mix bonsai soil can be used.
Boxwood can be watered when the soil is dry. They prefer moist soil. The soil should be monitored regularly before watering them. The best way to water is to submerge the whole pot in a tub of water, leaving it there for some time. Remove it and make sure that the water has totally drained out. The intensity of watering should be reduced during winters or if the plant is placed indoors.
Light and temperature:
Boxwood prefer direct bright sunlight or filtered light. The plants cannot tolerate cold climates and care should be taken to protect them from harsh winters.
Boxwood can be fed with a normal house plant fertilizer one’s a month or liquid fertilizer ones a week. This can be reduced to ones in a month or two during winters as the plants enter the resting period.
Pests and other problems for Boxwood
Boxwood can be prone to a number of fungal diseases like box blight and root rot. Root rot happens mostly due to over watering. They can also fall prey to nematodes, boxwood mites, leaf miners etc. an insecticide or pesticide can be used to get rid of them.
Propagation of Boxwood
Boxwood are mostly propagated through seeds and stem cuttings.
Seeds: The viable seed can be selected and sown in moist soil. Any seed growing mix can be used. A container is used to germinate the seeds. The soil is placed in the container and the seeds are sown on them. It is watered, the container is closed with a lid and left to refrigerate for 2-3 months. They can be removed and watered to maintain moisture. The containers are taken out after 3 months and kept in a warmer place. Once the seeds germinate, the seedlings can be shifted to a pot.
Cuttings: A stem is selected from a healthy plant. 8-10-inch-long stem is cut out. The leaves at the base are removed leaving few leaves at the top of the cutting. This is dipped in a rooting hormone and planted into a moist soil and left in a warm spot. The roots start to develop and they grow into a new tree.