Buxus (Buxus sempervirens) is an evergreen small tree or shrub, often used to decorate and beautify gardens. It is the most common plant used for the horticultural design, topiary. It creates gardens generally an easy plant to care for.

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From growing it to maintaining it, even to the training and trimming, Buxus is considered a stress free. 

Buxus sempervirens

Buxus sempervirens

Buxus is a member of the Buxacaea family and has over 70 different species. Regardless of the specie that you are growing, the care for Buxus is simple and straightforward. In this article, we will be answering some common questions that curious gardeners have regarding Buxus plants and using them as a care guide to effectively grow Buxus plants. READ: How far apart should buxus be planted?

Buxus can be grown into many shapes such as ballspyramidsspiralslollipop, or just hedges and  topiary. Other plants could be used such as spiral bay treesilex crenatataxus baccata or yew for yew balls or twisted yew trees

How should I feed Buxus trees and hedges?

Buxus are evergreen plants and also hungry plants that need regular feeding to maintain a vibrant look. Many gardeners are confused about the type of fertiliser to feed a Buxus with. However, the American Boxwood Society has recommended that using a fertiliser with 10% nitrogen, 6% phosphorus, and 4% potassium provides the ideal feed that a Buxus plant needs for healthy growth. READ: How to make your buxus grow faster.

What to feed your Buxus hedge

Feeding Buxus General purpose fertiliser For plants growing in poor soil conditions, apply a general-purpose fertiliser in spring and mulch the topsoil with well-rotted organic compost. For container plants, you can feed your Buxus with a general-purpose liquid fertiliser once a month through the summer months.

Feeding Buxus with Tomato feed: Tomato feed contains the exact healthy levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium that are recommended for a Buxus plant. Feeding your Buxus with a tomato feed during its growing season is a great way to guarantee healthy and vibrant growth. You can combine this with a healthy mulch of well-rotted organic compost to retain moisture and nutrients in the soil.

How to feed your Buxus Tree

Buxus’ are planted just below that soil surface and their root system develop at the same depth so their roots are rather shallow. Fertilisers can easily burn the roots of your Buxus plants if not used properly and with the right frequency.

How much water does Buxus need?

Buxus water needs are generally average, however, for a new Buxus plant water it slowly and deeply to ensure that the shallow roots are thoroughly saturated. Watering your plant regularly will not only keep it hydrated but it will also soften the soil enough for the roots to be able to absorb the needed nutrients. After the plant is fully established you can switch to regular watering rather than deep watering. 

As a rule of thumb, deeply water your mature Buxus plants once a twice a week in the first year and reduce it to just once a week during its growing season. After each growing season, change the water routine to only when necessary but before the topsoil begins to dry out.  Pay special attention to the water needs of your Buxus plant during hot and dry weather and especially during winter. READ: How to save a dying Buxus & common problems you might have.

Though Buxus needs water to keep its foliage vibrant and evergreen, you need to be careful so as not to overwater your plants. The roots of Buxus are very Shallow and are only at the surface of the soil so overwatering your plants may cause erosion of the roots and may also wash away the nutrients that the roots can get from the soil within its reach.  

Buxus is highly dry tolerant and will do well in period dry and hot weather without water but not for very long periods.

What kind of soil is best for Buxus Hedging?

Remember we started this care guide with how easy Buxus is to grow and care for. Well, here is a perfect example. Buxus is not picky with soil type and will grow in almost all soil types, however, the soil needs to be well-draining and since Buxus is an ericaceous plant, the soil also has to be slightly acidic. 

It will grow well in chalk, sand, or clay soil but the most ideal soil type to be able to achieve the best growth and foliage from your Buxus plant is humus-rich loamy soil. Even though they do well in poor soil conditions, always ensure that your Buxus plant has enough organic matter. To further preserve the soil nutrients, you can mulch the roots of your plant.

Can Buxus be grown in Pots?

Buxus can be planted in pots and containers and used as specimen plants on balconies, terraces, or patios. Caring for Boxwood in containers is just as easy as caring for them when planted in pots. Here are a few things to take note of:

  • Water them frequently when they are young to keep the soil from drying out. However, the established container Buxus plants need less water and should only be watered as needed to avoid overwatering. Once a week during spring and summer is ideal and it should be watered even less frequently during winter.
  • Boxwood generally does not need much fertilisation, however, you can feed your container Boxwood once or twice a year to maintain healthy growth. 
  • Box plants in containers are highly susceptible to winter damage so to protect them a bit more, mulch the roots with dead leaves and wood chips and you can also wrap the foliage of young plants in burlap.

What to plant with Buxus? Suggested companion plants

Although Buxus looks pretty stunning all on its own, you might want to try them in a mix of other plants and enjoy the beauty of the combinations. They often look great when planted among low growing shrubs and plants with dark or yellow foliage. Here are some of the plants that look best when planted as companion plants for Boxwood.

  1. Thyme
  2. Liriope
  3. Hosta
  4. Rosemary
  5. Lady’s mantle.

Common Buxus Questions

Can Buxus live in shade?

Buxus can live in shade although leaving them to grow in full shade will affect the quality and look of its foliage. When they grow in shade they often do not grow as full or look as vibrant as they are meant to be. Though some species will tolerate full shade, most species prefer to grow in partial shade. 

Which boxwood is best for shade?

Green Mountain boxwood is a specie of Buxus that can grow well in nearly full shade, maintaining its evergreen and vibrant foliage throughout most seasons, including winter.

Can Buxus grow in full sun?

They can also tolerate full sun but sometimes, certain varieties might lose the green colour of their foliage when grown in full sun.

How often should you water a Buxus?

In the early stages, you can water your Buxus twice a week but when your plant develops to a mature plant, reduce it to once a week.

Should you feed Buxus?

Buxus does not require much feeding but you can feed it once or twice a year with a general fertiliser or tomato feed.

Are boxwoods hard to grow?

They are relatively easy to grow and require only little maintenance and pruning.

What colours does boxwood come in?

They are usually dark green to lime green. Some are variegated like the Buxus microphylla ‘Golden’.

Does Buxus grow all year round?

Buxus are evergreen plants that grow all year round. Although some regions can be affected by frost.

When should boxwoods be pruned?

Boxwood can be pruned 2 to 4 times a year depending on the topiary design you are trying to achieve. It can be pruned in late winter or early spring before new growth starts to emerge.

Which box hedge is best?

The best box hedge is Buxus sempervirens, also called English Boxwood or Common Box.

What is the best compost for Buxus?

Peat based compost or peat compost mixed with loamy soil is the best compost to maintain a vibrant Buxus plant.

Is cow manure good for Buxus?

Cow manure is great for Buxus plants especially during winter because it will mulch the roots from frost damage and keep the foliage of your Buxus plant vibrant throughout winter.

What kind of soil do boxwoods need?

Though they can grow in almost all soil types, loamy soil that is organically rich is what Boxwoods need to thrive.

Is Buxus acid-loving?

Buxus is an ericaceous plant and therefore loves acidic soils and acid-based feed like tomato feed.

When should I feed my Buxus?

In the growing season (March – October), Top Buxus Health Mix should be applied several times per month to strengthen and feed the plants.

What is the best fertiliser for Buxus?

All-purpose fertiliser and tomato feed are the best fertilisers for Buxus.

Do boxwoods have invasive roots?

Boxwood roots are shallow and can be easily damaged. They are not invasive in any region.

What can I use instead of a boxwood?

Some alternatives to boxwood plants for topiary and other horticultural purposes are Taxus baccata, twisted yew tree, yew balls, Pittosporum ‘Collaig Silver’, Lonicera nitida ‘Maigrun’, etc.

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Last Modified: June 8, 2022