Buxus, or commonly called Box plants or Common Box, is a genus of plants in the family of Buxaceae with more than 70 species. A large majority of the species are tropical and subtropical with only a few being completely frost tolerant.

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They are native to parts of Europe, Asia, South America, Central America, Africa, Madagascar, and the Caribbean. If you want to buy box hedge please check out these Buxus for sale from UK suppliers.
We have a mega grow guide for healthy buxus to learn the basics. 

What is Buxus or Common Box?
The genus is split into 3 sections based on genetics and location. The first section is a species found in Europe and Asia, the second section is a species found in Africa and Madagascar (excluding Northwest Africa, and the last section is a species found in species in the second section is found in Africa (excluding northwest Africa), and the third section is a species found in the Americas (South America and Central America). 
The species found in Africa and the Americas are more closely genetically related to each other than the species in Europe and Asia.
What types of Buxus are there and which are common varieties?
Species found in Europe and Asia are Buxus sempervirens (Common box, European box), Buxus balearica (Balearic box), Buxus colchica (Georgian box), Buxus harlandii (Harland’s box), Buxus microphylla (Japanese box).
Species found in Africa and Madagascar are Buxus hildebrandtii, Buxus macowanii (Cape box), Buxus nyasica, Buxus obtusifolia.
Species found in the Americas are Buxus arborea, Buxus citrifolia, Buxus vahlii (Vahl’s box or smooth box). 
What does it look like and how fast does Buxus grow?
Buxus are very slow-growing plants, often classified as shrubs or small trees. They grow to reach heights of 2 to 12 metres and will only spread as much as you permit it. If you would like to know how to make your buxus grow faster read this!
The leaves of the plants are round to lance-shaped, leathery and small in most Buxus species. They are arranged opposite each other on straight thin stems and are often light green to mid-green with some species having a lighter underside. 
In most species, the leaf length is about 1.5 to 5 cm in length and 0.3 to 2.5 cm in diameter. In some species like the Buxus macrocarpa, the leaves can be up to 11 cm in length and 5 cm in diameter.
Furthermore, the flowers of the Buxus plant are generally small and between yellow and green. They are monoecious, which means that both the male and female stamens are present on a single plant. They produce several tiny seeds that attract pollinators like birds and hummingbirds.
Common Buxus species
As mentioned earlier, there are over 70 Buxus species. Each has similar characteristics and yet remains distinct. Let’s introduce you to some of the most popular species available in different locations.
Buxus sempervirens (English box tree, common box tree)
This is the most common Box plant seen growing everywhere and used for the most common topiary designs including buxus topiary balls, Buxus lollipop, Buxus spiral, Buxus Pyramid, etc. It is commonly called the English box or Common box plant. 
Also, it is native to the south and west of Europe including the UK, Western Asia and Northern Africa. Additionally, it grows as a rounded bushy shrub which makes maintenance easy, thus it is one of those gardeners’ favourite plants.
It is an extremely slow-growing plant taking about 2 decades to reach its ultimate size of 4 to 8 metres in both heights and spread. 
Additionally, its small, oval glossy leaves are about 1.2 to 2.5 cm in length, with a dark-green shade on the top and a yellow-green shade on the underside. They are arranged in a smooth pattern opposite each other on brown slim stems.
What’s more, Buxus sempervirens bloom in tiny and unnoticeable flowers between April and May followed by a handful of dehiscent fruits that mature to brown. 
Buxus microphylla (Japanese box tree)
Buxus microphylla, commonly called Japanese boxwood or simply Japanese box is a loose, rounded shrub or small tree with fine-textured leaves in the Buxaceae family. They are small evergreen plants of about 1.9 meters and are native to Japan, although they are cultivated widely in other parts of Asia and Europe including the UK.
It is easily identified by its rounded, smooth, broad leaves, about 2.5 cm long and are arranged opposite each other on square and winged stems. 
Japanese boxwood grows well in moist, cool soil that has good drainage abilities and is slightly acidic. To achieve the best foliage on your Japanese boxwood, make sure you grow it in dappled sunlight to partial shade. Though it can grow in full shade, it will affect the beauty of the tree because without sufficient sunlight it will start looking leggy and its foliage will only be sparsely populated. 
Once established, Japanese boxwood becomes drought tolerant. However, as strong as it may seem, it can be easily damaged by very low temperatures and frost.
Japanese boxwood just like the common boxwood is used to create beautiful topiary designs that will look good as a specimen plant or an accent plant in a landscape. It is often used to create shrub borders, edging, formal hedges, and foundation plantings.
READ: how far apart should buxus be planted?
Top ways to use Buxus in your garden design or hedgeing
Buxus is often used to create a statement as a specimen plant in your garden or an accent plant in your landscape. It is used to create low hedges, border plants or for common topiary designs like buxus topiary balls, spirals, pyramids, etc. 
Also, Buxus can be easily trimmed, trained, and pruned to achieve a series of garden designs either as a stand-alone plant or in groups to create a strong statement. Let’s see some of the most common uses of Buxus plants. READ: When is best to prune or trim your buxus?
Buxus Hedge – Growing Buxus for hedges and screening in the garden
Buxus, specifically Buxus sempervirens is the best plant to create formal borders and low hedges. They are a great choice when looking to create a formal hedge because their dense and leafy appearance is versatile and classy in any landscape. READ: View Top suppliers to buy Buxus Hedging in the UK
Its small, glossy leaves, compact growth habit and particularly slow growth rate make Buxus hedges easy to maintain with only minimal trimming and training needed throughout the year. Thanks to its hardy nature it will thrive in most conditions and maintain its foliage. Although extreme frost can damage its foliage. 
If you are looking to grow a formal hedge you can prune your Buxus hedge twice a year but for a less formal look pruning it once a year is ideal. 
To achieve the best Buxus hedge, in fertile, well-draining soil in partial shade where it can be protected from extreme sun and winds that cause leaf scorch. Most soil types are great so you can consider loamy, sandy, clay or chalk soil. 
Buxus Spiral – Growing Buxus into spiral topiary shapes for impact
Buxus spirals are a beautiful topiary design, carefully trained and trimmed to create a garden statement with its stunning spiral shape. They are used as decorative plants on pathways, archways, and entrances. Even more, they can be planted in containers for domestic decorations on balconies and patios. Plus, they prove a beautiful and long-lasting architectural design. BUY: Buxus Spirals from UK Suppliers
When planting Buxus spirals in containers, make sure you add in a good potting mix to achieve healthier growth but for spirals grown in the ground, you can simply make use of any soil type that is slightly acidic and well-draining. 
Since they are a more complicated design than hedges, you can prune them 4 times a year to maintain the spiral shape.
Buxus Lollipop – Using Buxus Lollipops for structure and form
Buxus lollipops are often regarded as Buxus standard trees because the spherical balls sit on top of a single straight stem that is free from other leaves. They are great designs for doors, flights of stairs, and pathways. The topiary lollipops are trimmed to a 25 cm diameter and the total height of the tree is usually about 70 or 80 cm.
Buxus lollipops will make a strong statement when used on patios and balconies and are ideal for formal gardens and courtyards. 
They grow well in most soil types and will thrive when watered and fed regularly. To maintain your topiary lollipop shape, trim, and train it just once or twice a year. BUY: Buxus Lollipops from UK suppliers
Buxus Pyramid – Using dramatic form and structure of Buxus Pyramids
The Buxus pyramid is another topiary design often made from Buxus sempervirens or common Box plants. They can grow up to 16 feet tall but hardly ever reach this height because they are regularly trimmed and trained to maintain a horticultural design. The height of the Buxus pyramid is usually about 3 feet with a diameter of about 20 cm. VIEW: Buxus Pyramids for sale
They do well when planted in any soil type as long as it is well-drained and slightly acidic. For the best foliage of your Buxus pyramid, grow it in full sun or partial shade. 
To maintain the shape of your Buxus pyramid, you can prune your plant any time between mid and late summer. For fresh plants avoid hard pruning and keep the trimming to mild and medium so as not to hurt the plant but still achieve the best shape.
How to feed and fertiliser requirements for Buxus hedges and trees
Buxus are beautiful evergreen plants, and you’ll wonder how they keep their foliage looking beautiful and grow enough fresh foliage that will require regular pruning, well they are hungry plants and relatively heavy feeders. Although you need to be careful because feeding your Buxux plants too often with fertilisers can also harm the growth and foliage of the plant. 
There is a lot of confusion about the most appropriate type of fertiliser to be sued to feed Buxus plants and the American Boxwood Society has made it easier for us. Their recommendation is a fertiliser that has 10% nitrogen, 6% phosphorous, and 4% potassium to maintain healthy growth for your Buxus plants.
Although Buxus plants are easy to grow and maintain, when it comes to feeding your plants you need to take special care so as not to hurt the plant. The roots of Buxus plants are shallow and are just below the surface of the soil. Fertilisers, if not applied with care and in the right proportions, can easily burn the roots of Buxus and begin the slow death of the plant. READ: How to save a dying Buxus & common problems you might have.
Make sure you maintain the frequency of fertilisation recommended by experienced gardeners.
What can you feed your Buxus plant?
To meet up with the needs of your Buxus plant while keeping in mind the recommendation of the American Boxwood Society, there are two things that you can feed your Buxus with. Let’s see below:
General-purpose fertiliser for Buxus
As mentioned earlier, Boxwood is a hardy plant that can do well in most soil conditions including poor soil conditions so a general-purpose fertiliser will be a great choice to add the needed nutrients to the soil at the planting site of your Buxus plant. Ensure any general-purpose fertiliser you choose has the recommended levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
You can add an all-purpose or general-purpose fertiliser to your Boxwood plant in spring and mulch it with well-rotted compost to retain moisture and avoid the fertiliser running off with water. Do this in Spring at the beginning of the growing season. However, for container plants, the application is quite different. You will need to apply the fertiliser at least once every month throughout the summer months. 
Using Tomato feed for Buxus growth and fertiliser
Tomato feed is a common fertiliser option used for plants that are slightly acidic to acidic. Generally, tomato feed contains the exact healthy levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium that are recommended for a Buxus plant. Feeding your Buxus plants with a tomato feed in its growing season will guarantee the healthy and vibrant growth of your plant.
However, for the best results, combine the tomato feed with well-rotted organic compost and mulch your Buxus plants to retain nutrients and moisture in the soil
Other: Yew balls (Often Confused as Buxus Balls)
Yew, for Yew Balls, is native to Europe and North Africa, has long been used for evergreen hedges but can also be utilised as a stand-alone plant in the garden. It is a great choice for topiary designs in domestic gardens and a great alternative to boxwood. Twisted Yew is a popular choice. 
It is a hardy plant and acts as a wind breaker and can withstand heavy winds and also great as a privacy screen. However, the Yew plant is extremely poisonous to both humans and domestic animals like cats, dogs, rabbits, cow. 
Your Yew plant will not survive in wet soil except when planted on a ridge. You can build a mound about 0.5 feet tall and 3 feet wider and plant Yew on top, using 0.9 feet of dirt to protect the roots after planting and as they grow. However, they will thrive in full sun with minimal shade and can also tolerate full shade for short periods. Because if your plant grows constantly in full shade, it makes the stems thin and floppy and might also affect the quality of the foliage. 
Yew grows a bit faster than the common boxwood plant, about 20 to 40 cm a year and if grown in the grown in the right conditions it can reach heights between 2 and 4 metres. When it is left to grow without pruning, trimming, and training, yew can grow over 65 feet in length and spread only about 4 to 6 feet wide. Since it can take minimal and hard pruning it is a can also be used to create beautiful topiary designs. Yew is a tree that loves to be pruned.
Other choices can be Ilex crenata balls, taxus baccata or even using spiral bay trees.

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