How to properly care for boxwood?
Boxwood can be cut into any popular shape Photo: Getty Images
By Lena Hackauf | 10. May 2021, 04:52
Small rabbits, large elephants or more classic as a ball: The boxwood can be plant and decorative element in one in the right form. In terms of care, amateur gardeners should not neglect the shrub and protect it especially from pests and diseases.
Whether in stately pleasure gardens or in cozy rustic cottage gardens, boxwood adapts skillfully to any garden style. There it serves as a neat path border or receives visitors as a noble tub plant on the terrace. Between 70 species can choose amateur gardeners. In local gardens, the common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) and the Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla) are particularly popular. The common boxwood can reach a height of up to six meters.
Planting boxwood in the garden
The boxwood has no high demands on the location and the soil. For example, it also feels comfortable in the shade under trees. However, the shrub does not like full sun. Leaf damage easily occurs here. Ideal is a protected place in partial shade or shade. The soil should be permeable in any case, so that no waterlogging can occur. The boxwood prefers calcareous and loamy soils. But even sandy soils are no problem with the right preparation.
To plant the shrub, the spring is ideal. To do this, place the plant in a bucket of water. It is enough if the roots stand in the water. Add compost to the loosened soil. This is especially important in sandy soils. The boxwood is then placed in the center of the planting hole. Finally, water well and mulch. If you want to plant the boxwood as a hedge, you should use about ten plants per meter. The shrub can be transplanted between March and April and September and October.
Is the boxwood poisonous?
Hard to believe, but the boxwood is poisonous to humans. All parts of the plant contain alkaloids – 70 different compounds, to be exact. Although everyone spits out the bitter-tasting leaves quickly, they can nevertheless quickly lead to poisoning with fatal consequences if the body weight is low. Special attention should be paid to small children, who like to discover the world with their mouths and try a leaf or two in the garden. Boxwood is a shallow-rooting plant. Therefore, does not reach the groundwater in the soil. For amateur gardeners this means: watering regularly. Keep the soil evenly moist. Waterlogging should be avoided. Nevertheless, the boxwood can withstand even short dry periods without problems. In the tub, the plant should also be watered regularly so that the soil does not dry out.
If the boxwood does not want to grow properly, a lack of nitrogen may be the cause. Therefore, amateur gardeners should between spring. At the beginning of summer, regularly provide the shrub with compost.
When pruning the boxwood, there are no limits to creativity. The shrub can be shaped into any desired form. This maintenance pruning has several advantages. Thus, amateur gardeners with regular pruning of the boxwood promote the growth as well as the growth density of the leaves. The best time for pruning is between April and September. Hobby gardeners should make sure that on this day neither the sun shines, nor a cloudburst is imminent.
How best to propagate boxwood?
Boxwood can be propagated by cuttings or by division. For propagation with cuttings, the late summer and autumn are suitable. To do this, cut off a 15 cm long shoot against the direction of growth. Then shorten the shoot tip by one third. Remove the lower leaves. Then cut off the protruding bark tongue. Now place the seedlings in pots with cutting soil. Then water well, keep the soil moist and let it grow at room temperature. The following year you can plant the young boxwoods in the garden.
If you want to propagate boxwood by dividing it, the first thing you have to do is get the plant out of the ground. The plant should be cut out generously so that its roots are not damaged. On solid ground, the plant is then divided with a spade. Plant both parts in the bed or pot. However, this propagation option carries a risk. This makes it easier for diseases and pests to enter the plant at the severed site.
Do you have to protect boxwood in winter?
In the bed, evergreen boxwoods do not need additional protection from frost. If the plant is planted in a container, the pot and/or the plant should be covered with a jute bag. In case of smaller pots, it is worthwhile to place them in front of a house wall as well. In the winter months, watering the potted plant should not be forgotten – but only on frost-free days.
Diseases and pests
Boxwood is susceptible to diseases and pests. Among the most common pests is the boxwood borer. The caterpillars of the butterfly eat not only the leaves but also the bark of the plant. If the infestation is detected, the box should be treated with a biological preparation. The box tree rust is caused by a fungus. Is relatively easy to detect. Affected plants turn rust red to brown in color. These should be cut off and disposed of.