Why is box (Buxus) so popular with gardeners? Easy – Buxus or ‘box’ is a garden hero! Lustrous green leaves all year round mean that it provides permanent structure and colour. Perfect for hedging, either ornamental or functional, it works just as well as a feature plant in a central place. It’s also great in a container on the patio or next to a doorway. Add to this flexibility the special surprise that box brings, and you have all the elements that coincide to make it a star Garden Plant of the Month this April.
The special surprise? Buxus can be pruned into beautiful shapes like virtually no other garden plant – it is the perfect platform for that noble art of topiary. Ideally do your pruning between April and October with a hedge trimmer and clippers. Simple shapes (balls, pyramids, or smart right-angled hedges) come quite easily but for more complicated shapes you’ll need more patience and time.
Easy to care for
Box (Buxus sempervirens) is happy in sun or shade. Planting is simple: dig a hole one and a half or two times the size of the root ball, loosen the soil in the base and work in some compost, backfill with soil and water it properly. Well-rotted manure, pelleted chicken manure or plant food will stimulate healthy root growth and help the plant establish itself quickly.
Good to know:
- Don’t allow the buxus to dry out for long periods. Make sure you continue to watery even in winter (especially container grown plants) and feed with a water-soluble fertilizer monthly. They prefer neutral to alkaline conditions so apply a little lime if your soil tends to be more acidic.
- Buxus thrives in the sun, but also does well in shade, where the leaves will develop a deep green colour.
- Tip: pot-grown buxus plants receive very little rainwater because the plant has such dense foliage. Check daily that the soil isn’t too dry and give plants a drink if they need it.