If an evergreen shrub that is used to have in any corner (I repeat, in any), that is the common boxwood. It is very resistant, and can be pruned to form a hedge, or it can be allowed to grow as a small tree a meter and a half or two high. In addition, by having the small leaves it is very easy to work it as bonsaibeing able to have a more than interesting specimen in just three years.
Characteristics of the Buxus sempervirens
The Buxux sempervirens is an evergreen shrub or tree, that is, it stays evergreen throughout the year. But this does not mean that some will not fall off, but that at the same time that the older ones fall off, new ones will come out. You can find it growing wild in Europe, specifically in the British Isles down to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Caspian Sea. It belongs to the botanical family Buxaceae, and is characterized by a slow growth rate and very small leaves, barely 2cm long, with a very visible central vein.
In habitat it can reach 12m in height, although in cultivation it is rarely allowed to exceed 2-3m. The stem is highly branched, with a greyish-brown bark. The flowers are monoecious, this means that there are female and male flowers, but they are both present on the same plant. They have no aroma, but they are rich in nectar, so attract beeswhich are sure to be used to pollinate the flowers in your garden . Once pollinated, the fruit begins to mature, and when it is fully mature, it is a brown or gray capsule that measures about 1cm, inside which are the seeds.
There are many cultivars of boxwood, including the Buxus sempervirens ‘Rotundifolia’or the Buxus sempervirens »suffruticosa»also called the small-leaved boxwood that reaches only 1m in height.
Common boxwood care
How to have a common box tree that is always healthy? Actually, it is much easier than it seems, since you only have to keep in mind the following:
The boxwood tree will grow best outdoors, in an area where it is in direct sunlight. It can also be in a semi-shady corner, but it is important that it receives a lot of light. It supports well the frosts of up to -10ºC.
Irrigation has to be occasionalallowing the substrate or soil to dry completely before watering again. In general, it will be watered 2-3 times a week in summer, and every 6-7 days the rest of the year.
During spring and summer it is highly recommended to pay iteither with mineral fertilizers for green plants, or with organic fertilizers (guano, horse manure, worm castings).
Soil or substrate
It is very adaptable, although if you are going to have it in the garden, a limestone soil will be better for it. On the other hand, if you want to have it in a pot, it is advisable that you use universal growing medium mixed with 30% perlite to avoid waterlogging.
Whether you are going to plant it in a pot or directly in the garden, the ideal time to do it is in springwhen the risk of frost has passed.
The Buxus sempervirens can be pruned in early spring or mid fall. You have to use pruning tools previously disinfected with pharmacy alcohol, and with them remove:
- the branches dry, sick and weak,
- and the branches that have grown more than the others, giving it a wild and little cared appearance.
Reproduction of Buxus sempervirens
Would you like to have more copies of boxwood? If so, you can do it either by seeds or by cuttings.
Seeding and watching a boxwood plant germinate can take time, but it is a very beautiful experience that is well worth having. To do this, the seeds have to be collected in autumn, and stratify them in the fridge for three months in a tupperware with vermiculite. After that time, it will be time to sow them in pots with universal growing substrateand always keep it moist.
The first seedlings will come out after 2 months.
Reproducing boxwood by cuttings is the way that is used the most, as it is much faster. To do this, you have to take semi-woody branches in autumn, plant them in pots with universal substrate, and placed in cold greenhouses. By the end of summer they will have rooted, and you can plant them in the garden or in larger pots.
Boxwood pests and diseases
It is a very resistant plant, but the truth is that it can be affected by various pests and diseases, which are:
- MealybugsLike cotton wool, they can be prevented and combated by spraying boxwood with paraffin oil.
- Spider mite: leaves the leaves yellow, with a silver hue. They are fought with acaricides.
- Boxwood mosquito: more specifically, its larvae eat the leaves of the plant. He fights with Diazinon.
- Root rot– If the leaves lose color and the plant looks wilted, it is most likely attacked by a Phytophthora fungus. In this case, you have to start it.
- Chancre: it is the disease that causes the most damage. The leaves turn yellow and stick to the branches. Both the leaves and the branches have small pink pustules, which are of the fungus Pseudometria rousseliana. If your box has, you must cut the affected parts, and treat it with systemic fungicides.
- Roya: small black dots appear on the leaves, and they may fall. It can be fought with systemic fungicides.
Common boxwood as Bonsai
As we said before, the Buxus sempervirens It is a plant that can be worked very easily as bonsai, mainly due to the small size of its leaves and its growth rate. But how? A) Yes:
- Style: the first thing to do is find a style for it. To do this, we have to focus on the movement of his trunk, since he will be the one to “tell” us which one will be the most appropriate. You can use several, being more recommended Chokkan, Yoseue, and Moyogi.
- Pruning: young branches have to be cut, leaving 2 pairs of leaves in spring and summer.
- Wiring: you can wire whenever you want, but you don’t have to leave the wire for a long time.
- Transplant: every two, using a porous substrate, such as 70% akadama and 30% kiryuzuna.
- Subscriber: in spring and summer it will be paid with fertilizers rich in nitrogen.
And so far our special one of the most interesting plants for gardens and pots. We hope you find it useful to take care of your boxwood .