Buxus sempervirens, more commonly known as Box hedging, is one of Best4hedging’s top 5 bestselling species, and it’s easy to see why. The huge range of features that Box hedging offers makes it a great choice for a variety of different uses, with Box being most popularly used for formal hedging, low borders, parterres, knot gardens and path edging – and, not forgetting its frequent use as topiary.
If all that isn’t enough to make you see why Buxus is a fantastic hedging choice, we’ve got 10 more reasons to help change your mind…
Plant your Box hedging anywhere in your garden and it will thrive – it’s tolerant of all soil types and planting positions (it’s best to avoid very waterlogged or boggy sites though).
Once established, Buxus sempervirens is drought tolerant, so you don’t have to worry if you forget to water every once in a while.
As Box is a native species, it reflects the biodiversity of local natural spaces, attracting a variety of insects including bees that appear in the spring to pollinate the small, modest flowers.
Buxus sempervirens is a slow growing hedging species, achieving only about 10-15cm a year – this makes it very low maintenance.
Most hedging species are available in a range of root types, however, Box is the only hedging available in root ball form year-round due to its strong root system.
Buxus is an extremely long living species. Box plants have been known to live for hundreds of years!
Buxus sempervirens is easy to prune – trimming twice a year, once in June and again in autumn, is all the maintenance it needs. And, if you wet the leaves before pruning, the cut ends will heal quicker, helping to prevent disease.
Box hedging is available in a range of different plant sizes, so whether you want a low border or a medium hedging screen, there is a Box plant to suit.
The small, compact and attractive foliage of Box makes it great for topiary.
Planting and Care
Planting a Box Hedge
Before planting a Box hedge, it’s important to consider the planting position, taking into account sunlight exposure and soil type. Box hedging plants prefer partially shaded to full sun areas, sheltered from strong winds. Box hedges will tolerate most soil types but grow best in moist, well-drained conditions.
When planting any type of hedge, you need to prepare the planting site well. This can be done by adding well-rotted organic matter or horse manure to the bottom of the trench, which should be big enough to hold the root mass of the plants. We also advise taking a look at our planting essentials, which include fertilisers and root treatments that will help to establish your hedging plants.
When planting Box for a hedge, leave about 30-40cms between each plant, ensuring there is enough room for the roots to develop. When growing as an individual specimen, leave about a foot between any fences or walls and the planting site; and for container growing, make sure the pot is deep enough for the root system to be well covered when planted.
After planting your Box hedge, make sure the soil has been pressed down firmly around the base of the plant, then water thoroughly.
How to Care for Box Hedging
As with all newly planted hedges, it is important to water in well. However, when watering Box hedge plants, make sure you water directly to the roots rather than over the foliage to reduce the risk of Box blight.
Box hedge care is slightly different to most other hedging plants, as Box hedges not be pruned when first planted. It is best to hold off on pruning until your Box hedge has reached the final desired height, as pruning prior to this will decrease the growth rate.
How often you prune your established Box hedge is dependent on the look you wish to achieve. For a more formal hedge we recommend pruning twice a year, in spring and autumn. For a more informal aesthetic, pruning is only needed once a year in autumn or winter. When pruning Box hedging, it is best to first trim the top of your hedge and then the side branches, as this encourages bushy growth and prevents any gaps appearing in your hedge.
A great characteristic of this species is that you can hard prune Box hedging. This is useful if you ever need to prune an overgrown Box hedge. It is best to hard prune Box hedges in spring, as it will make a faster recovery during this time, compared to any other point in the year and will quickly regain its lost height.
Sometimes new Box hedges can develop slight colour variations amongst their foliage. This is usually nothing to worry about and can easily be resolved. The most common changes that occur are yellowing tips and bronzed, discoloured or scorched leaves. These symptoms are often due to seasonal and environmental impacts rather than disease, so the best way to help your hedge recover is by ensuring it is well watered (directly to the roots instead of over the foliage) and giving it a light prune to remove any affected leaves.
If you do discover signs of Box blight, it is advised to remove the affected leaves and stems immediately, as well as any fallen leaves or branches surrounding the hedge. All materials should be burned to prevent further spread of the disease. If Box Blight is still a persistent issue in your area, we’d recommend Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata) or Euonymus Jean Hugues for hedging plants that create a similar effect, but are resistent to the disease. All can be found in our Parterre Hedging area.
Box is an excellent hedging choice for year-round coverage, wildlife interest and attractive, evergreen foliage. For our full range, including Box topiary trees, click here.