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Boxwood, a shrub with easy configuration for flower beds or pots

Botanical classification: The boxwood Buxus sempervirens is an evergreen shrub of the botanical family buxaceae. More than 120 species of mainly shrubs and small trees belong to the family.

Origin: It is a native plant of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia.

Other names: Pyxos, tsimishiri and tsamsiri are other lesser known and used names for boxwood. The English common name for the plant is boxwood.

Toxicity: The leaves and branches of boxwood contain alkaloids that can cause toxicity or poisoning in domestic animals such as dogs, cats and horses. Skin irritations have been reported in humans following contact with leaf or branch sap during pruning. The fall (mainly leaves) can cause rashes, vomiting or diarrhea.

Botanical characteristics of the boxwood plant

Height – Plant Growth: Boxwood is an evergreen shrub with compact vegetation. In height it can reach 2.5-3 meters but it is usually pruned at lower levels.

Leaves: Its leaves are small with an oval shape. They grow on the stems in a dense arrangement and opposite each other. The young leaves are light green in color but gradually turn dark green, with a leathery texture and a shiny surface.

Flowers: The flowers have no ornamental value. They are small, yellowish and grow in the axils of the leaves in taxa.

Roots: Boxwood’s root system is dense but not deep.

Suitable conditions for proper growth

Growth rate: Boxwood grows at a slow rate. On average every year it grows by 10-15 cm.

Location: Semi-shady spots or spots not in direct sunlight are the best choice for boxwood. The plant can also grow in sunny places but when the sun is too strong the leaves will show sunburn.

Θερμοκρασία: Το πυξάρι είναι ιδιαίτερα ανθεκτικό φυτό στις χαμηλές θερμοκρασίες.

Έδαφος-Χώμα: Τα ασβεστώδη εδάφη με καλή αποστράγγιση είναι ιδανικά για την ανάπτυξη του πυξαριού. Ωστόσο το φυτό μπορεί να προσαρμοστεί και να αναπτυχθεί καλά στα περισσότερα εδάφη που αποστραγγίζουν καλά.

Temperature: Boxwood is a very resistant plant to low temperatures.

Soil-Soil: Calcareous soils with good drainage are ideal for growing boxwood. However, the plant can adapt and grow well in most well-draining soils.

Moisture: Excessive soil moisture is usually responsible for the development of boxwood root system diseases. In addition, it makes the plant more vulnerable to enemies and diseases.

Care that boxwood needs

Boxwood is one of the most resistant and “tough” plants. It does not need special care for its development.

Watering: Young plants until they are established need regular watering with small doses of water. Watering should be repeated even every second day depending on the season and temperature. Once established and new growth begins to appear they do not need regular watering, however the soil should not be allowed to dry out. Usually watering is done in the summer months and in the winter only when it hasn’t rained enough.

Fertilizer: The boxwood has no special regulations on fertilization. Nevertheless, nitrogen fertilization in the spring favors its growth and also its protection against enemies and diseases. On the other hand, excessive fertilizing can damage the relative root system of the plant.

Boxwood Pruning and Grooming: Boxwood does not need pruning to maintain its density and develop new branches. On the contrary, sometimes it is necessary to thin out the vegetation so that the sun and air pass through the inside of the crown and keep the plant healthy. So once every spring it is good to remove old and aging branches and even leaves that have dried and remain on the plant.

However, boxwood is par excellence a shrub ideal for pruning and shaping. It is probably the most suitable plant for creating a border, plant frames, fences, shapes and of course topiary (shaped plants).

How is multiplication done in the boxwood

Boxwood is usually propagated by cuttings. The cuttings are cut in early spring (before new growth starts) or autumn (before cold temperatures start) and are 15-20 cm long. From their base and for about 10 cm, the leaves are also removed from the cuttings without rooting hormone.

The cuttings are planted in individual positions with a mixture of peat: perlite 1:1. A hole is first drilled in the substrate at the planting site so that the rooting hormone does not drift to the surface of the substrate.

Other ways of propagation are by offshoots and cuttings.

In which positions do we plant boxwood in the garden?

The ornamental value of boxwood is mainly due to the color and texture of the foliage, the small size of the leaves and the compact growth of the plant. Boxwood is planted every 20-50 cm to create hedges, frames and borders.

It can be shaped into impressive circular, spherical, pyramidal, etc. shapes. and to be the central element in flower beds and lawns. It is also used for planting in entrances to the ground or in plant containers. Planted about 1m apart and pruned into small balls it decorates walkways in gardens. Of course it can be planted in rock gardens or combined with seasonal flowering, aromatic and grassy plants.

Boxwood is a particularly important plant in landscape architecture as it is found in many historic and formal gardens.

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