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Growing hints for common box (buxus sempervirens)

  • Before planting

    • Unpack and check all the plants. If any plants are missing or damaged, then please notify us on 01502 578598 or email
    • If the plants are bare root, then check the roots have not dried out. If the roots look dry, then stand them in water for approximately half an hour.
    • If bare root plants are not to be planted immediately, then temporarily cover the roots with moist compost or soil.
    • Do not remove the sacking from root balled plants, at least until it is in the planting hole.

  • Growing in containers

    • Box will grow in most garden composts. It will grow in acid or alkaline soil, being happiest around neutral acidity/alkalinity. Make sure the container drains freely.
    • Many garden composts lose all their nutrients after a few weeks. So it is advisable to either add controlled release fertiliser to the compost or to use a liquid feed.
    • Adding a controlled release fertiliser to the compost will make sure the plant grows well without the need for supplementary feeding for a longer period (typically 6 to 18 months depending on the type of fertiliser).
    • If using a liquid feed, then this can be any general purpose liquid feed.
    • Water the plant in well after planting. Water well during long dry spells, especially soon after planting. Do not over-water.
    • Box will grow in sunny or shady conditions. Partial shade is probably the best, especially if in a container. It is frost hardy under normal UK conditions, so can be grown in containers outdoors or in a greenhouse.

  • Growing in open ground

    • In the open ground, box will grow in acid, neutral or alkaline soils. Perhaps best in neutral soils. It prefers moist, well drained soil with a high humus content.
    • It prefers partial shade and a sheltered site. However, it grows well in full Mediterranean sun, in moist shady areas, in dry shade under large trees and in sticky clay. In very shady areas it grows more slowly than where there are higher light levels.
    • Especially when planting young bare root plants, it is very important to place the roots in moist crumbly soil, so the plant can become established. If the soil forms large clods, then break them up as well as possible and add some peat, compost or sand to the soil that is to be placed around the plant’s roots.
    • Water in well after planting.
    • On very exposed sites, consider providing some shelter from the wind until the plants are established.
    • Keep the area around the plant free from weeds, especially while the plant is small.
    • Water well in dry weather during the first year after planting.

  • Trimming

    • Box grows between March and July. If you trim it in this period, it will start new growth in about a month. If you trim it in the autumn or winter the new growth will start in the following spring.
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