Box Hedging

Buxus or Box hedging is a very popular plant for low growing hedges, used both as formal and informal hedges it is a versatile plant. However with more varieties than most gardeners think it is well worth taking time to examine them in detail before planting.

We tend to see Box Hedging used as a formal low border, used in knot gardens and even mazes. However growth habits are different and taller growing varieties can make excellent screens

English Box
This is the type most often used in low hedges in formal gardens, topiary and knot gardens. What we commonly call English Box is Buxus sempervirens. It is dense growing and copes well with a wide range of soil conditions. Reasonably drought tolerant and it will grow in full sun to part shade.

Fairly upright growing when young so plant fairly close for a dense hedge a rate of around 5 plants per metre.

Dutch Box
This is slower growing variety, Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa' also known as the Dwarf Box. It has a dense habit, will grow to around 1m and is actually better in the long term for the more formal parterre gardens and low growing hedges.

The foliage is actually closer together, so it really lends itself more readily to shaping. Growth rate is slow and it may take 8 - 10 years to reach its height. In terms of spacing look at 7 plants per metre or approximately 15 cm apart.

Best pruned at the end of MAay or early June depending a little on the season, the plants need to be in active growth and yet pruned early enough for the new growth to harden up before winter.

It may seem like a bit of a task but the experts still use hand shears when pruning. If given space and left unpruned Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa' will form a nice rounded shape.

Similar in soil, fertiliser and planting to English Box

Japanese Box
As it is fast growing Buxus microphylla var. japonica or what we commonly call Japanese Box is an excellent topiary plant, however it is a little larger leafed. Grows well in warmer climates and will reach around 2 - 3m and be pruned into a in good shape. If left unpruned it can get to 4m plus

An excellent topiary specimen and it is faster growing than the above species forming a 45cm (1'6") ball in three years. The leaves are more coarse and it has a tendency to flower sparsely and so is not favored by Geoff for his fine topiaries.

Korean Box
Probably the best for shaded positions Buxus microphylla var. microphylla has a looser habit that others. Excellent in courtyards and tight situations as it does not have the unpleasant smell of Buxus sempervirens in these conditions. Plant at 5 per metre.

Other Information

Selecting the right Buxus or Box plants.
Look for plants that have glossy green foliage and are uniform in height and shape. You will find plants with a bushy habit and multiple stems, as well as those with single stems. The bushy ones are best for hedging, the single stems are for topiary.

It is best to prepare the soil first, dig in well rotted compost and some manure, ensure that drainage is good. Be a little careful when planting next to buildings and fences that the position has adequate soil, if you need to dig out rubble and replace with soil it is better to do this at the start.

Measure out the spacing so it is even, as we said 5 plants per metre is a guide. Dig the holes and sit the plants in them. Stand back and tale a look, if everything looks even then backfill.

Water in well with a liquid seaweed fertiliser and mulch.

Initial Care

In the UK plants may require some additional water over the first summer, do not let dry out, but do not over water.

The first pruning should be carried out in spring, just a light trim. You should get some new growth at this stage and then you can prune again in summer, but avoid hot weather.

Once established prune twice a year, once in spring and again in mid summer. If you need to hard prune to reinvigorate older plans do this in spring. You can cut back fairly hard to 20cm if needed. Sometimes it is better to replace the plants if they are really under performing, this allows the soil to be replenished as well.

You can find Box or Buxus varieties foer sale at the following nurseries.

HEDGES DIRECT Ltd - phone 01257 263873
Five Acres Nursery Dawbers Lane Euxton PR7 6EE
Huge range of beautiful hedging plants, bare root, cell grown, pot grown, or root balled. All the main hedging species in all sizes. Thousands of satisfied customers. Discounts on large orders. Min order value 20 & FREE DELIVERY on orders over 50. Advice by phone or email

BEST 4 HEDGING Ltd - phone 01257 261243
269 Southport Road, Leyland PR26 8LQ
Buy Direct from the Growers - FREE delivery over 50. Huge discounts on orders over 300. Privet, Yew, Escallonia, Griselinia, Laurel, Beech, Hawthorn, Box, Hornbeam, Lavender, Holly, Lonicera, Photinia, Thuja and many others - plants from 30cm to 3m plus.

THE BIG BAMBOO GARDEN COMPANY - phone 01792 541 Mobile: 07764 405 335
72 Llanllienwen Road Cwmrhydyceirw, Swansea, SA6 6NA
Root-balled hedging plants in Box, Yew, Laurel and Portuguese Laurel in all sizes. Great quality and prices.

GRASSLANDS NURSERY - phone: 01565 722836
Free Green Lane, Peover Superior, Knustford, Cheshire, WA16 9QY
Hedging, topiary shapes and much more. Nationwide delivery available.

MILL FARM TREES phone - 01798 831008
Bury Mill Farm, Bury, Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 1NN
Hedging plants to gardeners, farms and estates. Privet, beech, blackthorn, guelder rose, hornbeam & yew.

Box hedging comes in a number of species and cultivars including some more upright or columular types well suited to growing in narrow confined spaces.

More Hedging Plants for the UK including a wide range of hedging styles suitable for hedges in almost any situation, hedging plants include low and tall growing plants, hedging plants for shade and sun as well as flowering, fast growing and slow growing hedges.