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How to care for buxus plants
They are like an island in my landscape. The plants start out lush, green, then unfurrow their furry canopy. It's always fun to watch as they unfold and extend their shades to the park, the neighbor, the street. They are good for slowing traffic to a stop and quietly greeting the people who pass by. They bring a feeling of integrity to my garden because of their low maintenance, structure, and substance.
What is buxus?
Buxus plants are primarily ornamental plants that grow naturally in America. You'll recognize the tree of heaven, the native umbrella plant and the sprawling buxus in your own landscape.
Buxus plants in the landscape
Buxus are treelike evergreen plants that grow up to twenty-five feet tall and have a long history of use in the landscape. They are grown as ornamentals and shrubs in backyards and gardens and as trees in parks, shade trees, residential yards, and along roads.
This article explains why buxus are desirable, what kinds to grow, how to grow them and provide you with some common problems that you may encounter. I should note that I have had buxus plants that survived years of neglect and abuse, they even survived an orchid blizzard. With good care, buxus have lasted a lifetime. If you have a buxus, you should be able to enjoy it for a very long time as well.
How do you decide what buxus plant to put in your garden?
The answer is a bit different for each one. There are different kinds of buxus plants that I think look the best in your garden. The distinction between them is mainly in appearance.
Tree of heaven: The tree of heaven (Araucaria araucana) is native to Chile and Argentina. It is one of the few native trees that grow in the southern United States.When you look at a tree of heaven in its native environment, you will see a full, rounded canopy that can grow for 50 feet tall.
In the landscape, tree of heaven is considered an elegant shade tree. It is graceful and statesly, usually grows in groups of two or three. They are drought tolerant. Because of their large size, tree of heaven can be easily maintained and is one of the easiest to grow.
Low buxus: The low buxus (Buxus microphylla) is a small, dome-shaped buxus with three leaf leaflets and a lacy, buttony appearance. You may know this type of buxus as the umbrella plant or ground cover. In the landscape, you may see low buxus growing in a formal garden, mixed in a shrub border, or in the ground.
The low buxus can get quite large, up to five feet tall, and even a half-dozen feet wide. They can be slow-growing, but will have a thick, substantial canopy that will be shading the area beneath it. Although they don't grow very tall, they have a high tolerance for shade and the lower leaves will stay green through the year.
The yellow buxus: When you have a sunny location in your yard, one of the best plants to use is the yellow buxus. You will be able to grow a more intense color and texture of leaves than you can with the other two types of buxus. Yellow buxus make a great accent, too, for it is a bright yellow color, with more shades of orange and red.
The yellow buxus will be small in stature, no taller than four feet. You may find a few in a shrub border or a few on your patio, but it will provide a bright yellow color in a setting.
Growing your own buxus
Selecting a planting site
Once you have selected which buxus plant you would like to have in your garden, it's time to prepare your space for it. Consider your planting location carefully and decide where it will look best in your landscape.
Determine if you are able to accept the design elements of the space where your buxus will be growing, such as age or shape of the house, presence of a low wall or retaining wall, and so on. Your design considerations should reflect your personal tastes.
Some gardeners prefer to have a full, rounded buxus, which often takes up a small space in the landscape. Other people like a low or wide buxus that takes up space but is not overwhelming in appearance.
If you do a lot of gardening, be sure to consider where you will place your tools, too. You will want to keep access as easy as possible, especially if you will be pruning buxus. You will also want to choose a location for your watering system. If you have a spigot, then the location of that will affect how easy it is to access water.
Once you have determined where your buxus should be planted, it is time to prepare the planting hole. For a small, ground-cover type, dig a hole three to four inches deep. For a low or wide buxus, dig a hole five to six inches deep.
Expect to create a planting hole that is six to eight inches deep in your garden bed. Make sure you have a planting hole that is large enough to accommodate your plant, but not too large. It is important to keep the planting hole at least a foot larger than your buxus plant's overall height