Whether as a hedge or in a flower pot, in a classic spherical shape or as a decorative motif plant – the box tree is generally very popular in domestic gardens. The numerous possible uses and designs of the evergreen tree make it a real eye-catcher in every season; even in winter, the decorative lush green leaves provide decorative splashes of color in the wintry white garden. Grown in pretty tubs or terracotta pots, the plant also visually enhances every house entrance and balcony. However, when cultivating in plant vessels, various aspects must be observed so that the plant feels comfortable in both summer and winter and can develop in all its splendor.

Location and soil

Areas in the garden or on the terrace that are in partial shade are ideal locations for the boxwood. However, there are also some species available that prefer slightly sunny areas. In winter, a location in full sun should be avoided, as this poses a greater risk of frost damage because the leaves also evaporate during the cold season. However, if the earth is frozen through, the loss of moisture can no longer be optimally compensated for by the roots. Then there is a risk of drying out in a sunny location. In addition to the ideal location, the composition of the soil also plays a role in the cultivation of the boxwood. The substrate should have the following properties:

  • dry
  • permeable
  • rich in humus
  • ideally a bit chalky
Note: The soil has an unfavorable effect on the growth conditions of the plant if it is too acidic.

Watering and fertilizing – caring for the boxwood

When planting the boxwood in the tub, watering should be kept in mind. Adequate water drainage at the bottom of the bucket is of particular importance. Otherwise, small holes drilled in the ground will also help. The type of planter also plays an important role in the cultivation of the box tree; Experience shows that the plant dries out faster in an unglazed clay bucket and needs to be supplied with water more frequently.

A plastic bucket, on the other hand, guarantees that the absorbed moisture is stored longer. However, the box tree does not need to be kept too moist as a whole, because the plant can also survive long periods of drought, as long as it is not constantly exposed to the blazing sun. However, it is imperative to never let the ball of the pot dry out completely. For the hobby gardener, this means that even during the cold season it has to be watered every now and then so that the box tree does not die of thirst. Dry, sunny cold, which removes a lot of moisture from the plant, is particularly dangerous. During the watering process, make sure that the water does not get onto the leaves of the plant, but is poured directly onto the soil.

The box tree can be fertilized twice a year. A complete fertilizer has proven its worth in spring; alternatively, compost can also be dispensed. The second fertilization takes place in autumn; the potash fertilizer, which is administered at this time, alleviates the risk of frost.

The boxwood is ideally repotted after two to three years. At the latest when the leaves begin to discolor or the plant begins to bald, it is urgently necessary to move it to another container.

To cut

The cutting of the boxwood can be done in many ways. The following basic forms are particularly popular:

  • Spherical shape
  • Pyramid
  • Quaderform

In addition, talented gardeners create sophisticated figures from their boxwood. A strong pruning does not harm the plant. The boxwood is generally cut on sunny and dry days; No cutting measures should be undertaken on very hot days, as the heat causes the cuts to turn brown slightly. Cutting is particularly easy if the plant is watered directly before cutting. However, large amounts of water should be avoided, as in this case there is a risk of infestation by fungi. The months from April to September are the optimal cutting time. When cutting, make sure that green leaves remain on the box, as the plant can recover from this and sprout again after it has been cut. Sharp scissors are needed to cut ornate decorations into the boxwood; the cut is made specifically from top to bottom, then the gardener gradually works his way into the interior of the plant. However, one has to pay attention to the leafless wood that is inside the plant; this must not be damaged under any circumstances. A wire stencil is particularly useful for cutting creative figures into the tree. The boxwood grows into the template and is then cut according to this. this must not be damaged under any circumstances. A wire stencil is particularly useful for cutting creative figures into the tree. The boxwood grows into the template and is then cut according to this. this must not be damaged under any circumstances. A wire stencil is particularly useful for cutting creative figures into the tree. The boxwood grows into the template and is then cut according to this.

Even if no ornate decorations are desired, the boxwood should be cut regularly; At least the shoots from the previous year should be cut because the foliage will then develop more densely. At the same time, it is necessary to remove dried twigs in order to prevent various fungal diseases.


the planter should never be placed directly on the icy ground; It has been proven to use styrofoam or wooden boards as a base so that the cold cannot penetrate directly into the substrate.

As an ideal insulation material, fir branches should also be placed on the edge of the tub; alternatively, a piece of fleece, cut to size, provides additional warmth. In order to protect the root ball from climatic influences, it has proven to be useful to attach additional insulation made of leaves, wood wool or straw between the bucket and the pot. If there is no additional pot and the boxwood has been planted directly in the tub, it can be covered with a piece of fleece or a bubble wrap. So that the appearance does not suffer, hobby gardeners can wrap the construction with a jute sack and decorate it with bows or ribbons. In addition to the precautions for optimal thermal insulation, the choice of location also plays a role when the box tree is overwintered, to which the crop is moved during the cold season, a role. Different criteria should be taken into account here:
  • Location close to the house wall
  • Choose areas protected from the wind
  • Wintering on the north side of the house

If the boxwood and the pot are to overwinter outdoors, it can also be buried in the ground. Then the plant hibernates like the outdoor growth. On frost-free days, the plant should be supplied with a little water.

Once the cold season is over, the underlay and coating are removed again in spring.

Propagation of the boxwood

The boxwood is preferably propagated using cuttings. For this purpose, a branch that is no longer too young is cut from the plant in autumn, which should have a total length of about 10 centimeters. At the cut point, the bark should already have turned a light brown color. The bottom leaves are then removed from the cutting, which is set flat in potting soil. In this way, as much oxygen as possible reaches the interface. The cutting begins to grow at room temperature, but without direct sunlight. If the cutting is removed in summer, sufficient roots will have developed by spring. Then the young boxwood is strong enough to first put it in a suitable pot and then outdoors in spring.

In principle, propagation is also possible by spreading the seeds and then growing them. However, this type of propagation turns out to be very tedious, so that mostly cuttings are planted.

Pests and diseases

In recent years the box tree moth, which originally comes from China, has also spread in domestic gardens. In our latitudes no natural enemies of the pest have yet developed, which is why nothing stands in the way of its spread. The caterpillars cause considerable damage to the decorative plants within a short time; in this way they transform the boxwood into a bare skeleton, whereby the insects not only feed on the leaves, but also partly on the bark. The first damage caused by feeding should be carefully observed and then caterpillars should be collected directly. The webs in which the box tree moth hibernates also have to be cut out of the plant in order to ward off further infestation.

Another characteristic disease of the boxwood is the death of shoots, which is caused by the infestation by Cylidrocladium buxicola. This fungus, which penetrates the plant through the leaves, can lead to total failure. The following symptoms are typical symptoms:

  • dark brown to black discoloration on leaves and young shoots
  • white spore beds on the underside of the leaves
  • Drying up of the infected parts of the plant

As an effective countermeasure, vigorous pruning is required after an infestation. This cuts right into the healthy wood. All separated parts of the plant must be carefully disposed of, as the fungal spores will remain contagious for several years!

Decorative, versatile and can be changed again and again – the boxwood is without a doubt one of the most important and popular potted plants in home gardens. The robust plant, which requires very little care overall, beautifies every plant area both in summer and in winter. If you do not forget that certain precautions must be taken with regard to wintering in the pot and the plant also needs a certain amount of moisture during the cold season, you will surely enjoy the long-lived plant for a long time.

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