The first descriptions of evergreen boxwood are preserved in antique treatises of the 6th century. People from antiquity used this plant in landscaping, and thanks to the excellent tolerance of shearing these bushes to this day remain the target objects of topirian art.
You just can’t see fancy green figures in boxwood gardens around the world! The cultivation of boxwood is widely practiced in Russian gardens.
Boxwood or buxus, Is an evergreen compact growing ornamental shrub. All boxwoods are characterized by slow growth (annual growth up to 15-20 cm) and unusually dense wood.
The entire genus Boxwood combines about 70 types of shrubs or low trees - from 2 to 12 m, which have a very peculiar appearance. Wild boxwood sometimes reaches 15 m, but the height of cultivated species rarely exceeds 3-6 m.
About what types of boxwood are, and how to grow these shrubs in the gardens of the middle band, you will learn by reading this material.
What are the types of boxwood: photos, names, description
Various types of boxwood are distributed throughout all continents except Antarctica. The largest distribution area is Eurasia, here from the British Isles to northern China, Japan and Indonesia, there are approximately 25 types of boxwood.
Only northern representatives of the Eurasian group are relatively winter-hardy species of this genus.
The following is presented shrub description boxwood of different types.
Boxwood, or evergreen, - the most famous European species and the only one that is common in culture in Russia.
It grows over a wide area from the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea to the south-eastern part of England and the southern part of Germany.
There are numerous garden forms of evergreen boxwood, which differ in the size of the leaves and the growth form of adult plants: from squat elfin trees to tall vertical bushes.
See what an ordinary boxwood looks like on these photos:
There are still variegated forms. Sufficiently resistant to the cold of Central Europe, these species practically do not withstand the climate of central Russia. Only spherical and variegated forms survive here.
Caucasian box - the most small-leaved and the most winter-hardy among European boxwoods. Under natural conditions, it grows in the mountain gorges of western Transcaucasia and in northern Turkey along the eastern and southeastern coast of the Black Sea.
In the middle of winter, steady snow cover is often kept in the natural habitats of the plant, and the temperature drops to -5 ... -10 ° С.
The Caucasian, or Colchisian boxwood, can endure Moscow's frosts under the snow without shelter, although severe, snowless winters significantly damage its crown. In any case, the Caucasian box can grow in conditions of central Russia only in the form of a bush, without becoming a tree.
Box gyrkan grows along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, it looks like an evergreen box with leaf size, but its shape is different. This box looks like a low shrub that in nature never takes on a tree shape. For winter hardiness, it is significantly inferior to evergreen boxwood.
These photos illustrate descriptions of boxwood of various types:
Boxwood is easy to distinguish by leathery glossy leaves. Most of its varieties have hard, small, entire leaves 1,5-5 cm long and up to 2,5 cm wide.
As seen in the photo, in this species of evergreen boxwood, the leaves are oppositely arranged on thin thick branches:
The oval shape is varied in width - from round to lanceolate. In summer, the leaves are dark green above and almost yellow below. In winter, they can get a brownish color, but will turn green again in spring.
The flowers are small, inconspicuous, woody, in axillary inflorescences, yellowish-green. Same-sex and monoecious, they are located on the same shoot. Fragrant, but produce a strong odor, even if the plants are at rest.
They send this warning for a reason: in most types of boxwood, all parts are quite poisonous, especially the leaves. When describing this plant it is worth warning that the leaves of boxwood, getting inside the human body, cause severe poisoning.
The fruits of boxwood are hardly noticeable - they are small (0,5-1,5 cm long) boxes with three nests, which contain small shiny black seeds.
Boxwood can be grown in a stab form by selecting plants with a good central shoot. Side shoots are cut to the desired level and shorten the rest. The plant will begin to branch well and turn into a beautiful ball on the leg.
Here you can see photos of boxwood of different types, the names of which are given above:
How to grow boxwood in the garden
All boxwoods in their natural habitats show themselves as very unpretentious plants. They are able to settle on almost bare stones, on the edges and in the thickets of deciduous shrubs, as well as in dense deciduous forests.
Boxwood are one of the most shade-tolerant shrubs of southern European and Caucasian forests. They have a small need for water and light, but as a subtropical plants, they make quite high demands on heat.
In order to grow boxwood as the right technology suggests, in conditions of central Russia, where it is cool in the shade, they need to be planted in sufficiently lit areas protected from the wind.
However, the box in the middle lane requires some shading from the bright spring rays of the sun. It should not be planted near the wall facing south; here the green leaves of the plant are quickly damaged. Optimal conditions for growing boxwood can be provided in areas with bright scattered light, but without direct midday sunlight.
When planting and caring for boxwood, keep in mind that this is an evergreen plant, so harsh winters can harm it not so much with frost as with evaporation of moisture from the leaves. Due to the freezing of the soil, the roots of the plant cannot compensate for the lack of moisture, and the foliage begins to dry.
The boards are unpretentious to the fertility and acidity of the soil, but they need good water permeability - they do not tolerate stagnant water. To provide decent conditions for growing boxwood in the garden, ensure the availability of drained soil; structured clay soil containing lime is also quite suitable for it.
Under natural conditions boxwood live on slightly acid soils of mountain slopes and deciduous forests. Often the soil layer in the places of their growth is so thin that it barely covers the stones, so the plant roots are usually fixed simply in the cracks of the stones.
When caring for boxwood plants need to be cut regularly - this is a classic shrub for organizing green building. In Western European gardens, the boxwood is usually assigned the main role in very dense hedges and parks decorating with all sorts of green figures of geometric or fantasy forms.
The haircut can give the box ovoid, cone-shaped or pyramidal shape. Such landings will decorate paths, lawns or front garden.
This photo shows the main agricultural methods of planting and caring for boxwood:
Low-bordered forms of boxwood are used to frame tracks, ridges and flower beds. Growing tall varieties of boxwood is advisable to form green hedges and backstage, against which grow roses and flowering herbaceous perennials.
The green leaves of boxwood are beautifully combined with flowers of various shades. A border made of boxwood is appropriate in rural gardens where flowers and vegetables are grown on one flowerbed. Such a border will give landings complete forms.
Evergreen box and tall Caucasian boxwood are more suitable for creating hedges and high scenes in southern Russia. In the middle lane, evergreen boxwood is used to make all kinds of borders and low separation walls inside the plot. The height of such hedges is determined by the height of the snow cover.
Boxes are propagated by seeds and cuttings. Quite large seeds, equal in size to the seeds of apple trees, and sometimes more, ripen in late autumn or early winter. With spring sowing, they need low-temperature stratification, with a wintering season they sprout well even in the middle region.
But the problem is that the seeds can only be obtained from plants that live in the south. In the middle latitudes boxwoods bloom far from every year and practically do not tie fruit. In addition, plants grown from seeds during the first few years develop very slowly.
Here you can see photos of proper planting of boxwood and plant care:
For this reason, these plants propagate by cutting. It is recommended to take cuttings of boxwood for spring breeding and care before well-growing shoots, in late April or early May, from well-developed plants.
The 15-20 cm-long cutting with 2-3-interstitials is cut off almost the entire last year's increase with part of the escape of the year before last. Larger cuttings root poorly, and too small grow slowly.
In order to quickly get large plants, choose cuttings of a length of at least 20-30 cm, taken from the parent plant in July or August. In the place of the break a thin strip of bark is removed with a sharp knife. For growing boxwood prepared cuttings are placed in a sandy substrate and grown in a greenhouse.
All shoots on the handle pruned about a third. Boxwood cuttings even with good care during cultivation take root and grow rather slowly, but confidently. When using root formation stimulants, they give roots before the expiration of a month after their planting.
Pay attention to the photo - with good care for boxwood by the fall, their root system will already be well formed, individual roots can reach 20 cm in length:
In the warm season, the cuttings are planted in a loose, humus-rich clay soil in a semi-shaded protected place. Previously, the plot is lined with black film to suppress weed growth and prevent the soil from drying out.
Summer cutting is also successful, although the roots of summer seedlings ripen weaker. They can die off if winter is frosty and snowless.
For the same reason, saplings obtained by cutting, even with a well-developed root system, are not recommended to be transplanted from a greenhouse in the same autumn. It is better to postpone this work until the next spring.
The box is also propagated by layering, for which one shoot is bent to the ground, secured with a wooden stud and sprinkled it with soil.
Good result when planting and quality care provide container saplings of evergreen boxwood - bushy, with green shoots and leaves. You should not buy planting material with yellow leaves or bare shoots.
How to care for boxwood in the garden
In order to successfully care for evergreen boxwood in central Russia, you should choose the right landing site, well protected from the wind prevailing in winter. The box is suitable open sunny place or partial shade.
It is not recommended to abuse the high shade tolerance of the plant. Under the dense canopy of deciduous trees, bushes become very thinned and lose their decorative effect.
Under the conditions of a cold summer, boxwood shoots in thick shade do not have time to mature and can freeze in winter. However, they are also harmed by the withering midday sun in summer. The best place for boxwood is where the sun illuminates them in the morning and in the evening, and during the daytime the shadow falls.
Planting plants and further care for boxwood with a closed root system can be made into a hedge from spring to autumn. However, the best time to plant is spring. 2-3-year-old seedlings are planted between April and mid-May. It is recommended to choose cloudy days for landing.
The area allotted for planting boxwood, pre-dig, fertilize. Unpretentious to the fertility of the soil, boxwood still grows better on fertilized soil, here it gives a good increase. On poor soils, the plant produces leafy short shoots suitable for shearing.
For planting and further care of bushes, boxwood is digging a trench or planting hole 2 times deeper and wider than the root ball of a plant with a closed root system.
The bottom of the landing pit is filled with 10-15-centimeter layer of compost, mixed with ground with forks. To fill the trench using a fertile mixture of peat, turf soil and sand in the ratio 2: 2: 1.
Valuable qualities of boxwood have led to the fact that the once vast forests were practically cut down. Now only small islands remained of them, but the large boxwood trees almost did not survive.
The saplings removed from the containers are carefully lowered into the trench, taking care not to destroy the earthen clod around the roots. The roots entangled on the root clod surface are gently straightened with a sharp knife. Before planting saplings of boxwood with an open root system, the roots are placed in water at room temperature for a day.
Bushes are planted in a trench at a distance of 30-40 cm from one another, maintaining the same depth as they grew in containers. Seedlings sprinkle with soil, gently compact it and water well.
Adult bushes can be transplanted if necessary in the summer, they do not stop growing if they are provided with proper care and constant watering. Autumn planting of adult plants can be carried out a month before the onset of constant frosts - from September to the end of the second decade of October.
Arrangements for the care of planting boxwood vary depending on the season. In winter, too large snow caps are shaken off boxwood so that the shoots do not break under their weight. If dry and frost-free weather sets in in the winter, then the box is watered so that the evergreen foliage does not dry out.
The most difficult period in caring for a plant is changing cloudy days to bright sunny days. The aboveground part of the plant wakes up with the first rays of the sun, and the root system is at rest.
Because of this, the leaves and lignified shoots receive less moisture and begin to dry out. Being in the shade, properly sheltered and under the snow cover, the plants almost do not suffer.
In order to care for the boxwood in the garden as the proper agricultural technology suggests, in spring adult plants are fed with full organic fertilizer containing potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen.
The first feeding is carried out already in March, then feeding is carried out every 2 week. Young plants are fed complex organic fertilizer. Mineral fertilizer is used only after the final rooting of boxwood.
In the summer, bushes are regularly cut to keep plants in good shape. In the dry season, boxwood is watered, although adult plants are relatively drought-resistant.
In the summer the plants are watered abundantly, in winter they are relatively scarce. The soil under the bushes should dry out slightly, but not dry completely. Neither the excessive watering, the plant can not stand the stagnation of water, so it will suffer from it.
Often, due to irregular irrigation or too dry and hot air, yellowing, twisting, dropping or drying of the leaves of the plant occurs. Therefore, in hot weather boxwood periodically sprayed with water. All summer continue feeding, the last time it is given in August.
The box is trimmed every 6 weeks from May to August, giving the bushes a variety of shapes. In central Russia, the optimal shape of a boxwood bush is a cone.
Plants of conical shape grow better because a sufficient amount of light is provided to all branches. Since boxwood grows slowly, easy adjustment of a thick crown is enough, and only new growths are trimmed.
See a photo of trimming boxwood when caring for shrubs:
In the autumn, before frosts, they conduct abundant watering in order to provide the shrub with moisture for the winter. The soil surface is mulched with peat or conifer needles. Dry leaves cannot be used for mulching; in wet winters, foliage causes plants to become heated and fungal diseases develop.
Then, with the onset of resistant frosts to -10 ° C, measures are initiated to protect the shading of plantations. To cover the spherical shape using plastic or wooden boxes with holes.
Stem trees, having previously tied up to supports, are completely tied with spruce branches or covering materials. If woody lumps are whitewashed like fruit trees, then they can not be covered.
Low hedges and borders are covered with several layers of burlap or covering material, fixing them well.
Boxwood bushes do not suffer from frost in relatively mild winters, but it is still advisable to cover the plants, since the greatest danger for them is strong (down to -20 ° C) frosts in late winter, as well as alternation of frost and thaw in early spring and winter drying winds .
It is recommended to cover boxwood bushes in late autumn with a completely light material capable of holding snow - lapnik, sackcloth, spanbond or wrapping paper. In extreme cases, you can use roofing felt.
It is impossible to cover boxwood with non-woven material, because under it there are more temperature drops in early spring than without shelter. You should not hurry with the shelter of boxwood, it is optimal to hold it after a steady cooling and the appearance of snow cover.
In the spring, the shelter is removed, while the snow is still lying, before the buds start to bloom, otherwise the plant will clear out. Usually it is removed no later than the beginning of April. Snow that has not yet come down is loosened or removed from plants. Shelter is removed in cloudy weather, leaving a little lapnik or a layer of covering material on the bushes, after a week it is completely free from the shelter.
Box evergreen - a culture that is resistant to diseases and pests. Sometimes a parasitic leafblock is parasitic on it, heavily damaging young leaves. In addition, insects leave honeydew on the leaves, which sticks them together.
When caring for boxwood, shrubs affected by the leaflet are sprayed with a paraffin-based preparation.