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How to Care for Boxwood - Buxus - Bonsai

Larry Morton

Posted on February 08 2019

How to Care for Boxwood - Buxus - Bonsai

Your Boxwood bonsai is not too picky and tolerates full sun to moderate shade. University studies have suggested that all Buxus prefer a high pH substrate, meaning add granular lime as a topdressing. Ca, Mg and other micronutrients help speed up spring growth during development. Let boxwood grow unrestrained Spring thru Fall. Vigorous plants seldom get sick. Winter injury usually is found on species enduring dry summers and excessive new late fall new foliage compounded with wet, cold, windy winters while situated in full sun. 'Heinz Blauer' and 'Tide Hills' varieties seem to keep their green winter color much better than Kingsville. Because of the fleshy surface roots a light mulch and larger pot is helpful. Ground pine bark as part of the substrate has been shown to suppress root nematodes. Their roots thrive in a cool, moist substrate high in organic matter. Disease and insect problems usually come from excessively wet or hot conditions. Apply horticultural oil late winter to suppress pests - especially mites - if present. Takes pruning well. Use directional pruning and prune the bottom third to half of its trunk making reminiscent of a miniature old, leaning live oak. Delete any outer branches trying to aggressively revert to larger leaves. 

  • Compact, dense, broadly spherical at maturity. Use their own naturally interesting shape.
  • Excellent buttress formation. 
  • Kingsville is the most sought after, the King, of boxwood bonsai. Well known for tiny green leaves and more horizontal branching. Other varieties tend to a more ascending branching system. 
  • Hardy up to Zone 4.
  • Interesting rough, ruddy bark on most species.
  • The dense wood - heavier than water - can be successfully carved to deadwood features. 
  • Transplants well.
  • Cuttings root readily after hardening off in the summer. OK to use thicker branches to root.

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