Those who love hedges and well-kept gardens cannot but know boxwood, an evergreen plant particularly suitable for this purpose, is present in almost all the most beautiful and elegant gardens of our beautiful country.
The boxwood, whose scientific name is Buxus sempervirens, is a plant belonging to the Buxaceae family, it grows spontaneously in our peninsula especially in all the sultry, mainly calcareous and rocky areas.
Let’s discover together what its characteristics are and why it is so much used in the most beautiful gardens of our beautiful country.
Origins of Boxwood
Boxwood is a plant native to Europe, North Africa and West Asia. Widespread in all areas with a climate favorable to it we find it in almost all the gardens of the most beautiful villas in Europe and not only in our beautiful country because of its peculiar characteristics.
Boxwood Plant: Characteristics
Sometimes also called Bossolo or Mortella, the common boxwood is a slow-growing plant, it can reach a maximum height of 4-5 metres and is particularly suitable for hedges and evergreen borders.
With its upright and bushy habit, boxwood is also very long-lived, reaching even over 500 years of age.
It is endowed with strong roots and a characteristic perfume and is frequently used by all gardeners especially for its thick foliage that lends itself well to be shaped in any shape without losing its compactness.
The stem is slightly swollen at the base and its smooth green bark becomes wrinkled with the passage of time, taking on a light grey color.
Small in size and dark green in color, the boxwood leaves are about 1 centimeter wide and 2 centimeters long. Opposite and persistent, oval-shaped with a smooth edge, they grow compactly taking up all the available space.
The flowers, small yellowish-green in color, appear in spring, grouped in small clusters and not very beautiful on the other hand they are very perfumed.
In late summer, the boxwood produces small fruits, consisting of very leathery woody capsules containing the seeds.
Boxwood Plant: Cultivation and Care
Cultivated for ornamental purposes both in pots and in open ground, the boxwood is a plant of easy cultivation, very rustic and therefore does not need any particular attention.
Ideal Exposure for Boxwood
The boxwood is a shrub which can grow well in any sunny or half-shaded position, provided it is sheltered from the wind.
Being very rustic, they adapt well to the various types of soil, preferring those slightly alkaline and obviously well drained, in order to avoid water stagnations. It adapts well also to rocky locations and therefore utilized singularly in rocks or rocky gardens.
Regular and abundant, especially for the cultivation in pot, during the periods of sultry and persistent heat, absolutely avoiding water stagnations, which can cause the radical rottenness, watering the plant only when the soil is well dry. Much less frequent in the winter period.
The boxwood, as we have mentioned, is a very rustic plant and if planted in the garden it does not need particular fertilizations. In the case of the cultivation in pot we can help it in the spring period with some slow release fertilizer to stimulate its vegetative growth.
Multiplication And Propagation Of Boxwood
The multiplication and propagation of this plant takes place essentially by:
- Seeding, sowing is done in autumn in a mixture of soil and sand to help drainage. The multiplication of boxwood by seed is one of the least used methods since the plant is slow growing.
- Cuttings, one of the most widely used methods, being much faster than sowing, obtaining seedlings already of a certain height. The cutting is the technique by which a small branch is taken from the main plant and rooted in a soil rich in organic substances mixed with sand to ensure good drainage during watering. The branch taken in this way will remain in this environment until the first sprouts appear, sign that it can be planted in a pot or in the garden.
- Margotta, the layering consists in rooting a branch still connected to the mother plant, in the same way as the cutting, is another technique with which we get a plant that keeps the same characteristics of the mother plant.
There are about 80 species of boxwood, in addition to the Common Boxwood, it is worth remembering the dwarf boxwood, scientific name Buxus pumilia, with its compact carriage and small height is particularly suitable for borders and small hedges.
Boxwood Plant: Diseases And Pests
Boxwood, as we have said, is a very rustic and resistant plant, however, it can be attacked and damaged by various parasites and diseases.
The parasites that most frequently can affect this plant are the aphids and the cochineal, but among the most dangerous and harmful for the boxwood, surely the boxwood borer is the most devastating one, a parasite spread since a few years and non-existent in our peninsula until a few decades ago.
Among the most common diseases which may affect the boxwood, seen also its conformation, by sure the radical rottenness is the most frequent one, due to an excessive irrigation with persistent water stagnations may lead to the death of the plant.