Growing boxwoods from cuttings

Tips for Transplanting a Boxwood

Boxwood is an ornamental shrub used for edgings and hedges. Boxwood comes in a variety of cultivars and its numerous shapes and sizes make it suitable for any landscape. Boxwood hedges provide an evergreen edging for privacy and can be trimmed and shaped easily to get the shapes you want. Follow these tips if you want to transplant boxwood in your garden.

Prepare the Soil

The best months for transplanting boxwood are October and November. It is essential to water the plant a day before digging it up so that it is loosened a little bit and the job becomes easier. The water should seep 8 inches inside the soil. This will help to avoid any transplanting shocks and prevent the root ball from breaking or falling away from the roots.

Start the Transplantation

After watering the plant properly, begin with the transplantation process. You should start the work from the bottom of the boxwood shrub. Wrap up the shrub with a twine or cord around the plant’s edges, creating a corkscrew stripe pattern on a barbershop pole. Pull the cord or twine from the top to make it tight and tie a knot. This will compress and lift the branches, making the boxwood shrub easy to dig and move.

Dig the Trench

Start digging the boxwood shrub using a sharp spade and dig out a trench 8 to 10 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches wide around the entire boxwood plant. See to it that the trench is not closer than 6 to 8 inches from the stem, depending on the size of the plant. Dig below the root ball until you find its connection to the soil.

Take Out the Root Ball

Lay your hands on the foot of the trunk and lift the root ball carefully from the ground. You may need to get some help if it is too heavy to lift alone. Pull the plastic sheet or the tarp across the lawn to place it on the required location. Once, they are positioned, place the root ball gently on it. Use a wheelbarrow if you are unable to slide it. Be careful and do not break the root ball.

Dig a New Hole and Transplant the Root Ball

In order to transplant boxwood to its new location, dig a shallow hole as wide as the root ball. To estimate the required depth of the new hole, you can use a shovel handle. The boxwood plant doesn’t like standing water. Ensure that the top of the root ball is half-inch higher than the surface of the soil once the root ball is placed inside the hole. Fill the soil around the boxwood perfectly and water it properly. Spread an inch of mulch over the root ball and make sure that you do not pile up the mulch against the trunk.

How to Transplant Old Boxwood Hedges

garden image by Horticulture from

Boxwood hedges are an upright, evergreen plant commonly found in yards across the country in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. Boxwood hedges can be planted in formal or informal landscapes as borders, dividers or focal plants and respond well to pruning. Transplanting boxwoods is sometimes necessary if the hedge no longer fits in the present location or you simply decide to change the appearance of the landscape. Moving boxwood hedges requires advance planning.

Plan to root prune the boxwood hedges six to 12 months before transplant date, if possible. This strengthens the root system within a compact area, making it easier to move boxwoods. The best time to move old boxwood hedges is in the fall, with spring being a second option.

Place a shovel firmly in the ground immediately inside the canopy line of the boxwood to root prune it. Continue around the perimeter of the hedge, but do not pick it up. Leave the boxwood alone until moving day.

Tie a piece twine on the north side of the boxwood hedges. Face the transplanted hedges the same direction in the new location. Use the twine to tie up the branches of the boxwood, if needed for protection. Attach it to a lower branch, circle it around the hedge and tie it at the top.

Dig a trench farther out than the root pruning cut with the shovel facing backwards. This should be large enough for a root ball of at least 14 inches for boxwoods with a 2-foot canopy and up to 27 inches for a hedge with a 7-foot canopy, according to Clemson University. The depth of the root ball should be from 1 to 1 1/2 feet deep.

Sever any roots encountered with the shovel or use lopping shears for large roots, if needed. Place the shovel at a 45-degree angle to uncut the root ball. Lift up one side and slide the burlap under. Lift the other side and pull it across slowly.

Dig a hole double the width of the root ball, but the same (or less) depth of it. The transplanted boxwood should be at the same height previously planted (or above to allow for settling), but never lower.

Place the boxwood hedges facing in the correct direction. Push the burlap down in the hole and remove the twine holding the branches. Backfill the hole halfway and then fill with water. This removes air pockets and pushes the soil around the roots. Fill the remainder of the hole, step on the soil gently and saturate with water again.

Cover the area around the boxwood hedges with a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch. Extend it out over the entire canopy area, but keep it clear of the trunk. The mulch retains moisture and prevents weeds from growing.

Transplanting Boxwoods

04 Nov Transplanting Boxwoods

Posted at 15:56h in BLOG by Stephanie Trimmer I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Boxwoods. I’ve transplanted seven of my grandmother’s boxwoods from her original home to each of my three new homes in Northern Virginia. When I move, they go with me. It is truly a labor of love. I haven’t lost a boxwood yet and wanted to share the steps I’ve used transplanting boxwoods successfully every time.

The boxwoods in this photo have been transplanted three times to each of the writer’s homes over the last 40 years.

Materials needed: A sharp spade and burlap/tarp Preparation Tips: If you have the luxury of knowing your move 6-12 months ahead of time, it would be beneficial to root prune your Boxwood by inserting a spade just inside the drip line of your shrub to a depth of a least 1/3 of the height of the plant. The ‘drip line’ is the outer edge of your shrub, the point where water would drip to the ground from the outer leaves of the plant. It’s also a good practice to mark the plant in relation to it’s current sun exposure so it can be planted with the same exposure in its new home. When the time comes to dig, make sure the soil is moist. Why? The soil will be easier to dig. The moist soil will hold together and provide a firmer root ball and the plant will suffer less transplanting stress. The best time to transplant boxwood is in the fall, spring would be the next favorable time of the year, however, if you follow these same steps you will likely have success anytime. My Grandma Nelly transplanted boxwoods so many times she joked that they could grow in the air. She was fortunate enough to have a real green thumb though and we’re not all blessed with that same talent. The Task: Roll up your sleeves, this is the hard part: Digging. For plants under 28 inches, simply sink a sharp spade into the ground just inside the drip line. Carefully pull out the spade and work your way around the entire plant severing all lateral plant roots. DO NOT wiggle the spade, this will break up the root ball and damage roots. Next, slowly leverage the root ball out of the hole with your spade. If you have a partner two spades are best for this part. For larger plants you will need to dig a 4-5 inches wide trench at the drip line to a depth of 1/3 the height of the plant before lifting. Gently lift the root ball onto a piece of burlap (tarp can be used in a pinch). Secure the burlap around the root ball by tying opposite ends together securely. Now your plant is ready for its big move. Again, it’s very important that you handle your Boxwood with care during the transition. If you damage the root ball you damage the roots. Once you are at your Boxwood’s new site, dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and also a little deeper than needed. You will not be planting the Boxwood deeper than it was at its original site, however, digging the hole deeper and then back-filling the dirt to the proper height will allow the plant to settle in better. This will help with water distribution after planting as boxwood do not like “wet feet”. I strongly recommend placing the boxwood so the tops of the roots are slightly above the soil level, about an inch. Partially back-fill the hole covering the roots with the existing soil, ensuring sure to leaving about 4 inches from the ground level. At this point, water the plant thoroughly before adding the remaining dirt. Continue to back-fill to desired height and then mulch to a depth of 1 inch keeping the mulch away from the trunk. Last but not least, continue to water your newly transplanted shrub on a consistent basis for the entire establishment phase. Some gardeners may vary from this procedure slightly. For example, some suggest wrapping twine around the plant to compress the branches during transfer, a practice that can’t hurt, but I’ve found it to be unnecessary. At Professional Grounds, Inc. we enjoy creating designs that utilize a homeowners existing plantings, if desired, to help reduce waste and increase their ability to put that money toward other areas of their project. Please Contact Us today if you are interested in finding out more about our services.

Evergreens — the name says it all. These plants and shrubs add color to your garden all year long, even in the dead of winter!

Though, we admit there’s one evergreen we love most: boxwoods.

Boxwood shrubs do it all. They’re super easy to care for, stay green all winter and are deer resistant.

These shrubs add instant definition, structure and privacy to outdoor spaces. Plus, boxwood shrubs morph into any shape when pruned. If an artful topiary isn’t for you though, they look just as beautiful when pruned slightly or left to grow free-form.

As easy as these shrubs are, there’s one BIG mistake people make when growing boxwood.

All too often, people believe that Holly-tone fertilizer is the feeding solution for boxwoods, just like they do with other evergreens. But that’s not the case.

While boxwood is part of the evergreen family, there’s one thing that makes them different. Most evergreens need to be fed Holly-tone, an organic fertilizer for acid-loving plants. But, boxwood — and arborvitaes — are evergreen shrubs that are not acid-loving plants. So, they need an all-purpose plant food.

Avoid the #1 mistake people make when growing boxwood. Fertilize your boxwood with an organic all-purpose plant food to keep them a healthy green. Plus, feeding these shrubs in early spring helps them fight off disease all season.

How to Feed Established Boxwood:

To see how much fertilizer your boxwood needs, measure the width of your boxwood with a tape measure.

For each foot, use 1 cup of Espoma Plant-tone. For example if your boxwood is 4’ wide, use 4 cups of organic plant food.

Then, sprinkle around the boxwood’s drip line, which is a circle formed around the shrub’s widest branch.

How to Feed New Boxwood:

If you want to add a border or line a path, boxwood is just what you’re looking for. Go ahead and get planting.

Boxwood grows best in zones 6-8. As always before planting, make sure the area you’d like to plant matches the plant’s likings. Read that plant tag! Most boxwood need full to partial sun and well-drained soil.

Once you’ve found the perfect spot and the perfect boxwood, it’s time to plant.

Dig a hole as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Scoop a handful of soil to test, too. Boxwood needs a soil pH between 6 and 7. If your pH is too low, add Espoma Organic Garden Lime. If your soil pH is higher than 7, amend with Espoma Organic Soil Acidifier.

Now, loosen roots and position boxwood in the hole.

Replace 1/3 of the soil with compost or Espoma Organic All Purpose Garden Soil. And, mix in 1-2 cups of Organic Plant-tone. Adding an organic plant food now helps plants thrive in their new home.

Then, fill the rest of the hole with amended soil or Espoma Garden Soil.

Lightly water now, and continue watering once a week during spring and summer.

Finally, make the boxwood look right at home by adding 2-3” of mulch to control weeds and conserve water.

Boxwood transforms any area into a defined, stately space. Soon, these beautiful evergreens will even be dotted with sweet, white blooms.

What’s your favorite evergreen? Comment below to share!

Rooting Boxwood Bushes: Growing Boxwood From Cuttings

Boxwoods made their way from Europe to North America in the mid-1600s, and they’ve been an important part of American landscapes ever since. Used as hedges, edging, screening plants and accents, you can never have too many. Read on to find out how to get plenty of new shrubs for free by starting boxwood cuttings.

Starting Boxwood Cuttings

Not as easy to start as your average garden perennial, boxwood cuttings require a little time and patience. You’ll probably have a few cuttings that refuse to root, so take more than you think you’ll need.

Here’s what you’ll need for starting boxwood cutting propagation:

  • A sharp knife
  • Rooting hormone
  • Large plastic bag with twist-tie
  • Pots filled with clean, fresh potting soil

Taking boxwood cuttings in midsummer catches the stems at just the right stage to give you the best chance of success. Cut 3- to 4-inch tips of new growth with a sharp knife. Pruning shears or scissors pinch the stems and make it hard for them to take up water later on. Only cut healthy stems with no insect damage or discoloration. Successfully rooting boxwood cuttings depends

on cutting the tips from healthy, vigorous plants. Stems cut early in the morning root best.

Rooting Boxwood Bushes

The medium you use for rooting boxwood bushes should be clean, low in fertility, and very well-drained. Don’t use potting soil, which is rich in nutrients that can encourage rot. If you are going to start a lot of shrubs, you can make your own medium from 1 part clean builder’s sand, 1 part peat moss and 1 part vermiculite. You’ll come out ahead buying a small bag of commercial rooting medium if you are only going to start a few.

Remove the leaves from the lower two inches of each cutting and scrape the bark from one side of the exposed stem. Roll the lower end of the cutting in powdered rooting hormone and tap the stem to remove the excess. Stick the lower end of the cutting where the leaves were removed about two inches into the rooting medium. Firm the medium around the stem just enough to make it stand up straight. You can place three cuttings in a 6-inch pot.

Place the pot in a plastic bag and close the top to create a moist environment for the plant. Open the bag daily to mist the stem and check the soil for moisture. After about three weeks, give the stem a little tug once a week to see if it has roots. Once it roots, remove the pot from the bag.

Repot rooted plants into individual pots with good quality potting soil. It is essential to repot the plants as soon as they begin growing to prevent the roots from becoming tangled and to provide them with nutrient-rich soil. A good potting soil has enough nutrients to support the plant until you are ready to set it outside. Continue growing the new plants in a sunny window until spring planting time.

Growing boxwood from cuttings is fun and rewarding. As you learn to propagate some of the more difficult garden plants, you add an extra dimension to your gardening experience.

Propagation / Rooting

8 Feb, 2013

There are two optimal times of the year to root English Boxwood. Late February / early March is an excellent time after the major freezes of winter are over and before any new growth comes out in the spring. The other optimal rooting period is late June or early July after the new growth has matured. Our experience of rooting at English Boxwoods of Virginia has shown us that both of these times are equally effective. The timing may be based on when you pluck your plants (see “plucking”). An effective sequence is to pluck plants in March prior to spring growth, and then use these cuttings for rooting at the same time. Plucking in July will not harm plants and the cuttings may also be used at this time of the year to start new plants.

Taking these cuttings accomplishes two purposes. It thins the parent plant, allowing light and air to circulate within it, and secondly, it obviously gives the beginnings of some fine new plants. One reason to root in February is that the parent “plucked from” plant fills in very quickly, with new growth, any gaps created by the thinning process. If July is chosen as the thinning / rooting time, one has to wait a little longer before the new growth appears. A small flush may occur in the fall, but this is typically not a significant growth period nor a desirable time to encourage new growth. New growth in the fall is very easily damaged by early frost and freezes. Although this damage does not hurt the plant, it affects the appearance until the spring growth covers it up.

In the early years, we rooted by putting the cuttings in a bed heavily mixed with sand. It worked very well but the downside was that this method required the plants to be repotted in the spring from the bed to a pot, thereby disturbing the roots.

A much more efficient method is to put small pots in trays, fill with the pine bark mixture that all nursery growers use in their pots, and root right in the pots that the plant will spend the next one to two years in. We use two different size pots to root in. One is approximately 3 in. deep and the other 4 in. deep with a correspondingly larger diameter.

When preparing a cutting for rooting, take a single stem cutting and clean any branches off of the lower 3 in. or so. The cutting itself can be a total of 6-8 in. in length before planting but it must end in a single stem, otherwise you end up rooting multiple plants in one container and this will eventually lead to multiple plants in the same pot which is really not acceptable.

Rooting hormones can be used but we do not simply because of the large numbers that we propagate and the fact that they grow roots within three to four weeks anyway with about a 90 – 95% rooting rate.

To plant a cutting, grab the stem between your thumb and index finger leaving 3 to 4 inches sticking out to insert into the soil. The soil should not be real loose because you want it to be tight around the stem to facilitate moisture transfer. If soil has just recently been placed in the pots, watering heavily will tend to solidify and compact it. As you insert the stem into the soil, push down on the soil with your fingers to compact it around the stem.

If propagation is to occur in the heat of July and August the operation should be located in the shade. The cuttings should be kept moist while working with them and after being planted in the ground. In our operation, an automatic watering system mists the plants for only about a minute but it does this 6 times during the daylight hours when the heat is the most intense. This schedule is gradually reduced over time. If shade is not available, shade cloth supported by hoops, shades the plants from the direct rays of the sun which is very important.

Cuttings develop roots very quickly. In mid-summer roots are often visible on a cutting two or three weeks after they have been placed in the beds. Within six weeks cuttings are often “difficult to pull up” which indicates that they do not need to be pulled up; you know that the roots are there.

Stephen D. Southall
English Boxwoods of Virginia

More papers:

  • Spring Care of Boxwood
  • Summer Care of Boxwood
  • Plastic to prevent weeds?? Stephen and the earthworms say “No”
  • Digging / Planting Boxwood
  • Plucking Boxwood
  • Propagation/Rooting
  • Soil Sampling

Common Boxwood Seeds

Common Boxwood Buxus sempervirens English Boxwood

Description: The boxwoods are profusely branched evergreen shrubs widely used in landscaping, especially for hedges and foundation plantings. There are some 70 species of boxwoods, but only two are commonly found in cultivation: this one and common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens). But those two species have given us hundreds of botanical varieties, horticultural cultivars and hybrids of garden origin to choose from. All the boxwoods have small, opposite, evergreen leaves. USDA Zones: 2a – 10b Heat Tolerance: Poorly adapted to the southwest USA, use the Japanese Boxwood instead Sun Exposure: Full sun to light shade Origin: Mediterranean region Growth Habits: Evergreen tree or shrub, up to 30 feet tall (9 m) pH: 6.1 to 7.8 Height: 24-48 inches Spacing: 15 – 24 inches Sun: The boxwoods, including littleleaf boxwood, do well in partial shade. Newly transplanted plants especially should be protected from the midday sun. Established boxwoods do fine in full sun up North, but should be positioned in partial shade in the South.

    Hi, thank you for visiting DownrightNatural to make your Organic Seed selection. If you have any questions or needs some help, please message us here, and we will help in any way we can. As Always FREE SHIPPING ON EVERY ORDER!

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Want a pretty boxwood hedge but don’t want to spend big bucks? I hear you. The answer is to take boxwood cuttings and root them. I share how I propagate boxwoods and how easy it really is!

Propagating boxwood with cuttings is super easy but it does take a bit of time. It may take a good three years or more before you get boxwood plants to grow large enough to form a hedge in your garden but the cost savings is substantial.

It is May and I am working towards a more tidy garden. If you have been reading here long you know I tend to embrace the less than neat and formal style of gardening. The loose, wild cottage garden is more my thing.

Yet I find I am craving a bit more order. I feel I can achieve that with some green structure that will carry through winter, providing interest when nothing is in bloom. I am not going for rigid straight lines, so no worries on that score.

I love boxwood (Buxus) and how versatile it can be. Many varieties keep their green color through the winter and can be shaped into topiary.

Not only does a boxwood hedge bring a touch of order to the garden without being too fussy but it has the added benefit of also being deer resistant.

Planting enough boxwood can get expensive very quickly if you want enough to create a nice hedge. So what is a budget minded gardener to do?

Take cuttings from an existing boxwood and propagate a ton of them.

Note: use only boxwoods that are no longer patented. Also, use boxwood cultivars that don’t have the nasty cat pee scent. (those are usually english boxwoods that stink)

When to Take Boxwood Cuttings

A good time to start boxwood cuttings is when you trim your boxwood shrubs in Spring. You will have dozens (if not more) cuttings to use from your trimmings. (many also prune again in late Summer, typically mid Sept)

Start with a nice healthy boxwood, this one happens to be in a container.

As you can see this Winter Gem Boxwood has fresh green growth. It is a bit more chartreuse in color than the previous growth.

The fresh growth is perfect for cutting material.

How to take Box Cuttings to propagate

If you are just getting started you can do like I am here, take a nice potted one to clip cuttings from.

Use sharp pruners or a knife and cut off a 4 to 6 inch new growth stem from the boxwood plant. I use my pruners but some claim this pinches the stem preventing rooting. You can take a sharp knife after taking the cutting from the plant and re-slice if you wish.

Prepare boxwood cutting to root

I create a fresh spot for roots by pinching/stripping the leaves off. This opens the stem a bit so I figure that is why I don’t have trouble with using pruners in place of a sharp knife to take cutting.

Pinching the leaves off prevents too much damage to the stem as pulling them can strip a bit too much from the surface of the cutting. I am not always that careful and have not had issues yet but thought you may like to know that.

Now that the leaves are removed dip the cuttings into rooting hormone (this is optional)

Place boxwood slips into potting medium

Using a dauber of some sort (I used a sharpie back end) to create a slot to place your cutting into your pot of soil (I used my diy potting soil) By creating a hole in the soil you prevent the rooting hormone from getting removed as you slide in the stem.

I place several cuttings into the pot. This is a 3.5 inch pot and I fit in about 4 or 5 to a pot. Firm the soil in around the stems.

Water the cuttings well. You can cover the pots to maintain moisture as I do in this post.

Boxwood Propagation success

I have read that rooting of the boxwood cuttings should only take about 3 or 4 weeks but for some reason mine take longer.

But many do root. Look at those healthy roots!

In my video I share how I pot up this rooted boxwood cutting to grow on into a beautiful bush or shrub.

I am working also on starting a ton of boxwood cuttings directly in my garden. I will be sure and share how that works out.

Have you ever started boxwood cuttings? What would you do differently?

More you will enjoy
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Propagate Lilacs
Start an Easy Garden

Happy Gardening!

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