Buxus sempervirens, or common box, is a tough, slow-growing, compact evergreen shrub clothed with small, glossy, deep green leaves. This habit makes it perfect for training into hedges and topiary shapes, including pyramids and balls. It bears small, yellowish flowers in summer, but these are usually removed during pruning and shaping.Position: Thrives in a sunny or shady position in any moist, but well-drained, fertile soil.
Planting: Water thoroughly or stand the pot in a bucket of water for half an hour before planting. Dig a hole twice the size of the pot, mix compost and sharp sand or grit with the soil from the hole, remove the pot, place the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil, back fill with the soil/compost mix and firm down to prevent air pockets. Water well after planting and during dry spells during the first growing season.
Trained box shapes also look fantastic when grown in containers of loam-based John Innes No3 Compost.
Aftercare: Water during prolonged dry periods, whenever the soil dries out. Mulch around the base of the plant with a thick layer of organic material annually. This keeps in moisture, prevents weeds and adds nutrients to the soil. Water plants in containers regularly from March to September and at other times when the compost feels dry.
Protect from strong, cold winds.
Feeding: Feed in spring with a granular fertiliser.
Pruning: To keep your box pyramid looking good, shapely and to size, trim twice a year. The first cut should be done around late May, after the first flush of new growth. Then trim for a second time in September, so the plants will look tight during winter. If plants produce excess growth over summer this can be trimmed back in July. Always use sharp tools to shape topiary, as this will ensure the stems are cut cleanly and heal quickly.