General gardening topics

How to plant a Buxus hedge with pot grown or bare rooted plants

Last updated on May 9th, 2022

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If you decide to purchase Buxus plants, you will be pleased to know that you can plant them directly in the ground to create a hedge at any time of the year. 

Firstly, you will need to decide between using a container-grown hedging plant or a bare root plant to create your hedge. Both of these are suitable for forming hedges and some of the pot grown ones are actually planted in troughs already. You can use these to form an instant hedge because they are already clipped and trimmed as a section of hedging so that you can plant them directly in the ground to create a straight hedge.

Single pot grown plants, usually in 9cm, 1 litre and 2 litres pots can be planted at any time of the year and can be purchased in a range of sizes (heights and widths) but these are usually more of a bush shape and may need trimming.

bare root box plants

By comparison, bare root plants require less care if you plant them during their dormancy (October through April) which is the only time when they are available in this way. After April, you will only be able to purchase potted Buxus.

These bare root varieties tend to establish themselves fairly quickly and are often much more affordable. So if you are planning to create a large hedge, we recommend going down the route of purchasing bare root plants.

If you purchase larger, box-shaped varieties, those that are used for instant hedging, the effects will be much faster, as the name suggests.


How should you space your Buxus hedging plants? And calculating the number of plants you will need

When you are forming hedges the spacing must be done ahead of time. You need an exact calculation so that you don’t grow them too closely together because this is something that will inhibit the air flow and lead to fungal diseases. At the same time, you don’t want to grow them too far apart because this will lead to the inadequate spacing between your Buxus and a lot of gaps in your hedge.

For most hedges, plant 5 Buxus plants per metre

It’s important to multiply the length of your hedge in metres by 5 in order to calculate how many plants you’ll need to purchase. This corresponds to the appropriate spacing between each plant, of around 20cm. So, if you have a 20-metre length of space in your garden where you want to create a hedge, you would multiply the 20 metres by 5 and would need around 100 hedging plants.

For lower growing hedges we recommend 6 Buxus plants per metre

Now, if you want to create a lower growing hedge, something that doesn’t get above 40cm, the calculation would be slightly different. This type of hedge is not one you would use for privacy, unlike a regular hedge, but something you are using to add space or division within your garden. For this the length in metres should be multiplied by a factor of 6.

For forming taller hedges we recommend using 4 plants per metre

For forming a taller hedge, something that spans above 80cm, you can multiply the spacing by a factor of 4.

For very large established plants (30-40cm wide) use 3 per metre

If you buy larger container or root ball plants they generally range between 30cm and  50cm wide. For these you can space three plants for every metre to produce a continuous hedge immediately.

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How to plant your Buxus hedge

They thrive in nearly all soil conditions and types

Box plants will grow in just about any situation and will tolerate a wide variety of sun exposure levels, alkaline or acidic soils, sand or clay soils, and more. The only environment in which they will not thrive is a waterlogged site, as with the case with most hedging plants.

That being said, you should dig the appropriately sized holes at an adequate spacing rate and integrate organic matter to help the soil, or even consider using raised beds because they will grow well in them and is the perfect solution if your site is one that often gets waterlogged.

Bare root plants

With bare-root hedging plants you want to plant your box trees in the soil at the same level they were planted originally, this is easily identifiable by looking at the roots and stem for the original soil level.

We also recommend adding slow-release fertiliser or growmore to the soil before planting to help them establish.

Water them frequently after planting. They can quickly dry out and will die if they do

Water your Buxus well and be sure to water them frequently during the first summer your box plants have. Box plants are popular around the world for their ability to withstand drought but this is a feature that will only happen once they are fully established. So, until that point, you need to make sure you give them enough water and nutrients to keep the leaves green and healthy.


How quickly will they grow?

Once your plant establishes itself it will grow about 15cm every year, based on good growing conditions. If you’re growing them in an area with a lot of wind exposure, bad soil, or a lot of shade, it won’t kill the plants but it will inhibit the growth, which means you’ll get less than 15cm each year.

Finally, correct pruning is important and they should be pruned from late May until around August (as needed) for the first few years while they form their hedging shape.

You can learn more about how and when to prune Buxus hedging in this guide by clicking here

You can also learn how to plant Buxus topiary into pots in my guide here

Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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