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

Last updated on September 24th, 2021

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If you decide to purchase Buxus plants, you can grow them directly in the ground to create a hedge at any time of the year. 

First, you have to decide between a container-grown hedging plant or bare root plants. Both are suitable for hedges and some pot grown ones are actually planted in troughs to form an instant hedge because they are already clipped and trimmed to be a section of a hedge 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 and can be purchased in a range of sizes but are usually more of a bush and need trimming.

bare root box plants

By comparison, the bare root plants require less care if you plant them during their dormancy which runs from October through April which is when they are available, after April you can only get potted Buxus. These bare root varieties tend to establish themselves fairly quickly and are often much more affordable so if you plan to plant a large hedge, we recommend going down the bare root route.

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 to space your Buxus hedge and calculating the number of plants you need

For hedges spacing must be done ahead of time with proper calculation so that you don’t grow them too closely together, something that would inhibit air flow and lead to fungal diseases, and so that you don’t grow them too far apart something that would lead to inadequate spacing and a lot of gaps in your hedge.

Plant 5 buxus plants per meter for most hedges

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

For lower growing hedges we recommend 6 per meter

Now, if you wanted a low hedge something that we didn’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 would use to add space or division within your garden. For this the length in meters should be multiplied by a factor of 6.

For taller hedges we recommend 4 plants per meter

For 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) – 3 per meter

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

Where to buy

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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 said you should dig the appropriately sized holes at the appropriate spacing and integrate organic matter to help the soil or even consider using a raised beds as they will grow well in them 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 identified by looking at the roots and stem for the original soil level.

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

Water frequently after planting, they can quickly dry out and will die if they do

After that, water well and be sure to water 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 get 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 fast will they grow?

Once your plant establishes itself it will grow about 15cm every year with good growing conditions. If you’re growing 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 teh first few years while they form there hedge shape.

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 2022-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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