Rooting Boxwood Bushes: Growing Boxwood From Cuttings


By: Jackie Carroll

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 (7.5 to 10 cm.) 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 (5 cm.) 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 (5 cm.) 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 (15 cm.) 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.

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How to Propagate a Buxus

Buxus shrubs are also called boxwood shrubs. The evergreen foliage is a favorite in formal gardens and landscapes. The buxus shrub grows slowly and can be expensive. You can cut the expense of adding more buxus shrubs to the landscape by using hardwood or semi-hardwood, stem-cutting propagation methods. Hardwood stem cuttings should be taken in the early spring before new growth starts. You can take semi-hardwood cuttings in the fall for propagation as long as you care for the cuttings indoors.

Moisten a quality potting medium with warm water, and mix with your hands to ensure the water is evenly distributed. The soil should leave your hand moist, but not wet, when you squeeze it into a ball -- like a damp sponge. Fill the growing tray with the moistened soil. Poke your finger into the soil to make 3- to 4-inch-deep holes approximately 4 inches apart.

Cut 6- to 8-inch stem cuttings from a healthy buxus shrub in the early spring before new growth starts or in the fall before the shrub goes dormant. Strip the leaves from the bottom 4 inches of the stem cuttings by gripping firmly in one hand and pulling through the fingers of the other hand. Place the cuttings in water until you are ready to plant.

  • Moisten a quality potting medium with warm water, and mix with your hands to ensure the water is evenly distributed.
  • Place the cuttings in water until you are ready to plant.

Pour 2 tsp. of rooting hormone onto a paper plate. Dip the stem cuttings into the rooting hormone and shake off the excess. Stick the cuttings into the growing tray. Tamp the dirt down so the cuttings are supported. Make a hoop out of each wire piece and insert the ends into the soil so the wire is above the cuttings and will keep the plastic from resting on the buxus cuttings.. Cover the growing tray with plastic wrap.

Place the growing tray in a bright location out of direct sunlight. Place the heating mat under the tray. Set the temperature of the heating mat to 65 degrees F. Check the cuttings every day to keep the soil moist and remove any diseased cuttings. It can take up to eight weeks before buxus stem cuttings start to form roots.

  • of rooting hormone onto a paper plate.
  • Set the temperature of the heating mat to 65 degrees F. Check the cuttings every day to keep the soil moist and remove any diseased cuttings.

Tug the top of the stem cuttings, gently, to feel for any resistance. When a root system develops, the cuttings become anchored into the soil and are held fast. Take the plastic off the growing tray as soon as roots start to form. Allow the new buxus plants to grow another month in the growing tray and then transplant them into individual containers. Harden off the new plants before setting them outside in the garden.


What You’ll Learn

Boxwood is a plant that is used in traditional landscaping designs all over the world.

It often grows to a mature height of 10 to 15 feet, depending on the species and cultivar.

But since it is so easily pruned, it can be grown as either a small tree or a wide-spreading shrub. It produces dense, evergreen foliage with leaves that are typically dark green on top and a yellow-green underneath.

There are several species that are popular among gardeners, including the common or American boxwood (B. sempervirens), of which the English type is a variant, and the littleleaf or Japanese boxwood (B. microphylla), of which the Korean type is a variant.

As their common names suggest, B. sempervirens is what you will see growing most commonly in the US, while B. microphylla has notably smaller leaves and a smaller stature to match, generally only reaching a mature size of four feet by four feet.

This makes cultivars of B. microphylla a good option for gardeners with limited space. We’ll cover a few suggested varieties of both species in the cultivars section below.

Both species grow slowly, adding fewer than 12 inches of growth each year. While Japanese boxwood tends to be more heat-tolerant, American boxwood is often better for northern growers who live in regions with cold winters.

Curious about the term “boxwood?” The reason for this moniker is quite simple: The wood from these shrubs is well-suited for carving and woodturning.

It’s often used for projects like making chess pieces, musical instruments, rulers, and other small specialty items. Quite literally, the name of the genus – Buxus – simply means “box” in Latin.

Boxwood shrubs produce small yellow-green flowers in the spring, but these are not usually noticeable.

They also produce tiny fruits that contain small seeds. While these are attractive to birds, they aren’t a major draw for most gardeners.

Instead, these shrubs tend to be grown for their glossy green foliage, which remains evergreen throughout the year.


Diseases and Pests

A big threat to the plant is boxwood gall midge. Her eggs can be found in the foliage. The larvae hatching from them bite into the leaves and spend the winter there, in the spring to be born by adult insects.

The presence of pests is indicated by its drying and falling leaves, which can be stopped by using Karbofos, Aktar or Tagore. If the primary treatment did not produce results, then after 10-12 days the process is repeated.

Sometimes a plant suffers from necrosis, which is manifested in the death of its branches and characteristic rusty spots on the leaves. Fungicides and pruning of damaged branches will help to solve the problem.


How to Preserve Boxwood Cuttings

Last Updated: August 25, 2020 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

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Boxwood is an evergreen shrub that is used as a decorative landscaping element in many countries across the globe. Boxwood leaves are often used in wreaths and floral arrangements to add a natural, attractive touch. To create a wreath or arrangement that will last year round, you can soak your boxwood cuttings in dye and glycerin before creating your project. Preserving boxwood cuttings is easy as long as you follow the correct methods and use the right ingredients.


Watch the video: 8 POWERFUL HOMEMADE ROOTING HORMONES. Natural Rooting Stimulants for Gardening


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