Boxwood Propagation Methods

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Among the many varieties of easy-to-grow garden shrubs, the boxwood is the preferred choice for many gardeners. Boxwoods are sturdy shrubs, tolerant to most weather conditions and need a basic care regimen. Most boxwood shrubs can grow up to 15 feet and are equally comfortable in sunny and shaded areas.

Boxwoods can be used in various forms to suit a garden setting. They can be used as a standalone shrub in one corner of the garden or grown in proximity of flowering plants to create mixed borders. They are commonly used for edging bigger garden beds. In order to use boxwoods for landscaping the garden, you will need to propagate the shrub, i.e. substantially multiply the number of shrubs. Boxwood propagation is particularly easy and you can easily spread the shrub by following the conventional propagation techniques. Using stem cuttings and propagation by layering are the most commonly used boxwood propagation methods.

Using Stem Cuttings for Boxwood Propagation

The ideal time to take cut a stem off a boxwood shrub extends from July to December. Stem cuttings taken during this period survive much longer and are resistant to wilting. Cuttings procured in very cold seasons have significantly slower root development. Morning time is suggested to obtain the cutting because the stems are the freshest during this time. Choose smaller 1-year old branches as they have a higher concentration of growth hormones.

Tolls and Materials Needed:

  • Garden shears
  • Rooting compound
  • Plant growth hormone
  • Perlite
  • Sand
  • Plastic container

Stem Cuttings Instructions

  • Using the garden shears, slice-off a young stem from a boxwood shrub.
  • Try to cut the stem according to a basic estimation recommended for different boxwood varieties. For Boxwood sempervirens (Suffruticosa shrub), the cutting should be about 2-inches tall. For Boxwood microphylla, it should be at least 4-inches long.
  • The cutting should be stripped of all leaves, particularly around the bottom area.
  • Tap-off any excess water that is commonly found in fresh stems.
  • You can dip the cutting in a rooting compound or plant growth hormone--this isn't a rule but ensures faster rooting.
  • Use a container with good drainage to provide the growing medium for the cutting.
  • Prepare a mixture of horticultural sand and perlite. You can also add some pine bark. Fill 3/4 of the container with this mixture.
  • Place the cuttings in the container and water it immediately.
  • Place the container in a well-ventilated and shaded area for the first two weeks. Ideally, the roots should start to develop within 2 months.
  • Ensure that you maintain good drainage during this period. Root witling due to water stagnation is common in boxwood.
  • Shift the container after the initial 2 to 3 weeks. Placing the cutting in slightly shaded and humid areas helps to fasten the rooting process. You can also water spray the cuttings to create a humid environment.

Using Layering for Boxwood Propagation

Layering is a process wherein the new roots develop on a stem while it is still attached to the parent plant. Such a stem can be manipulated to develop into a new plant. There are different types of layering but boxwoods can be propagated by Simple Layering. 

Boxwood Layering Instructions

  • Choose a low-growing boxwood branch that is flexible enough to be bent downwards without breaking.
  • Bend this branch and cover 3/4 of its length with soil. Ideally, there should be only 6 to 10 inches of the branch above the soil.
  • Stake the free part of the branch to help it stand vertically.
  • The part buried in the ground soon develops new fibrous roots.
  • Ensure that you water the layered branch frequently.
  • Once the layered branch starts developing new leaves, it is ready to be planted anywhere else in the garden.
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