Dwarf Box from Willows Nursery

Cultural Advice
Planting : Dwarf Box is very hardy and will grow in almost any soil type – however, there should be reasonable drainage and the soil should not have a tendency to dry out.  Box is also happy in full sun or deep shade – or conditions in between. For best results, the planting site should be prepared in advance. On poorer soils forking in well-rotted manure or other organic matter will help to improve soil structure and on heavy soils working in coarse grit will improve drainage.  Well worked in bonemeal may also assist plant establishment.

It is important to make sure that the soil does not dry out during establishment. 

Dwarf Box plants creating a maze
Dwarf Box plants for sale showing fresh growth

Spacing : 

To calculate the number of plants needed for a border edging or a knot garden design, we recommend a planting distance for Dwarf Box of 15 cm (6″) apart.

At that spacing they should have filled out sufficiently to close the gaps in between over a period of 2 or so years.

Care & Maintenance : New growth occurs twice a year – in Spring and late Summer – in these two photographs you can see the new growth is a brighter colour than the older leaves.  It is also ‘softer’.  Once it has ‘hardened off’ – and the colour is the same as the rest of the plant – the plants should be pruned and clipped to encourage compact/dense growth. 

Whilst Dwarf Box is fairly slow growing, and your plants might not have yet achieved the size you want, it is still important to trim a little into the new growth – the following growth spurt will then make the plants more dense and bushy.

Once the plants have reached your required size/shape you should trim twice yearly to maintain it.

A balanced general feed is recommended in the Spring, particularly if pot grown as specimens, or closely planted for hedging.  A Summer feed to ensure good colour and health would also be beneficial, especially in poorer soils.

Dwarf Box plants for sale showing fresh growth
A Knot Garden using Dwarf Box plants

Possible problems : If our general planting advice is followed, there should be very few growth problems, as Box is very hardy and tolerant. However, be aware, as indicated above, that problems can arise because of too little or too much water. Foliage will turn yellow/orange as an indicator of stress. If there is a dry spell – especially when the plants are getting established – make sure that the planting site is kept well watered.  However, Box will also not tolerate waterlogging – take action to improve drainage to known problem areas before planting. White or yellow marking on the leaf margins indicates that the plants are short of nutrients.  A general feed in the Spring should solve/avoid this sign of stress.