Nearly anyone can appreciate the natural beauty of bonsai trees. Their miniature size and carefully sculpted branches can add a touch of elegance to any room. And while there are many types of bonsai trees to choose from, the boxwood variety is arguably one of the most popular. In this post we give you The Ultimate Guide to Boxwood Bonsai!
If you’re interested in growing your own boxwood bonsai tree, this guide will teach you everything you need to know!
The Ultimate Guide to Boxwood Bonsai
What is a Boxwood Bonsai?
A boxwood bonsai is a type of evergreen tree that features small, dark green leaves. Despite their name, Boxwood trees are not actually related to the common garden shrub. They originate from regions in Europe and Asia where they grow naturally as forest-floor plants.
Boxwoods have become one of the most popular types of bonsai trees due to their easy care requirements and striking appearance. They can be kept small or allowed to grow into a full-sized tree, making them a versatile option for any bonsai enthusiast.
How to Grow a Boxwood Bonsai
The best way to grow a boxwood bonsai is by starting with a young plant. As a general rule, the younger the tree is when you start training it to become bonsai-sized, the easier that process will be. You can purchase small starter plants from most garden stores or order them online for an easy way to get started with your new hobby!
Light for your Boxwood
When growing boxwood trees indoors, try placing them in a bright, sunny window. They will need at least four hours of direct sunlight each day in order to stay healthy. If you live in a colder climate, you can also grow your bonsai tree outside during the warmer months. Just be sure to bring it back inside before the temperature drops below freezing!
Watering and Fertilizing Your Boxwood Bonsai
Boxwoods need to be watered regularly, especially when they are first being introduced to their new pot or growing location. A good rule of thumb is to water them whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Be sure not to over-water your tree, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.
Your boxwood tree will also need to be fertilized regularly, especially when it is growing in its new pot or location. You can purchase bonsai plant food from most garden centers and follow the directions on your specific brand for proper dosage amounts. Your bonsai’s branches should start turning a deeper color within two weeks of regular fertilization.
Pruning and Training Your Boxwood Bonsai
One of the most important aspects of growing a boxwood bonsai is regular pruning and training. This will help keep your tree in its desired shape and size. You can prune your tree any time of year, but it’s best to do it during the spring or summer.
Before you prune your boxwood bonsai, make sure that all of its leaves have fallen off for the season. This will prevent them from accidentally being cut and it reduces the chance of infection afterward. If any branches are thicker than a finger in width, be sure to thin them out so your tree can grow more evenly.
When pruning, always cut the branch off at its point of origin- don’t just hack away at it willy nilly. This will help maintain the overall health and shape of your tree. You can also use wire to help train your branches into the desired position. Just be sure not to leave it on for too long, as this can cause the tree’s bark to rot and die.
The Best Types of Boxwood Bonsai Trees
There are many different types of boxwood trees that make excellent bonsai specimens, but one variety is universally accepted as a classic: Buxus sempervirens ‘Graham Blandy’. This type of tree features dark green leaves with a slightly wavy margin and grows relatively slowly, making it perfect for use in bonsai.
Other popular boxwood varieties include:
Buxus microphylla ‘Green Mound’– This variety has smaller leaves and a more compact growth habit than Buxus sempervirens. It is ideal for training as a formal upright bonsai.
Buxus harlandii ‘Green Mountain’– This cultivar features beautiful, dark green leaves and turns yellow in the fall before dropping its foliage for winter. It is one of the most popular types of deciduous boxwood plants used as bonsai material due to its ease of growth and thick trunk.
Buxus ‘Graham Blandy’– This is a hybridized version of the classic Graham Blandy variety that features thick, dark green leaves with an extremely small growth habit. It has become very popular as bonsai material in recent years because it adapts well to training and can grow into beautiful shapes quickly.
No matter which type of boxwood bonsai you choose to grow, they all require the same care and attention. If possible, try growing several different varieties in order to have a colorful display year round.
Tips and Tricks for Styling Your Boxwood Bonsai
There are many different styles of boxwood bonsai, including formal upright, informal upright, slanting style and cascade. The most important thing to remember is that all branches should point downward in order to give your tree the classic “tortured” appearance desired by collectors.
Here are some tips for styling your new boxwood bonsai:
- Start with a single trunk, which will create an elegant appearance. If you have multiple trunks growing from the same spot on your tree, remove all of them except for one and be sure to wire it down so that it is pointing towards the ground. You can also prune off any other superfluous branches.
- In order to create a more “tortured” appearance, bend and twist your branches into interesting positions. This can be done by using wire or just tying them down with string or twist ties.
- When styling an informal upright tree, allow some branches to grow naturally while pruning others into desired shapes. Be sure to keep the overall shape of the tree symmetrical for a more polished look.
- A slanting style boxwood bonsai should have the trunk angled towards one side and the branches growing in the opposite direction. This creates a more dynamic look that is popular with collectors.
- When styling your boxwood bonsai, always try to keep its natural shape in mind. Don’t try to force it into a shape that doesn’t fit its nature.
- Boxwoods are slow growers, so don’t expect drastic changes overnight. Be patient and let your tree grow at its own pace.
- Prune and wire your tree during the spring or summer when its leaves are still on it. This will help you get a better idea of how the branches will look once they’ve grown back in.
- Always use sharp pruning shears when cutting branches off your tree and make clean cuts that are angled away from the branch’s point of origin. This will help reduce the chance of infection and encourage new growth.
- If you’re having trouble styling your bonsai, try using a shaping wire to hold the branches in place until they’ve grown into the desired position. Just be sure to remove it after a few months so you don’t damage the bark.
Boxwoods are very versatile plants and can be styled in many different ways. experiment with different techniques and see what works best for your tree.
Facts About Boxwood Bonsai Trees
Do boxwood bonsai trees need to be repotted?
Boxwoods can be repotted any time during the spring or summer, but it’s usually recommended that they are transplanted in autumn. This will ensure their soil has had enough time to settle.
How often should I prune my tree and when is the best time of year for this?
The best time of year for pruning is early spring, as long as the tree has been allowed to recover from its previous styling session. Since boxwoods are slow growers it’s important not to overdo this and remember that less is more when it comes to shaping your bonsai!
What does a healthy boxwood look like?
A healthy boxwood bonsai will have green leaves that are firm to the touch. The branches should be sturdy and not droop under the weight of the leaves. If your tree is losing its leaves or has black spots on them, it may be infected with a fungus and require treatment.
What is the best way to water my boxwood bonsai?
Water your tree via misting several times a day. Take care not to use cold or hot water, which can damage the leaves. Never let your plant sit in stagnant water and avoid overwatering it by allowing its soil to dry out between watering sessions.
Can I use regular bonsai potting soil with my boxwood?
It’s best to use a high quality commercial mix that is designed specifically for your plant. These soils are free of harmful chemicals and will promote the healthiest growth. If you’re using an outdoor container, choose one made from porous material such as ceramic or plastic so it doesn’t hold water and rot the roots.
What type of light does a boxwood bonsai need?
Boxwoods do best in bright, indirect sunlight. Try to avoid placing them in direct sunlight as this can cause the leaves to burn. If your tree is kept indoors, it should be placed near a window where it will receive plenty of natural light.
As you can see, there are many ways that an individual with a passion for bonsai trees may be able to create their own masterpiece. With the right materials and knowledge of how these plants grow, anyone should have success in cultivating this beautiful art form. We here at BonsaiGardener hope this guide has given you some insight into the world of boxwood bonsai so that your first experience is enjoyable and rewarding. Therefore, now that you have been inspired, it is time to start growing your own bonsais.