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Buxus sempervirens
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

common box

B. sempervirens is a large, evergreen shrub or small tree to 5m tall, with glossy, dark green leaves to 3cm long, and small, yellowish flowers in clusters, produced in the leaf axils during spring

Other common names
Abassian boxwood
European box

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Size
Ultimate height
4–8 metres
Time to ultimate height
10–20 years
Ultimate spread
4–8 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Yellow Green
Summer Green Green
Autumn Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Partial shade
  • Full sun
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing or North–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Buxaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
Ingestion may cause stomach upset, contact may irritate the skin. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Buxus can be evergreen shrubs or small trees, with simple, leathery, opposite leaves and clusters of small, pale yellow flowers followed by pale green to brown fruits

Name status

Correct

Plant range
SW Eurasia, N Africa

How to grow

Cultivation

Grows best in well-drained soil in partial shade; can be scorched by sun and strong winds in dry soils. Susceptible to a number of box problems, see box cultivation

Propagation

Propagate from semi-ripe cuttings in summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Patio and container plants
  • Hedging and screens
Pruning

Pruning group 8 in summer, renovation pruning can be carried out in late spring. Use mulch and a general fertiliser after hard pruning, ideal for topiary clipping

Pests

Susceptible to box tree caterpillar, box sucker, mussel scale and red spider mite

Diseases

Susceptible to a leaf spot and box blight

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