Pros and Cons of a Buxus Hedge

Jun 20, 2021

Me and my Buxus

Hydrangea Annabelle

To lighten up the red brick of the house, I have chosen a white colour scheme to wrap around the perimeter.  The 1920s home has an elegant perhaps imposing style, that I felt could do with some softening up.  The whimsical and romantic hydrangeas “Annabelle” have certainly flirted their way around the house, but I love the juxtaposition of the formal buxus hedge, framing both the hydrangeas, the bay window and the house itself.

Why choose the Buxus Sempervirens?

  • The Buxus Sempervirens or common box are a slow growing evergreen shrub, with attractive oval glossy leaves.


  • At a growth rate of 10-15cm per year, the Buxus Sempervirens are easily manageable as a low compact hedge.


  • The Buxus Sempervirens are vigorous dense plants, so won’t take long to knit together and take shape.


  • If you want to be more adventurous, you could turn your hand at Buxus topiary, as it is suitable for close clipping, making neat finishes. Some of the more common shapes are Buxus balls, Buxus spirals, Buxus cones, Buxus pyramids but really there are no limits.

Hampton Court


Buxus should be pruned twice annually at least, ideally four times per year.  The best times to prune are at the end of May and the beginning of September.  Make sure to prune out of full sun so that the younger leaves beneath don’t get scorched.  

Prune your buxus with a set of hedge cutters.  Mine are a bit of an heirloom which were handed down to me in the family and still going strong.  Make sure you rinse off the blades now and again, as the sap can stick.  Maintain sharp shears.

Once I had finished pruning, I sprinkled some fertilizer and watered it in.  I used Westland Growmore Balanced Garden Fertiliser For All Plants.

The Problem with Buxus

The Buxus is susceptible to several diseases.  One of the most common problems is box blight.

What is it?

Box blight is caused by the fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola, which effects the leaves and stems.

Look out for:

  • brown leaves
  • bare patches
  • black streaks
  • white spores beneath the leaves

To prevent Box Blight:

Make sure your buxus plants are well ventilated.  I have just dug my border in front of the hedge a little deeper to allow for more air to circulate.

Keep them out of shady, damp areas.

Make sure equipment used on the Buxus is clean and cleaned afterwards to prevent potential spread


Monitor regularly

An alternative to Buxus

There is a long list of alternatives to buxus hedging.  The RHS garden Wisley have been carrying out a trial to find alternatives to Buxus.  A number of choices can be found at:

I have luckily had no problems with my buxus hedge.  I will continue to closely moniter it.  Happy pruning!

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