Boxwood is a very hardy evergreen plant that proliferates well. It is popularly known due to its significant characteristics, thus making an excellent tree to be used as bonsai. The boxwood species includes over 70 varieties of trees. Japanese boxwood (Buxus Microphylla) and common boxwood (Buxus Sempervirens) are the most common boxwood species. Boxwood can be shaped into different designs and is often used as an ornamental shrub. The boxwood often grows with twisted trunks and branches in its natural habitat. These trees have greenish-yellow flowers that usually attract bees. There are several care guidelines that will help them to flourish. In this article, we will discuss how to care for potted boxwood.

Where to Position African Boxwood

During the summer, Japanese boxwood should be placed in a house with high light levels or kept outside with either complete or limited sunlight. A tree should be placed indoors when nighttime temperatures drop below 50 degrees. However, over the winter, you should bring your bonsai inside once nightly lows begin to approach freezing. The plant should be transferred to a north-facing doorstep during cold periods so it may go partially dormant. Boxwood should also be kept cool and away from sunlight. A boxwood plant should be placed outside after a period of dormancy, and its watering and feeding schedule should be increased once it is placed in a location with more light.

When and How to Water African Boxwood

You should never neglect the watering of your boxwood. When the tree’s soil gets dry, water it immediately and never allow the soil to dry completely. Until you get to know the requirements of a tree, you should use a moisture meter to determine the soil’s moisture level. A plant should be watered until water begins running out of the pot’s holes.

Fertilizing Needs for African Boxwood

For your bonsai to remain beautiful and healthy, fertilizing is always necessary. Fertilizer is essential to replenish a soil’s supply of nutrients periodically, since a shrub is growing in such a small amount of land. Liquid fertilizer is suitable for any general purpose and is available at most garden centers. Through cold seasons and dormancy, common boxwood should not be fertilized.

How to Train Your African Boxwood Bonsai

Since boxwood is a complex tree, training should be thoroughly studied or left for a professional to handle. Most potted boxwood is already trained and only requires pruning and wiring. When you are trimming the plant, you should leave one or two pairs of leaves on each branch.  Leaves should be thinned to let sunlight get in them if they become very dense. Thinning of leaves also helps to encourage back-budding, and it prevents inner twigs from dying.

It is necessary to keep your shrub miniature; trimming and pinching are required. A new growth should be pinched and cut from a safe point that is furthest. All new growth should never be removed, thus sustaining the tree’s health. It is vital to evaluate each tree’s growth rate and adjust your trimming and pinching, since different trees grow at a different rate.

Common Pests and Diseases that Affect African Boxwood

Like any other tree, boxwood bonsai should be treated for insects and diseases because the plant is miniature. However, when a plant is properly cared for, the risk of infections decreases. Fungal infections, such as box blight, can attack boxwood bonsai. Nematodes, boxwood mite, boxwood leafminer, or boxwood mite are pests that often affect the boxwood bonsai. Spraying of specific pesticides for most pests and diseases is essential. In severe cases, a professional gardener should be consulted.

Repotting African Boxwood Bonsai

When a bonsai root system has been filled, repotting should be done periodically. Repotting helps to supply fresh soil and to enable more compactness for a root system. You should examine your tree’s root system each year to determine if it has become pot-bound since trees grow at different rates. The potting process is easy and safe if performed correctly and at the right time in most cases. Repotting should be done in mid-summers. The soil and shrub should both be removed from a pot when repotting.