Bonsai Mary


Boxwood Bonsai Are Created From Many Varieties

Bonsai is an ancient Japanese art of growing miniature trees that are pruned and shaped to look like mature trees. Boxwood, a popular landscaping shrub, has become one of the most commonly used plants for bonsai cultivation. Boxwood bonsais are not only aesthetically pleasing but also provide a sense of tranquility and serenity.

Chinese Boxwood Bonsai - A Miniature Tree Art

Explanation Of Boxwood Bonsai

Boxwood bonsais are miniature trees created by pruning and shaping boxwood shrubs. The art of cultivating boxwoods into bonsais requires patience, skill, and knowledge. The process involves careful pruning to create the desired shape and wiring to create movement and character in the tree.

A well-crafted boxwood bonsai can take years to develop, but the result is a beautiful work of art that can last for decades with proper care. These miniature trees offer a unique way to bring nature indoors or add an element of beauty to your outdoor garden.

Importance Of Understanding The Varieties Used In Creating Boxwood Bonsai

Understanding the different varieties of boxwoods used in creating bonsais is important because each variety has unique characteristics that determine its suitability for use in bonsai cultivation. Factors such as growth habit, foliage density, coloration, and hardiness should be considered when selecting a variety for your boxwood bonsai.

Selecting the right variety will ensure that your tree thrives in its environment while maintaining its desired shape. Additionally, knowledge about each variety’s ideal growing conditions can aid in providing proper care for your tree once it has been shaped into a bonsai.

In this article, we will discuss four common varieties used in creating boxwood bonsais: Common Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), Japanese Boxwood (Buxus microphylla), Korean Boxwood (Buxus sinica var insularis), and English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’). We will also delve into the unique characteristics of each variety and discuss how they are used in landscaping and gardening.

Overview Of Boxwood Varieties

Boxwoods are a very popular evergreen shrub used in landscaping, gardening and bonsai cultivation. They are well-known for their versatility, adaptability, and ability to retain their foliage all year round.

There are over 70 species of boxwoods that have been identified, but only a few of them are commonly used in creating Bonsai trees. In this section, we will take a closer look at the most widely used boxwood varieties for bonsai cultivation.

Common Boxwood (Buxus Sempervirens)

Common Boxwood is one of the most commonly grown varieties of boxwoods worldwide. This classic variety has dark green leaves with an oval shape that can reach up to 1 inch in length.

The bark on older plants can become grayish-brown or even black in color. Common Boxwood is native to Europe and North Africa but has been widely cultivated across many continents.

Japanese Boxwood (Buxus Microphylla)

Japanese Boxwood is another popular variety that is commonly used in creating Bonsai trees due to its small size and compact growth habit. This variety typically grows up to 4 feet tall and wide with small rounded leaves that are glossy dark green in color. Japanese Boxwood thrives best in full sun or partial shade and requires well-drained soil.

Korean Boxwood (Buxus Sinica Var Insularis)

Korean Boxwood is native to Korea and Japan and is often referred to as Littleleaf boxwood due to its smaller leaf size compared to other varieties such as Common or Japanese boxwoods. Its dense growth habit makes it an ideal candidate for Bonsai cultivation as it responds well to pruning techniques making it easy to shape into any desired form.

English Boxwood (Buxus Sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’)

English Boxwood is a dwarf variety that is commonly used in formal gardens and landscaping. It has small, oval-shaped leaves with a dark green color and grows up to 3 feet tall and wide. This variety is slower growing than other boxwoods making it well suited for creating bonsai trees.

Other Boxwood Varieties

Apart from the four boxwood varieties mentioned above, there are several other lesser-known species that can be cultivated into Bonsai trees such as Chinese boxwoods (Buxus harlandii) and American boxwoods (Buxus sempervirens var. suffruticosa). Each of these species has its unique characteristics that make them well suited for individual Bonsai styles.

Understanding the different varieties of boxwoods and their unique characteristics is crucial when it comes to selecting the right one for cultivating Bonsai trees. Factors such as growth rate, leaf size, and color should be considered when making your selection to ensure success in creating a healthy and beautiful tree.

Characteristics Of Each Variety

Physical Appearance And Growth Habits

Boxwoods are evergreen shrubs with small, glossy leaves that are ideal for use in bonsai cultivation due to their slow growth habits. The four varieties commonly used in creating boxwood bonsai each have unique physical characteristics and growth habits that make them suitable for different types of bonsai styles.

The common boxwood, Buxus sempervirens, grows up to 20-30 feet tall but can be kept smaller through regular pruning. It has oval-shaped leaves and produces small flowers in the spring.

Japanese boxwood, Buxus microphylla, is smaller than the common boxwood, growing up to 3-4 feet tall. Its leaves are more rounded and its bark is smoother than the common variety.

Korean boxwood, Buxus sinica var insularis, has dark green foliage with a yellow-green underside. It grows slowly and has a natural spreading habit that makes it ideal for creating cascading or semi-cascade bonsai styles.

English Boxwood,Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’, is also called dwarf or miniature boxwood because it only grows up to 1-2 feet tall. Its leaves are very small and its branches grow densely together.

Ideal Growing Conditions For Each Variety

To thrive as bonsais, each variety of boxwood requires specific growing conditions tailored to their unique physical characteristics and growth habits. Common boxwoods prefer well-drained soil with slightly acidic pH levels between 6-7.5. They require partial shade or filtered sunlight during the hottest part of the day but can tolerate full sun in cooler climates.

Japanese boxwoods thrive in well-drained soils with pH levels between 5-6.5 and require partial shade or filtered sunlight throughout the day. Korean boxwoods prefer well-drained soil with a pH level between 6-7.5 and require partial shade or filtered sunlight during the hottest part of the day.

English boxwoods require well-drained soil with a pH level between 6-7.5 and need partial shade or filtered sunlight throughout the day. They are also frost-tolerant and can withstand harsh winter conditions.

Uses In Landscaping And Gardening

Boxwood varieties are commonly used in landscaping and gardening due to their attractive foliage, slow growth habits, and ability to be shaped into a variety of topiary shapes. Common boxwoods are often used as hedges or privacy screens due to their dense growth habit. They can be trimmed into formal shapes like spheres or rectangles for use in formal gardens.

Japanese boxwoods are commonly used in Japanese-style gardens due to their naturally rounded shape. They are also popular for creating bonsai styles like moyogi (informal upright) or shakan (slanting).

Korean boxwoods are ideal for creating cascading or semi-cascade bonsai styles but can also be used as ground cover plants in rock gardens or mixed borders. English boxwoods are often used as border plants along pathways, around foundations, or as accent plants in formal gardens.

They can also be shaped into topiary shapes like cones, spirals, or pyramids. Understanding the unique physical characteristics, ideal growing conditions, and uses of each variety of boxwood is essential for creating successful Boxwood Bonsai trees that will thrive for years to come.

Creating A Boxwood Bonsai

Selection Of The Appropriate Variety For Bonsai Cultivation

The selection of the appropriate boxwood variety is critical in creating a beautiful and healthy bonsai. There are many boxwood varieties that can be used for bonsai, but not all of them are suitable. The best varieties for bonsai cultivation are those that have small leaves, dense foliage, and respond well to pruning and wiring techniques.

The common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) is one of the most popular varieties used in bonsai cultivation due to its hardiness, adaptability to different growing conditions, and ease of propagation. However, Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla) and Korean boxwood (Buxus sinica var insularis) are also excellent choices for bonsais due to their compact growth habits and small leaves.

When selecting a variety for your boxwood bonsai, it is important to consider the size you want your finished product to be. Smaller-leafed varieties may be better suited for smaller sizes as they allow for more intricate shaping while larger-leafed varieties may look better in larger sizes.

Pruning Techniques To Shape The Bonsai

Pruning techniques play a crucial role in shaping a beautiful boxwood bonsai. Pruning should be done during the growing season when the tree is actively growing.

This will allow it to heal quickly and reduce stress on the plant. When pruning your boxwood bonsai, start by removing any dead or damaged branches.

Next, remove any branches that are crossing or growing towards each other as they can rub against each other causing damage. To create an attractive shape, prune back vigorous growth by cutting back new shoots leaving just two leaves.

This will encourage branching closer to where you want it while keeping a balanced look. Pruning should be done regularly to maintain the shape of your bonsai.

Wiring Techniques To Create Movement And Character In The Tree

Wiring is an important technique used to create movement and character in the tree. It is best done in early spring when the tree is still dormant as it will allow you to manipulate branches without causing damage.

Before wiring your boxwood bonsai, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Start by selecting a thick, flexible wire that can hold the weight of the branch without snapping.

Wrap the wire around the branch tightly but not too tight as this can cause damage. Bend and shape the branch into position using gentle pressure until it conforms to your desired shape.

Do not force it or bend it too much as this can cause permanent damage. Once in place, secure it with more wire or use raffia to protect against scarring.

Wiring should be checked regularly during growing season as boxwoods can grow fast and wires can become embedded into branches if left on for too long. Remove wires as soon as they are no longer needed, typically after six months.

Creating a beautiful and healthy boxwood bonsai requires careful selection of appropriate varieties, regular pruning techniques, and skillful wiring methods. With patience, practice, and attention to detail your boxwood bonsai will flourish into a stunning work of art that will bring years of joy and admiration to any garden.

Boxwood Bonsai Care

Once you have created your boxwood bonsai, it is important to take good care of it in order to ensure its health and longevity. Boxwood bonsai have specific watering, fertilization, and pest control requirements that should be followed closely in order to maintain their health and beauty.

Watering Requirements And Frequency

One of the most important aspects of caring for a boxwood bonsai is proper watering. Boxwoods do not like to be over-watered, but they also do not like to be too dry. It is best to water your boxwood bonsai when the soil becomes slightly dry to the touch.

The frequency of watering will depend on a number of factors including the size of the pot, the type of soil used, and the environment in which the tree is growing. A good rule of thumb for watering a boxwood bonsai is to use a chopstick or similar tool to test the moisture level in the soil.

If it feels moist about an inch below the surface, wait before watering again. If it feels dry at that depth then it’s time for another round.

In general, boxwoods prefer well-draining soil that allows excess water to drain away from their roots. They also prefer slightly acidic soils with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.

Fertilization Needs

Fertilizing your boxwood bonsai regularly will help keep it healthy and promote new growth. Balanced fertilizers are ideal for most varieties; however, slow-release fertilizers can also work well if you want minimal maintenance over time.

The timing and amount of fertilizer applications will vary depending on several factors such as seasonality (spring & summer vs winter dormancy), tree age & size, species, and even the type of pot used. As a rough guideline, it’s best to fertilize your boxwood bonsai once every 4-6 weeks during the growing season and once every 6-8 weeks during winter dormancy.

It’s important to avoid over-fertilizing or using high-nitrogen fertilizers, as this can cause excessive leaf growth that weakens the tree over time. Instead, use a balanced fertilizer that provides equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Pest Control Measures

Boxwoods are generally hardy trees but they do have some pests which can cause problems for bonsai growers. Some common pests found in boxwood bonsai include spider mites, scale insects & mealybugs.

While these pests may be small they can do significant damage if left untreated. The first step in pest control is to identify the pest correctly so that you can choose an appropriate control method.

For example, if you see tiny webbing under the leaves or stem joints then it is likely spider mites. If you see clusters of tiny white bumps then it may be scale insects.

Once identified with certainty, one can use chemical or organic methods to eliminate these pests from boxwood bonsais. Some effective treatments include using a neem oil spray or horticultural soap solution applied topically on all parts of the tree except roots (to avoid harming beneficial soil microorganisms).


Boxwood bonsai are a stunning addition to any garden or landscape. The use of various boxwood varieties in creating these bonsais adds a unique touch of character to each tree.

It is important to understand the characteristics and ideal growing conditions of each boxwood variety before embarking on creating your own bonsai. Pruning and wiring techniques can be used to shape and mold the tree into a work of art, but proper care and maintenance are essential for its longevity.

Through this article, we have learned about the different types of boxwoods commonly used in bonsai cultivation: the Common Boxwood, Japanese Boxwood, Korean Boxwood, and English Boxwood. Each variety has its own physical appearance and growth habits, making them suitable for different uses in landscaping and gardening.

Creating a boxwood bonsai requires careful selection of the appropriate variety based on its growth habit and desired outcome. Pruning techniques must be used judiciously to create a natural-looking shape that mimics that of mature trees found in nature.

Wiring techniques can be used to create movement and character in the tree. Proper care is essential for maintaining the health and beauty of your boxwood bonsai.

Watering requirements must be monitored regularly, fertilization needs must be met appropriately, and pest control measures should be taken as needed. Boxwoods are becoming increasingly popular as bonsais due to their adaptability and versatility.

With careful attention paid to their care and maintenance needs, these miniature trees can add an element of sophistication to any landscape or garden design. As interest in the use of boxwoods as bonsais continues to grow, we can expect to see even more creative applications emerging in the years ahead.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which Boxwood Varieties Are Suitable For Bonsai?

Various varieties of boxwoods can be used for bonsai, including Japanese boxwood, Korean boxwood, and American boxwood, among others.

Can A Boxwood Tree Be Made Into A Bonsai?

Yes, boxwood trees are a popular choice for bonsai because they are easy to shape and maintain in small sizes.

What Is The Significance Of A Boxwood Bonsai Tree?

In addition to being a beautiful and decorative art form, the boxwood bonsai tree symbolizes strength, flexibility, and endurance.

What Are The Guidelines For Caring For A Boxwood Bonsai?

Boxwood bonsai trees require well-draining soil, regular pruning, and occasional fertilization. They should also be protected from extreme temperatures and excessive sunlight.

How Frequently Should A Boxwood Bonsai Be Watered?

Boxwood bonsai trees should be watered thoroughly but infrequently, usually once a week or when the soil is dry to the touch.

Is It Possible To Cultivate Boxwood Bonsai Indoors?

Yes, boxwood bonsai trees can be grown indoors, but they require bright, indirect sunlight and careful attention to watering and humidity levels.

At What Temperature Should A Boxwood Bonsai Tree Be Kept?

Boxwood bonsai trees prefer cool to moderate temperatures and should be kept between 50-75°F (10-24°C) for optimal growth and health.

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