- Position: partial shade
- Soil: fertile, well-drained soil, including chalky
- Rate of growth: slow-growing
- Hardiness: fully hardy
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Common box makes a fabulous formal hedge for a partially shady site, forming a dense, evergreen screen of small, rounded, lustrous, dark green leaves. One of our recommended plants, it's an excellent backdrop for traditional herbaceous borders.
Box is happy growing in a sunny spot but the combination of dry soil and full sun may encourage poor growth and leaf scorching. If you have sandy soil, it is best to keep it in a partially shady spot in the garden.
- Garden care: For maximum results plant 30cm (12in) apart in well-prepared, fertile soil and water regularly until well established. Ensure that the soil or compost is never allowed to dry out. Trim plants grown as hedges or topiary in mid- or late summer. If you want to maintain a really precise outline, then you can clip it twice a year - once in June, and then again in August/September. Apply a top-dressing of a balanced slow-release fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone (organic) or Osmocote (inorganic) around the base of the plant in spring, making sure that none touches the leaves or stems.
“Clip box hedges in June, preferably on a damp day when there’s less resinous sap. Use sharp shears, wiping them regularly, and pick up every clipping from the ground and frisk the box to get the snippets out of the plant. This will deter box bight because there’ll be no rotting material. Don't forget to feed the plants after pruning to stimulate growth, toughen up the foliage and keep it looking greener.”
Val Bourne - Garden Writer