Boxwood bonsai trees are created from the large Buxus genus of broad leaf evergreens.
When we hear the words 'evergreen' we often think of conifers such as pines and junipers.
Buxus are broad leaf evergreen shrubs and include European, Japanese, Chinese and Korean boxwoods. (In Europe they are referred to as "box.")
The small leaves and hard wood trunks make them especially popular with the bonsai beginner. As you will see on this page, more experienced artists also respect this species.
Many different Buxus varieties have been used to create bonsai over the years.
The Buxus harlandii is just one favorite.
It is especially known for the impressive deep crevices in the bark, which add to its appearance of age. They aren't as readily available as other varieties. When you do find one, you will recognize it right away.
This photo of Yugi Yoshimura working on a Buxus harlandii demonstration was taken in 1973.
The same tree today (shown above) is in the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
Two from One - The B. harlandii cascade shown here is an air layer from the bonsai shown to the right.
Both were created by Ned Lycett in California.
Pavel Slovák posted this photo of his friend Mirek Skrabal's bonsai on the Internet Bonsai Club site.
On the site, there are several other photos of this great boxwood bonsai tree worth seeing. Several show the tree in flower.
As with so many plants, the box names can get confusing. Is it a common name? Or is it the scientific name? Rodney Clemons is known for his "Kingsville." I asked him about the name.
"Kingsville is called Buxus microphlla var. "kingsville" However, here's where the trouble begins....a lot of the plantsmen (including Henry Hohman) call It Buxus Microphllia var. compacta. "Henry Hohman's Kingsville Nursey in Maryland introduced "compacta" to the nursery trade in the early 1900's. I would go with "compacta" and let 'kingsville' be considered part of the common name." - Rodney Clemons
To add to the confusion, there are several similar looking types, such as the "Morris midget."
All of these small leaf varieties make good subjects, and are styled very similarly!
The bark is usually smooth and often almost white in color.
This species is easy to care for, however the roots tend to be very dense and need frequent watering. Traditional bonsai tree trimming is perfect for boxwood, as they need thinning (even as common hedges.)
John Geanangel has posted an easy to understand
One of John's comments is especially important. When trimming, cut the stems, not the leaves. Even though "hedge pruning" will make your bonsai fuller, doing it correctly will make it a treasure.
Leave this "true" boxwood bonsai page and read about the Carissa boxwood. It is not a "box" at all. However, it's another great bonsai subject.
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