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Overwintering a boxwood in a tub should actually be quite easy, after all, the evergreen plants are robust and hardy. Nevertheless, many box trees do not survive - even though they do not freeze to death. Instead, the growths often dry up. However, this problem can be prevented with the right preparation and care.
If the boxwood is in a bucket, the effort involved in cultivating it generally differs from that of caring for it outdoors. The reason for this is simply that the roots have less space and less nutrients and moisture from the soil. In winter, therefore, attention must also be paid to a few factors that play a special role in bucket culture.
- isolation of the roots
- sheltered location
- Sun protection for the leaves
- preparatory fertilization
- acclimatization to the field
- Watering when dry
The most important and at the same time most difficult thing for overwintering the boxwood in the bucket is the water supply. As mentioned at the beginning, many of the plants do not freeze to death, but dry up. Evaporation via the leaves continues and the roots also grow, while the substrate in the planter only offers a very limited supply of moisture.
In addition, liquid intake is restricted or not possible at all when the temperature is below zero. It is therefore important to ensure that the substrate does not dry out. On frost-free days it has to be watered, albeit little and as often as possible. Regular checks are important for the health of the crops.
Potassium fertilizers should be used at the end of August and in September. This promotes the lignification of the boxwood shoots and thus prevents frostbite and dry damage. The plant is therefore protected from the inside out and prepared for the winter.
A comparatively warm, wind-protected location is ideal for overwintering the boxwood in the tub. It should be bright but not in the blazing sun. A wind-protected and slightly shady corner on the balcony facing south or east would be ideal. If these conditions cannot be implemented, the appropriate protection can be used to help.
Even if Buchs are generally frost-hardy plants, they still need appropriate protection when cultivated in tubs. Here you can proceed in different ways.
It is possible to plant the entire bucket outdoors. The roots are thus directly protected from frost by the surrounding substrate. The bucket can be dug out again in the spring. This variant is recommended for larger specimens and those plants that have spent the whole year outdoors and have already gotten a little frost here and there - because these are already hardy.
In a double bucket
The plant pot is placed in a larger pot, with both containers placed on ledges, a pallet or styrofoam to create clearance from the ground. The space between the two buckets is filled with bark mulch, straw or bubble wrap and the outside of the larger bucket is wrapped again.
Put on a pedestal
An inverted bucket, blocks of wood, pallet or similar is used as a spacer to the floor. The tub is in turn insulated from the outside by wrapping it thickly with garden fleece, styrofoam or bubble wrap.
Tip: When wrapping, care should be taken that there is still access to the substrate. This is important for the necessary watering.
Wind protection and sun protection
Wind has a drying effect on the leaves because it promotes evaporation. The same applies to excessive exposure to the sun. The possible consequence is dried out and burnt leaves. In addition, growth is boosted, which makes the boxwood more susceptible in winter.
The leaves therefore need protection from wind and sun. Shade nets thrown over the leaves on particularly windy and sunny days are ideal. These are also favorable for box trees that have been planted outdoors. Alternatively, parasols and sails or coconut mats can also be used.
Overwinter in the house
The easiest way to overwinter the boxwood in a tub is to bring it indoors. Here it should be frost-free and bright. Fertilization is not necessary. However, watering must continue, as it is an evergreen plant. This means that moisture continues to evaporate through the leaves. In addition, the roots grow primarily in winter. It is ideal if the substrate is always kept slightly moist and does not dry out. But it shouldn't be wet either.
Tip: Smaller and young box trees in particular should always be overwintered indoors. This also applies to varieties that are not completely hardy in our latitudes.
hardening of the boxwood
If the boxwood is to be overwintered in a bucket, it must be accustomed to it as early as possible. It should therefore be outdoors from spring onwards. If it has an optimal location and is well cared for, it can easily survive one or the other late frost. This is exactly important so that the plant is hardened and can later be overwintered in the bucket.
If the boxwood only gets outside later in the gardening season, it should urgently be overwintered indoors if it is cultivated in tubs. Otherwise, the risk of frostbite and drought damage is very high.
If you want the boxwood to be able to hibernate in a tub outdoors without any danger, the choice of variety is crucial.
Hardy varieties include:
- Blue Heinz
- Dee Runk
In general, however, all boxwoods are sufficiently hardy to survive frosty times in our latitudes. The green specimens, however, usually a little more than colorful variants.