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September is an excellent time to plant new garden beds. The soil is warm and it provides the perfect growing environment for roots to set themselves in the ground. I love to plant in the fall because the payoff comes in spring.  Fall planting gives new plantings some time to grow roots, the winter period to harden off, and then they’re well on their way to pushing out new foliage, flowers and stems in the spring.

The American Boxwood Society says on their website that “The fall is the best time for boxwood planting and mulching.” In my experience, I’ve found that boxwoods benefit greatly from being mulched with partially decomposed bark mulch before winter comes. They thrive when their roots are given protection from temperature fluctuations. Think of mulch as a blanket, or buffer, that keeps soil temperatures more even underneath.


Boxwood Hedge Year 1 (bottom right): When first planted and hedge trimmed, there are still gaps between the plants. We used 3 gallon plant pots here.

English boxwood is a very popular choice for planting in the Pacific Northwest including Vancouver. The botanical name says it all: Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’. In latin, ‘sempervirens’ means ever-green. What this translates to is that English boxwood will stay green in winter, unlike boxwood’s Asian varieties, which tend to yellow during colder months. Now, if you like the look of yellow-amber foliage, then the Boxwood variety “Winter Gem” is perfect for you. In winter its leaves turn a distinct amber colour.


Boxwood Hedge Year 3: This is the same boxwood hedge lining the driveway. The plants have now filled in and are trimmed in straight lines to create a formal look.

When planting boxwood, the three most important tasks to perform are to: snip the roots, scrape off any moss or weeds, and plant with Miccroryzhae. Before pulling the plant out of the pot, scrape off any moss that’s growing on top of the plant. Plants that are planted with the moss left on perform less well than when the moss is removed. Yes, I have done this experiment myself, and it’s noticeable! After you’ve pulled the plant out of the pot, use your secateurs to make a small cut into the roots on opposite sides of the plant. This encourages the roots to branch out, and breaks the habit of growing in circles that was formed while roots were growing inside the pot.  Thirdly, use Miccroryzhae, it’s a symbiotic fungus that is beneficial to most plants and pretty much ensures that the plant will establish itself successfully. When I say “most plants”, it has been shown that Miccroryzhae has no effect on some plant types such as Rhododendron and Blueberries. So save your money with those plants! Miccroryzhae is sold under the trade name “Myke” and can generally be found at your local garden centre.