Because of the box tree moth, more and more gardeners are looking for an alternative to the box tree. We’ll show you the best alternatives to boxwood.
Who has not already admired them: the evergreen, neatly kept bed borders and the beautifully designed topiary of the box tree? No question about it, the boxwood ( Buxus sempervirens ) is very popular. It is evergreen, robust, hardy, easy to cut and easy to care for.
Why alternatives to boxwood make sense
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Unfortunately, there are also a few sound arguments against cultivating a box tree in the garden.
Boxwood: caution poisonous
On the one hand, one should not underestimate the risk of poisoning it poses, especially for small children and pets (especially rodents). Because all parts of the box tree are poisonous – whether flowers, leaves, or bark. If you put them in your mouth or even swallow them, this can lead to nausea, diarrhea and vomiting or even cause dizziness and paralysis. More on the subject of “Boxwood: Poisonous or not?” can be found in our special article.
The most serious reason, however, that speaks in favor of alternatives to boxwood, is another. You may like How to Fertilize Boxwood
Box tree moth
Hungry pest: The voracious boxwood moth (Cydalima perspectalis ) is feared by many boxwood friends. And rightly so! Because the pest is bad for the evergreen plants. The box tree moth is a small butterfly that probably came to Europe in shipping containers from East Asia at the beginning of this century. Its caterpillars, which you don’t even notice at first, can later lead to massive devastation on the boxwood.
A good reason against chemical pesticides to fight the borer:
Early in the year (from March to May) you can find small flower clusters in the leaf axils of the box tree. Many hobby gardeners hardly notice them because they are well hidden by the foliage. These flowers are very rich in pollen and nectar. And because flowering begins so early in the year, they are one of the first places bees and insects come to fly. For this reason alone, you should definitely refrain from fighting the box tree moth with the chemical club.
Instead, you can fight the boxwood moth biologically and get rid of it effectively without poison or chemicals.
With this article we definitely do not want to drive the boxwood out of your garden. But especially because of the box tree moth, many garden owners are looking for alternatives, which we present to you below.
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Alternatives to boxwood: Our top 6
In our suggestions for substituting boxwood, we made sure that the alternatives contain all the benefits of boxwood as far as possible. From the easy-care border edging, to large plants that are easy to cut and give shape, to opaque hedges and bee-friendly plants. The possible risk of poisoning is also expressly pointed out.
1. Box-leaved barberry
The bush-leaved barberry ( Berberis buxifolia ) is an evergreen, slow-growing deciduous wood. Their height is two to two and a half meters.
From April they adorn orange-yellow flowers. Their ripe fruits are blue, edible, and can even be made into jam. The dwarf form “Nana” has very short shoots, is easy to cut and is a suitable alternative to boxwood if you want a beautiful topiary in the garden.
2. Rhododendron ‘Bloombux’
The currently much-praised novelty among the boxwood substitute plants is the rhododendron ‘Bloombux’. It is a refinement of dwarf rhododendron bushes, which is cut compatible and also suitable for shaped cuts. Its winter hardiness goes down to temperatures below -20 ° C. The evergreen shoot of the dwarf rhododendron is very similar to that of the boxwood. There are also wonderful pink flowers. With a height of up to one meter, smaller hedges can also be designed well.
The real lavender ( Lavandula angustifolia ) can replace the boxwood as a very special border. Due to its low growth of 45 to 50 cm, beautiful hedges can be set around the beds to be delimited. From June to August the robust plant blooms in a bright purple and attracts bees, butterflies and other insects with its fragrance and the many flowers.
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