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Boxwood Propagation

Martha Stewart Living Television

Boxwood is perfect as a stand-alone shrub, but also functions well when used for borders or edging garden beds. Today, Martha explains how to propagate boxwood cuttings -- a process through which one plant can potentially produce hundreds of shrubs.

Boxwoods are capable of growing to 15 feet, but can be pruned to virtually any size. Relatively sun- and shade-tolerant, they prefer rich, well-drained soil. Most boxwoods are hardy in Zones 6 through 9, although new cultivars have emerged that are hardy to Zone 4. The best time to take semi-hardwood cuttings from boxwood is between July and October. They're best taken from the inside of the plant, which helps to increase air circulation and sunlight at the boxwood's center. One rule of thumb is that the bigger the cutting, the slower it will be to take root; generally, 4 or 5 inches is an ideal length.

To cut, measure about three fingers from the base of the cutting, and strip all of the leaves off below that point. Dip the stem in rooting compound or hormone, and tap off any excess powder. Set the cuttings in a 50-50 mix of perlite and horticultural sand, or use a field conditioner such as Profield. If necessary, use a pencil or chopstick to add support. Water the cuttings and, if they were taken late in the season, overwinter them in a greenhouse or bright but indirectly lit window; cuttings taken earlier can grow outdoors in a shady area with plenty of water and good drainage. Roots should develop within about three months.

Resources
We used boxwoods from Spring Meadow Nursery.

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