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alternatives to Box

MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951

I'm looking for suggestions, besides box, which will form nice round shapes, be quite neat and evergreen please. Full sun, soil tendancy towards clay but can be improved.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,118

    I use Hebes MrsG. Some varieties are naturally rounded, so you get the ball shape without any effort. Ideal  image

    Add some grit or gravel to the clay for drainage and it'll be fine. I have some in pots which are Vernicosa. The bonus of  flowers for the bees as well.  They're a bit pale for me (lilac)  but not really white either, but I can forgive them as they give such good structure all year round.  Buxifolia is also ideal - as the name suggests, the foliage is almost identical to box. There are smaller ones too - Emerald something or other (Globe possibly?) which has smaller, finer foliage. 


    Last edited: 16 August 2017 18:24:19

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951

    Thanks FG, I'd forgotten about hebes. Will look up buxifolia. I like the purple plant to the left, is it ligularia?

  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,741

    Pittosporums.  Lots of different foliage colour and form, and they respond well to being pruned.  They grow faster than Box, so may need more pruning, plus they may not be fully hardy if you live in colder parts of the UK.  Some of my favourite varieties, Greenstar, Wrinkled Blue, Tandara Gold.

    Alternatively, try Euonymus.  I find the leaves of most are too big for finer topiary shapes, but we have a lovely small one call Green Spire, and it has a columnar habit, and is very similar to Box.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,470

    Yew. It stands a lot of cutting and is often used for topiary.

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951

    emerald green globe looks lovely.image

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951

    Hebe rakaiensis looks nice too, very similar.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687

    Depending on the size of the balls, Euonymus Fortunei will respond very well to pruning to any shape. But the shape needs to be just over a foot to make it work. They are not too fussy with soil either.

  • MrsGardenMrsGarden Posts: 3,951

    Thank you, I missed the last few posts, sorry not to respond earlier. pittosporum will be good, I'll lookk. out for the varieties mentioned. Will look at yew but not sure, and euonymus probably is too big a leaf for what I'm after. 

  • micearguersmicearguers CambridgePosts: 605

    There was an article in the telegraph recently:

    Last edited: 24 August 2017 12:11:39

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