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Replacing Buxus Plants

I posted a while back about my small buxus hedge that was destroyed by the box caterpillar. This was a decorative hedge that ran along the front wall of my house:



I've bitten the bullet and chopped the whole hedge out:



I've decided not to replace with plants in the ground and have gravelled the bed. It looks a little bare though and I'd like to put three or four planters with decorative bushes. I'm a total amateur though so would appreciate some advice on what to look for. 

I'm after something I can make look neat and symmetrical...I like spherical or lollilop type bushes, something relatively easy to care for and that won't become too huge for the area. The area gets lots of sun.

Can anyone advise me what they'd get?
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  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 2,025
    Just one comment I would make some plants that grow with a sunny wall behind them have a habit of leaning away from the wall. I would suggest one of the upright Euonymous plants such as E Green Rocket. This will give symmetry but may be a bit boring?
  • Just one comment I would make some plants that grow with a sunny wall behind them have a habit of leaning away from the wall. I would suggest one of the upright Euonymous plants such as E Green Rocket. This will give symmetry but may be a bit boring?
    Thanks, I didn't know about that!

    I had to also rip out my box plants in another border section of my garden and that looks perfect to replace (and wont break the bank!)...thank you!
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 32,434
    I LOVE the English Bonding brickwork
    Devon.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 2,025
    edited 17 July
    They are slow growing and can be lightly pruned. You can buy a pack of six at my local GC as I have done, think I paid £13.00 or just one more mature plant for the same price. To give you some idea.
     There are other forms such as E Green spire but they are similar . If you did want to mix things up you could consider Hedera Helix Ice Cream. A slow growing non clinging ivy. I have two in my garden but never tried it in a pot. Also not easy to find but a great plant, it forms a ball shape when more mature and just needs a light trim now and then.
  • Desi_in_LondonDesi_in_London London regionPosts: 600
    One of your earlier posts mentioned having  pots with golf ball shape plants  along that wall. Assuming that hasn't changed, ( ie vs one or two long troughs) , and don't want the planting a lot higher than than the prior hedge, you could look at one of the dwarf pittosporums ( golf ball / tom thumb or similar  - midget?)  which you could clip a bit like box , although the p. leaves are bigger so less neat topiary. Think arguably some of the smaller small-leaved hebes ( and probably euonymus microphylla ) could be used like that too. I have a single lavender stoechas "anouk" in a small (30cm ish diam) pot in a north -ish facing ( but sunny) courtyard , and it looks good 'enough' , but not exactly interesting over winter.

    If you have a series of  say 5 35-40cm  pots along that wall ( depending on how far apart you want them spaced), you can perhaps have a couple of different varieties/forms repeating between those. 

    I can't remember where in the country you are , lavender stoechas and hebes are not hardy everywhere  in the UK.

    If you do want to grow "rounded" shapes , or a mix of shapes/varieties, then having a series of (relatively) smaller containers vs a long trough should at least theoretically enable you to rotate them easily if some grow lopsidedly away from the wall ( as GardenerSuze comments above).
    Kindness is always the right choice.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 2,025
    My thought would be that you live in the south of the country as you have box caterpillar? As @Desi_in_London mentions Pittisporum is another possible.  I only started growing P Tom Thumb last Autumn and I have been pleased with it. In years gone by not so hardy here. 
  • Yes, Greater London…the caterpillar has decimated the area and most peoples gardens used it heavily! Thanks all for the comments!
  • WonkyWombleWonkyWomble SuffolkPosts: 4,091
    Very like box but with smaller leaves this is a great alternative that doesn't suffer from blight or caterpillar. Clips into nice neat hedging. 
    Lonicera Nitida... It is a member of the honeysuckle family and a few of my customers with formal style gardens have opted for this after terrible caterpillar infestations 2 years running.
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,676
    The smallest of our Pittosporums, we grow about 8 varieties, is Midget. It has the most lovely dense foliage, and is only about 1 foot high. It forms an attractive low dome shape, not at all straggly, so probably wouldn't need much (if any) trimming.

    It would look quite nice if planted together with Euonymus Green Spire, which is more upright, and has a dense, dark green foliage. That can put on quite a bit of growth, if it is happy, but it's easily pruned to shape.
  • Chris-P-BaconChris-P-Bacon Posts: 796
    Box seems to have survived the caterpillar and blight problem quite well up here in the north west ...well relatively. 
    However whenever I was asked to replace it my 'go to' alternative was always Euonymus Jean Hugues. I grow it in my garden in moist clayey soil.
    Lonicera nitida is a good choice too but is more vigorous.
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