Korean Boxwood

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Korean Boxwood

Post  Michael T on Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:39 pm

I'm a little confused. I was reading through an indoor bonsai book that recommends buxus for indoor growth. Seemed very odd to me.

I have a small shohin korean boxwood that I have always wintered outside even in 0f degree temps. I have a high pressure sodium lights in my office with a floor to ceiling windows. I keep one or two of my tropicals in there in a rotating basis.

Was just wondering if anyone thought it would be ok to overwinter boxwood in the office?

In short, does it need a full dormancy period, or are they more akin to tropical varieties.

Michael T
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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Carolee on Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:11 am

Because the Korean Boxwood will grow as far south as USDA Zone 9, and it is an evergreen (evergreens do not go completely dormant during the cold), it does not need a cold dormant period. The problem is not light (boxwood can grow in partial shade), but rather humidity. It is very hard to maintain the needed humidity to keep such plants happy inside. Humidity trays just don't do it; of course you could have an automatic mister that provide humidity hourly Very Happy

Yes they will grow inside, but they won't grow as well. Remember, the farther north, the winter winds can dry the evergreens out.

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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Michael T on Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:08 am

I'm aware of the difficulties maintaining humidity in an indoor environment. I manage to keep it around 55% in the growing area in my office. Not great but not terrible either.

Michael T
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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Rick Moquin on Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:31 pm

I am not sure what happened to my reply yesterday. Boxwoods do not prosper indoors. There will be little gain if any, therefore I leave mine outside.

Some books state you can e.g Bonsai in your home by Paul Lesniewicz. This is what he has to say:

<<During winter a cool spot is best about 37-50 degrees F. If no such spot is available, temperatures between 64-86 degrees are also tolerated>> I believe that sums it up nicely. I also believe Carolee is on to something wrt humidity.

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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Michael T on Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:34 pm

I grow a list of tropicals indoors and despite common thought light is less important (although important) than humidity. An average healthy home environment has humidity levels less than 55% and often below 30%. A desert is literally more humid than that.

Plants need 55% plus. I have a separate sunroom that I use to grow them indoors at and I keep humidity levels above 60%. That said, I'm still stuck on whether buxus can do without a dormancy period and remain healthy as I seem to be getting conflicting opinions.

I can manage the humidity and light levels in the office as well more than adequately.

Any more thoughts?

Michael T
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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Velodog2 on Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:54 pm

I've never been clear on wintering requirements for buxus. That different species seem to have slightly different requirements adds to the confusion. I have lost any I have tried over the years as a result. I have another now and I intend to keep it in the basement this year with my pyracantha. It is damp there and in the upper 40s in winter. There is only minimal light from a transom window, but the pyracantha did well there last year.

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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:11 pm

In Illinois (Zone 5) Boxwoods are perrenial shrubs. With the exception of protecting the roots, the boxwood should be wintered outdoors. Bury it, mulch it, cover it with snow, put it in a coldframe or just tuck it into a well sheltered corner of the yard out of the wind. Occasional watering when the weather breaks above freezing for a day or two.

Jay

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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Rick Moquin on Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:54 pm

Michael,

Speaking from experience, you will do more harm to your tree than anything you might gained. I keep tropicals as well. I gave up on wintering boxwoods indoor because their health was seemed to diminish, indoors during their normal dormant period, nothing was gained and it seemed they would prosper better come spring if left outdoors.

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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Carolee on Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:08 pm

Bottom line (unless I'm very wrong}: Evergreens do not go dormant. Therefore in response to that part of your question, you do not have to put your boxwood outside. If you want to keep it in your office for your pleasure, and you are managing the humidity, it will not kill the tree.

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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:30 pm

Carolee,

I do not believe you are very wrong, but the noticeable growth of evergreen trees during colder months drops off considerably. During this period the tree above ground level "rests" while the roots continue to grow and store sugars. Like deciduous trees, evergreens normally grown in areas that experience cold winters do not thrive as well inside as those allowed to winter outside. It isn't until temps rise and phototropic periods lengthen that new growth resumes. Evergreens not allowed to experience a wintering-over, after a few years will begin to show the stress of not being allowed to rest. Such stress sets the tree up for infestation and desease.

Would that be called going dormant? I'm not sure, but I have killed a few evergreens by keeping them inside too long.

Jay

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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Carolee on Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:33 pm

So after my previous answer, I decided I needed to do a little more research. I came to the same conclusion, except evergreens do go dormant just not the same as deciduous trees. Here is an answer from an expert, Brent Walston, at

http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/dormancy.htm

When determining whether or not a plant can be grown indoors, the strongest clue will come from its natural environment. If the species is native to a temperate climate area that receives regular freezing winter temperatures, it will be impossible to grow this plant continuously indoors. It can only be an indoor plant if you can also satisfy its dormancy requirement by providing it with the requisite number of hours of temperatures under 40F.

Jay, you wrote your reply while I was writing this one. I agree with what you are saying. It really is a matter of the definition of dormant. Brent really does address the question well.

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Re: Korean Boxwood

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:43 am

Excellant artical.

So the trick is to not avoid the cold but control it by providing just enough protection to prevent access to temperatures below the coldest acceptible temperatures.

The other concern is exposure to wind. The drying effects of the winter wind can dessicate a plant rapidly with little indication that it is in danger before it is too late.

Thanks for the article, Carolee.

Jay

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Re: Korean Boxwood

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