Boxwood Substitute Needed

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Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:41 am

For 15 years I had a very successful rock planting using small specimens of Kingsville boxwood, Buxus microphylla 'Compacta.' Then last year they gradually began to turn brown. I could find no sign of insect damage. I took the whole thing apart as far as I could and redid it with fresh soil, but they died off one by one. I can only suspect some root pathogen got into them, because my culture didn't change. The rock planting was greatly admired, so I would like to redo it with a different plant, something with tiny leaves that is amenable to planting in rock crevices. I would like to do it with an indoor or subtropical species, since I have no suitable location to keep such a planting of outdoor trees over the winter. I always kept the boxwoods under lights for the winter.
I am going to the Philadelphia Flower Show, so I would prefer something I can get from Meehan's Miniatures or some other vendor at the show.
http://www.meehansminiatures.com/
Any suggestions?
Iris

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Re: Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  jon hultgren on Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:20 am

Maybe one of the small leaf ficus as you want it inside. I have a root over rock ficus that I've been growing for a couple of years from a tiny cutting that was 6 inches tall, with a 1/4 in diameter. It grew up 3 feet in one year and now is close to an inch thick. This wasn't a small leaf variety though, but if you let them grow wild they shouldn't take that much longer.

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Re: Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:07 pm

Hate to say it, Iris, but Serissa fits the bill. tongue

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Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:12 pm

Thanks and thanks. I thought about both of those, but I don't know any woody Ficus cultivars with small enough leaves. Not sure if Serissa would tolerate the rough root treatment. There are a number of tiny cultivars, like 'Kyoto.' Of course, in the smaller sizes, Serissa are cheap enough that I wouldn't lose much by trying.
Iris

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Re: Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  EdMerc on Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:28 pm

Small leafed ficus? Try the ficus pumila 'Minima'. Leaves are about 1/2 in naturally.

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Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:45 pm

I have killed my share of these. It is a vine, & I need about five or six small trees. F. pumila can be trained to a trunk, but it takes some time. Kingsville box were perfect until this fatal malady struck.
Iris


Last edited by bonsaisr on Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:48 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add another comment.)

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Re: Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  Norma on Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:27 pm

Hi Iris,

Most of the older members in my club keep all our boxwoods including kingsvilles in cool winter dormancy. They also seem to prefer deeper pots but so far my small kingsville forest rock planting has survived and thrived for 12 years.

I'd suggest the Nea buxifolia which has small compact leaves as the kingsville and would thrive in tropical conditions. I have one which is flourishing with my buttonwood under sodium and fluorescent lights.

Good luck!
Norma

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Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:40 pm

Another one I have considered. Might do better than Serissa. Mrs. Meehan has them, just as cheap as Serissa. According to my notes, the one I had didn't die on me, but was "unresponsive." Since the trees on a rock planting usually don't get wired, just trimmed, they might be the ticket. Idea
Iris
PS I just Googled up a slew of pictures, including one or two rock plantings. It appears to be a very versatile and amenable species. Has anyone here tried it in a rock planting? Question
Thanks, Norma.


Last edited by bonsaisr on Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:56 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add another comment.)

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Re: Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  sulrich on Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:37 am

Hi,

Just another thought - I heard that Premna are easy to grow indoors as well, quite similar to Ficus retusa (haven't tried it myself though since they are difficult to find here), and there's a small-leafed variety too (P. microphylla).

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Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:19 pm

Can anyone report having actually tried Premna indoors?
I ordered some small Nias from Martha Meehan in February. I also acquired some mini ivies. However, being an incurable ***** (insert your own epithet), I offered to demonstrate the rock planting process to my club members. So many of them were interested that I did this at the church where we meet. In order to avoid making too much of a mess, I bare-rooted the plants & put them in baggies in advance. However, as is the usual fate of demo plants, half of them died. Surprisingly, the one at the top did not.
Although Nia reportedly requires fairly high humidity, it is an understory tree that prefers part shade, so once it is established, it should be able to grow under lights.
I am now repairing the planting & will post pictures shortly.
Iris

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Re: Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  JimLewis on Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:20 pm

Ilex vomitoria or the Japanese holly (whose latin name escapes me for the moment). Both have leaves comparable to boxwood.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:25 pm

Japanese holly is Ilex cuspidata. It is hardy in Central NY & I have never heard of it being used for bonsai. It is suitably boring for foundation planting.
You may be thinking of Okinawa holly, Ilex dimorphophylla, which is a subtropical. I don't recall seeing it for sale in the North. Have you seen it in rock plantings?
Anyway, I now have a rock planting with three Nias & three mini ivies. We will see what happens. Question
Iris

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Boxwood Substitute Needed

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:56 am

An update on the rock planting. The three nias have been doing fine outdoors in partial shade. I am gradually moving them into more sun, but not full sun, as one of the nias is not established yet. They seem quite amenable to our summer climate. I can't post a picture, since the rock planting is still half undressed. I will have to get some more nias, & Mrs. Meehan seems to be the only source.
Iris

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Re: Boxwood Substitute Needed

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