Boxwood Buxus microphylla repot

Hi there,

A dear friend gave me this boxwood a couple of days ago. She is not familiar with bonsai and thought it was a wonderful tree. I’ve had time to look it over and my guess is that it was a mallsai left in the back of the nursery where it grew up to one side and now has lots of potential lessons for someone like me (a beginner).

I’ve watched half of Ryan’s video on Boxwood Styling and now know I should repot it first and style it later. I can lift the whole tree out of the pot (no wires) and the roots are in a thick mat. (And yes, I plan to watch the rest of the video.)

I’d like to identify the front (help!), and plan to just remove the matted roots from the sides and bottom and add new bonsai soil. I’m really not sure how to deal with the surface roots and rock. I plan to use the same 8-inch pot because I like it and live in a condo with limited balcony space.

Here are some pictures of the tree.

  1. Widest base, tree leaning away from you.

2. Widest base, tree leaning toward you.

3. Narrow view, tree leaning to right.

4. Narrow view, tree leaning left.

5. Potential front; tilted and blocked up on books and stuff.
I choose this as the front because the tree would lean towards the viewer and I thought the roots were less distracting on this side. I think the first branch will go to the right.

Thanks in advance for your help!

I like it. I like the wild roots. I like pics 2 and 5. Boxwoods are pretty tough. Good learning tree. I like your plan too. Clean up the roots. Get it wired in the pot with some good soil. Then learn to keep it alive. Observe. Learn. Enjoy.

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Thank you, Moon, for your encouragement. I finished watching Ryan’s video and am now into Rodney Clemons’s video called Boxwood Primer, where Ryan is the chat moderator. Learning a lot! I’ll post a picture when I’ve done the repot. Probably in a couple of weeks.

All the best,

I repotted my boxwood!

After watching Rodney Clemons’s video with Ryan moderating, I decided to go with an off-white glazed pot that I had. I really like the pot because it makes the trunk and roots pop (thank you Rodney for the idea). And it’s slightly deeper than the other pot–I think the depth balances the bushy top.

When I took another look at the tree, I could see some scars where I think it got knocked over and a few branches broke on the right side. I guess that’s why the foliage is so lopsided.

My plan now is to let it grow until next spring when I’ll wire it. I hope that some new branches will grow toward the right.

One Rodney tip I want to share is: to get the trunk, branches, and roots really white, use rubbing alcohol and a brush. I used 70% rubbing alcohol and an old tooth brush for this small tree. Just pour some into a cup, dip the brush in, and gently scrub. Worked like a charm!

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