Boxwood Revisit: Regrowth After Summer Defoliation

This summer we hard pruned a Japanese Boxwood. This technique is usually reserved for plants like Trident Maple and Ficus. Set up beforehand, a leggy, strong Japanese Boxwood can also respond well.

Boxwood is a hedge plant, and most hedge plants respond well to pruning back into wood. Our hard prune left no leaves—a pause-inducing decision, if you’ve not done this before.


Early August, 2022, before pruning. This Japanese Boxwood got good doses of fertilizer starting in the fall of 2021, continuing through the spring of 2022.


Right after hard pruning, early August, 2022. After that it spent a few weeks in a greenhouse.

And this is the Boxwood in late October, 2022, two and a half months later. No adjustment of the growth has been done yet. What did this achieve? Reduced legginess, smaller leaves, more ramification, and that rare view of an evergreen without leaves, which can give more confident structural decisions. I wish to stress that this should only be attempted on a strong Boxwood with a long ramp up in fertilizing. The humidity of a greenhouse can give it a great advantage in recovery.

Here’s the first post about the hard prune this summer. That post includes details about the origin of this bonsai.

October 2022 Bulletin Board

  • If you haven’t yet, check out our updated Offerings page.
  • Visit my booth at the Pacific Bonsai Expo! I’ll be signing copies of Post-Dated (a memoir about my apprenticeship) and Bonsai Heresy (an offbeat educational guide to bonsai). Buy a copy for a friend in desperate need of a bonsai book. Find me in the vendor area, November 12-13, 2022 in Oakland, CA. Happy to chat bonsai, too!
  • Post-Dated is on its second printing! I’ll have those fresh-off-the-press books at the Pacific Expo…along with the (still fresh) books from the 2022 second printing of Bonsai Heresy.
  • The February 2023 Seasonal dates are up on the calendar! And already nearly full. Please sign up early and join us to study the ins and outs (and sideways) of repotting.

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  1. Ray says:

    Great information as usual Michael
    Thank You

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