Ripping out 50 failing English boxwoods on a landscape job this year turned into a decorating opportunity. Rather than taking the old shrubs out and chipping and shredding them, I decided to use the still green parts for some boxwood Christmas trees.
A traditional decoration, boxwood trees are simple to make but time consuming. Boxwood sprigs inserted into saturated oasis lasts for at least 2 months in a green fresh looking form. After the holidays, you can even keep your tree which will dry nicely, and spray it gold for next year. Boxwood trees are easy to make and inexpensive if you have boxwood on hand. If you have to buy it though, it is expensive. I own several shrubs that need some attention and wait until early December to give them a thinning so I can use all those fresh greens and not throw them away.
When I thin my boxwood, I just grab a bunch of boxwood and snap it off at the woody stem. I call it ‘snapping boxwood’ and savvy gardeners do this to keep all their boxwood healthy. Beautiful boxwood requires periodic thinning to let air circulate throughout. Most people will sheer their shrubs which just stimulates the boxwood to grow in even thicker, blocking air flow.
Snapping off hunks of the foliage, creates spaces within the boxwood which aids in air circulation and leads to a healthier shrub. When I talk ‘boxwood’, I am referring to both English, American, and Korean. Though the English is superior for making wreaths and trees, I use any kind that I can get.
Boxwood Tree Directions
- Soak your cut boxwood in a tub of warm water overnight to hydrate the greens and keep them fresh longer
- Choose a small plastic container and add a chunk of oasis for the base. Tape in with florist tape and add some picks.
- Insert your cone on top of the picks
- At this point I add a few wood picks from the side of the cone into the base to make sure everything is secure
- I pick out a nice looking boxwood piece to form the peak. Once I stick that piece in, it gives me a guide to green up the rest of the tree.
- Starting at the bottom, I break off pieces of boxwood and insert them into the oasis around the edge of the container first and move up. I added another variety of green (thujopsis) to the tree to give more textural interest. But if you are a purist, stick with boxwood
- Add floral touches, like white pom poms, red roses, and small Christmas balls directly into the oasis; be sure to leave gaps to insert these elements
- Insert your pieces of boxwood and flowers with care; If you insert them too densely, you could break apart the oasis
- Spray the tree with an anti-dessicant, like Wilt-Pruf to keep the tree fresh for weeks
- For care, I will mist it with water maybe once a week, and make sure that the oasis is thoroughly soaked through to keep it green and fresh