Introducing Betterbuxus® – Blight Resistant Buxus

Tired of your carefully trimmed hedges or delicately shaped topiary being ruined by a bout
of box blight? Avid and hobby gardeners alike will be familiar with Buxus sempervirens and
box blight (Calonectria pseudonaviculata), the fungal disease that causes leaf browning and
stem dieback of Buxus plants. It spreads easily in damp climates, creates unsightly barren
patches, and will kill your plants if left untreated. Treating is no treat however, and takes a
lot of time, patience and fungicides, and, there is always the risk of recurrence.

Enter new hybrid varieties of blight-resistant Buxus. Belgian problem-solvers, Herplant
BVBA, developed Betterbuxus® after 15+ years of dedicated research in their intensive
classical breeding programme between different Buxus species in collaboration with ILVO
(Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food). Herplant BVBA, headed by
the very passionate Diedre Hermans and his brothers, has over 30 years’ experience in
growing Buxus varieties. When it became all too obvious that fungal diseases in Buxus were a problem here to stay in traditional Buxus varieties, Hermans set out to create an intensive crop protection scheme to combat the blight with 4 resistant hybrid varieties. Their mission is “to give Buxus another bright future in gardens…and to make Buxus one of the most popular and easiest garden plants again.”

Betterbuxus® hybrids are protected by trademark and plant breeders’ rights and have been created for every application. They are an environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution as fungicides are no longer needed to keep plants healthy, and, added bonus, they are also box caterpillar tolerant.

Herplant has four different resistant varieties in Buxus balls and Buxus hedging plants – each varying slightly in leaf and spread: Skylight, Heritage, Renaissance, and Babylon Beauty.

Babylon Beauty – This Buxus has rather light green, small leaves and is
also very suitable for layering applications. Babylon Beauty’ has a low
spreading growth if not pruned. This also makes it suitable as ground
cover. This plant is also suitable for poorer soils because of its very
strong roots.
Renaissance – This low-growing boxwood has a beautiful, glossy, small
leaf and is extremely suitable for low hedges. ‘Renaissance’ has small
leaves and stays dark green all year round. Due to its rather slow
growth, it needs less pruning and can be pruned one time per year.
Skylight – This selection is the fastest growing of the 4 hybrids and has
beautiful medium green, glossy leaves. Due to its good growth, it is
extremely suitable for balls, volume applications such as clouds and
somewhat higher hedges. This plant also has very strong roots.
Heritage – This hybrid is very similar to the well-known Buxus
sempervirens, but grows somewhat more compactly. It has medium to
dark green, glossy leaves and requires high fertilisation. On poor sandy
soils and with low fertilisation this plant can discolour in autumn and
winter, but will turn green again in spring when temperatures rise.
Heritage’ is suitable for universal use as a hedge or as a topiary.
Betterbuxus® varieties are most certainly the way forward and they are quickly becoming
popular in historical gardens all over Europe, including France, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands. In Ireland, Betterbuxus® hedging plants and topiary balls are exclusively supplied to the trade by Gardenworld Nurseries and are available to the general public from garden centres nationwide, currently including Johnstown Garden Centre (Kildare) and Glenwood Garden Centre (Fermanagh).