Grow and Care for America’s Favorite Shrub – Boxwoods
Boxwoods are one of those rare plants that has a place in formal gardens as well as contemporary landscapes, and just about everything in between. Boxwoods can be seen in landmark gardens across the globe. For many gardeners, they are a treasured part of their gardens. Available in many forms, they are a versatile plant that should be on every gardener’s must-have list.
Uses For Boxwoods
Because of the sheer number of varieties available, one can find a Boxwood to fit just about any garden purpose. Boxwoods can be used as a formal or informal hedge, as topiaries, in containers, and even as a focal point.
Site Requirements For Boxwoods
Soil – Boxwoods prefer light loamy soil. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, be sure to amend it with plenty of organic matter. Do not plant Boxwoods in low-lying areas that collect water as they do not tolerate wet roots well. They prefer a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.5.
Light – Boxwoods do very well in full sun to partial shade. If they are planted in too much shade they tend to get thin and leggy.
Other Considerations – Boxwoods should be planted in a location that is protected from harsh winter winds that could cause them to have serious winter burn and leaf drop.
Caring For Boxwoods
Fertilization – Fertilize Boxwoods in the early spring before new growth flushes out using a well-balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Repeat in the late fall to promote root growth. Do not fertilize in the summer.
Water – Water Boxwoods 2-3 times per week, long enough to soak through the top 1” of soil.
Mulch – Apply 2” of mulch under the plants in the spring. You can re-apply a light layer of mulch in the fall to protect tender roots in the winter but never let the mulch collect more than 2” and never let it collect against the trunk of the plant.
Pruning – Hand pruning Boxwoods is preferred (and actually creates less clean up work than shearing). Shearing results in a very thin layer of green on the outside of the plant, prevents air flow and inhibits light from getting to the center of the plant. When pruning, always remove dead, dying or diseased branches. Reach in and thin out some of the outside growth to allow light in. Make sure to thoroughly clean up any and all cutting debris from under the plant.
Disease and Insect Issues Of Boxwoods
Unfortunately, there are several disease and insects that one must be aware of when planting Boxwoods:
Root Rots Boxwood Leafminer
Volutella Stem Blight or Canker Boxwood Mite
Macrophoma Leaf Spot Boxwood Psyllid
Our Favorite Boxwood Varieties
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