7 Tips for Growing Boxwood Shrubs - Backyard Boss
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7 Tips for Growing Boxwood Shrubs

Boxwood shrubs are popular among gardeners and landscapers because of their versatility, durability, and attractive foliage. Whether you use them as a hedge, specimen plant, or topiary, boxwoods bring a classic, timeless look to outdoor spaces. 

Cultivating boxwoods is a rewarding experience but requires a little bit of care and attention. But these seven best tips will help you grow healthy and thriving boxwoods in your garden. From choosing the right location to proper watering, pruning, and fertilization, learn everything to achieve the beautiful, lush boxwoods you’ve always wanted.

The Benefits of Growing Boxwood Shrubs 

Green ornamental shrub boxwood. Boxwood - Green garden balls.
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Growing boxwood shrubs comes with numerous benefits. Firstly, they are incredibly versatile, meaning you can use them in many landscaping designs. They are evergreen, providing year-round greenery and a constant source of aesthetic beauty in your garden. Additionally, boxwoods are low maintenance and can withstand harsh weather conditions, making them a reliable choice if you are a novice gardener.

They are also great for privacy and can serve as a natural barrier or screen. With the proper care, boxwoods can grow into dense and lush shrubs that will add value to your property and enhance the overall look of your outdoor space.

The 7 Best Tips for Growing Boxwood Shrubs

Now that you know why you should add boxwood shrubs to your garden, explore these seven tips for growing them.

Pick the Right Spot

Boxwood shrubs
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By selecting the right location, you can help ensure that your boxwoods thrive and provide you with the lush and attractive foliage you desire. They need well-draining soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 and at least six hours of direct sun. Poorly drained soil can cause root rot, and too much shade leads to spindly growth. 

Check soil conditions with a soil test and choose a spot that meets these requirements. A suitable location will ensure the healthy, lush growth of your boxwoods.

Know When to Plant

Planting boxwood shrub
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Planting at the right time is crucial for the successful growth of boxwood shrubs. Boxwood shrubs thrive best in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, though there are cultivars that will grow in warmer and colder climates. The ideal time to plant them is in the fall, from September to October, when the soil temperature is cooler but not cold, allowing them to establish roots before the winter. 

Spring is another optimal season for planting boxwoods, ensuring their healthy growth and ability to endure the summer heat. You can start from March until April.

Whether you decide to plant your boxwood shrubs in fall or spring, keep in mind that these plants are very sensitive, so plant them after the warmest and coldest temperatures have passed.

Water Properly

boxwood and a can on the lawn
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Keep your new boxwoods consistently moist but not waterlogged to avoid root rot. Water them deeply and regularly during their first growing season, typically during the spring and early summer months, aiming to provide 1 inch of water to the soil, especially during dry spells. As the shrubs mature, they become more drought-tolerant and may only require watering during periods of drought.

Note that boxwoods are susceptible to yellowing of the leaves, which can be a sign of either over- or underwatering. To avoid this, maintain a consistent watering schedule and be mindful of the amount of water your shrubs receive.

Mulch Around the Base

Boxwood shrub
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Mulch helps to regulate soil temperature, conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and add organic matter to the soil. When applied correctly, a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch around the shrub’s base will help conserve soil moisture and prevent it from drying out too quickly. Use organic matter, such as well-rotted garden compost, pine bark, or shredded leaves, for the best results.

Mulch acts as a physical barrier that prevents weeds from growing near the shrub’s roots and competing for water and nutrients. When mulching, keep a small gap between the mulch and the trunk to allow for proper air circulation.

Apply Fertilizer

A han with the fertilizer
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Boxwoods need proper nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, to grow strong roots, develop healthy foliage, and produce vigorous growth. Feed your plant with a general-purpose, slow-release fertilizer in spring or fall, just as new growth begins.

Prune the Shrub

Pruning boxwood shrub
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Pruning controls the size and shape of the shrub and promotes new growth. It’s best to prune boxwoods in the late winter or early spring, just before new growth begins, as this will allow you to see the shrub’s natural form more clearly. 

When pruning, use clean, sharp tools to make precise cuts and avoid damaging the shrub. With regular, proper pruning, boxwoods will maintain their desired shape and size and continue to thrive for years to come.

Protect from Pests

Lawn Chemical Treatment
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Boxwoods are susceptible to many pests, including box suckers and tree caterpillars, which can cause damage to foliage and stems. To prevent pest problems, regularly inspect the shrubs for signs of infestation.

Keeping the shrubs healthy by providing adequate water, sunlight, and fertilization helps prevent pest problems. Practicing proper cultural care, such as avoiding overhead watering, also reduces the spread of pests.

However, if your boxwood has been infested, you can try handpicking and removing pests or use insecticides. If you choose the second option, find a product that won’t harm your plant.

Bring Beauty to Your Garden with Boxwoods

Growing boxwood shrubs can be a fun and rewarding experience for gardeners of all levels. Following the tips in this article, you can ensure that your shrubs are healthy and attractive, adding value and visual appeal to your outdoor space.

From choosing the right location and providing proper watering to regular pruning, fertilizing, and protection from pests, there are many steps you can take to help your boxwoods thrive. With some care and attention, you can grow lush and beautiful boxwoods that will bring a timeless look to your garden for years to come. 

Do you know any other tips for growing boxwoods? Comment below, and as always, please share!

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