Boxwoods are building blocks for design.
Conditions: Boxwoods thrive in full sun to part shade. Those in full shade will not grow as vigorously. Plants in full sun, particularly in hot, inland areas, can be at risk of scorching. Hardiness depends on variety, but they must grow in zones 5-9.
Drainage: Plant in loose, quick-draining soil. Boxwoods do not like soggy soil. Amend heavy clay soils with sand before planting.
Spacing: Spacing needs vary depending on mature size of cultivar. Avoid planting too tightly; that will crowd the shallow roots of boxwoods and prevent air circulation.
Water: After planting and for the first couple of months while the plant gets established, water one or two times a week. After that, keep an eye on the plant and the soil. Aim to water the root ball well; then allow the soil to dry out between watering. Keep potted boxwood on irrigation, if possible, as soil can dry out quickly.
Fertilizer: Use only organic fertilizers, such as compost or compost tea, to create healthy plants.
Boxwood blight: This can be devastating if it starts as dark spots on the leaves, which then brown and die, and quickly spreads to nearby boxwoods. To prevent blight, avoid creating the moist conditions the fungus thrives in by not watering overhead and not shearing the plant. Plant only cultivars known to be less susceptible to blight, and avoid the problematic “Suffruticosa” English boxwood. To prevent potential spread between plants, dip pruners into a 10 percent bleach solution after use on each plant. Dispose of infected plants and the soil around them in trash bags; do not compost.
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