Growing Buxus (Boxwood)

Latin Name Pronunciation: bucks'us

Boxwoods are popular landscape shrubs because they are evergreen, easy-care, and have small leaves and a dense habit that lend themselves well to shearing. They make splendid formal hedges and topiaries as well as foundation plantings. Some varieties grow naturally into upright pyramids, columns, round balls, or low mounds. Because deer avoid them, they have become a substitute for Yew, a favorite treat. Winter hardiness is a problem with some species, whose leaves turn brown from cold and reflected light from snow.

Light/Watering: Sun to partial shade, but avoid locations in full sun. Water thoroughly after planting, and then give a new plant a good soaking once a week during summer, unless rainfall is plentiful (more than 1in per week). Please note that more is not better. When in doubt, don't water.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH: Moist, well drained soil. We recommend against fertilizing at planting time and during the first growing season in your garden. Plants need time to settle in before being pushed to grow. Most established plants grow best if fertilized with a light hand. Here at the Farm, we fertilize shrubs and trees just once -- in early spring -- with a light but even coverage of a balanced, granular fertilizer (such 10-10-10 or an organic fertilizer).

Continuing Care: Easily sheared or pruned to shape. Protect shallow roots with a 1-2in mulch. In winter, protect from strong winds and full sun, and remove snow to prevent breakage. No serious disease problems, although Boxwood leaf miner, mite and psyllids are insect pests.