Having an evergreen shrub in your yard means you get to enjoy life in your garden all year long. Boxwood plants are easy to maintain and as a bonus, you can shape them how you would like. Learn when to plant boxwoods for an elegant touch to your yard.
When to plant boxwoods: Boxwoods wax and wane in popularity but are always available at your local gardening center. This plant is an evergreen shrub which means it will have foliage the entire year. For best results, you should plant your new boxwood in the spring, once the ground has warmed up. This will give the shrub time to establish itself before the cold winter temperatures. Boxwoods need sun but don’t like extreme heat so having shade in the afternoon can be a real help. You can prune and shape larger varieties but if you want less work, you can look for dwarf varieties, too. This shrub can be as high or low-maintenance as you prefer.
Planting Boxwoods in Different Climates
Boxwoods probably won’t do well in a tropical climate. They are meant to tolerate some cold in the winter and need to grow in a location that varies in its temperature.
Boxwoods don’t need a lot of water once they mature but they do need some so a dry climate isn’t ideal. If you really want to try planting boxwoods in a dry climate, place them in a container so that you can easily monitor the soil conditions and have more control over your watering schedule.
A temperate climate is ideal for boxwoods. The summers are not too harsh so the plant won’t dry out and the winters are not too cold so they will survive.
Boxwoods should be able to survive a continental climate but you will have to be careful over winter. You may need to wrap your boxwoods during the winter so that they will survive. Boxwoods can be expensive so you don’t want to risk planting them in an area where they will die in the first year.
Boxwoods need heat and warmth in the summer. They also need winters that are not too cold. A polar climate won’t be able to sustain boxwood shrubs.
Also known as Common boxwood, this is a popular choice for hedges. They have the added benefit of staying alive for up to 100 years.
Similar to the American boxwood varieties, this is another popular choice. They are great for hedges and usually reach a height of 4 feet in maturity.
These varieties of boxwoods will grow a bit faster than American or English types. Their leaves are bright green in color and have a nice, oval shape to them.
If you want a ground cover that isn’t more than 2 feet tall, there are plenty of dwarf varieties of boxwoods. They don’t need much pruning and are a great option if you want to place a border next to a driveway or pathway.
How to Plant Boxwoods
Boxwoods are evergreen shrubs which means they grow year-round. While they can withstand colder temperatures in the winter, you want to give them the best chance of survival in that first year.
The best time to plant boxwoods is in late spring or early summer. Wait until the ground has warmed up and the threat of frost is over.
While you can also plant in early summer, be careful if you live in a hot or dry climate. Too much stress on young boxwoods can cause them to die in their first year.
Boxwoods are regularly found at local gardening centers but will be most abundant in the spring. If you wait too long to purchase these plants, there might not be a good selection.
Boxwoods need access to the full sun that is evenly distributed. These plants are rather thick and if they don’t have access to sunlight that reaches all of their sides, some branches and leaves can turn yellow.
Try not to place your boxwoods against a building or structure, such as your home or a fence. While the outer edges will look nice, those that are close to the wall and thus receive less sunlight will become discolored.
If you have smaller varieties of boxwoods, you will have more flexibility as to where to place them as it is easier for sunlight to get to all their branches.
While boxwoods can grow in a lot of places, they don’t do well with very hot temperatures. If you live in a very hot climate, try to plant your boxwood in an area that gets afternoon shade.
Some boxwoods come with their root balls tied up. If this is the case for your plants, you will need to take a sharp knife and cut through the string, and burlap to free the roots.
Roots that are bound up will need to be detangled. Gently release the roots so that air can pass around them.
Dig a hole that is twice the size of the root ball. It should also be about 4 inches deeper than the surface.
Now is the chance to add organic matter such as compost to help build up nutrients in the area. If your soil is compact, add other substances such as peat moss to help with drainage.
Lower your boxwood into the hole and gently place the soil back into the hole. The top of the root ball should be slightly lower than the surface of the ground.
Tamp the soil down around your boxwood and then give the plant good water. If the soil settles further in the hole, you can then add more soil to even it out.
Areas to plant
Boxwood plants are pretty versatile and you can plant them for a number of purposes. Their shape and density make boxwoods ideal if you want a low hedge or to line a pathway.
You can also add boxwoods to a garden as they act as an evergreen focal point. They pair well with other colorful perennials.
Smaller boxwoods are also great for containers. If you want some greenery on your patio, this is an easy plant to care for.
How to Water Boxwoods
During the first two weeks after you plant your boxwood, you should water it every two days if it doesn’t rain. This will help the roots spread out and start to establish themselves.
During late spring, you can ease off on the watering. However, during summer when it gets really hot out, you will want to go back to watering every day or two to keep your new boxwood nice and healthy.
How to Grow Boxwoods
Boxwoods are versatile plants. You can decide to leave them as they are, or you can trim them into specific shapes.
Many people use larger varieties of boxwoods for a hedge. In this case, you will want to trim your boxwoods in the spring or summer. The plants form new growth in the fall and if you trim them, the rough edges will be more susceptible to the cold weather in the winter.
If you want to leave your boxwoods as is, then you just need to do the occasional trimming. Periodically look for broken branches or parts of the shrub that are growing faster than the others. Then, take a pair of gardening shears and cut off these parts.
Smaller varieties of boxwoods have fairly shallow roots so you want to help your plants out by mulching. Apply a layer of bark mulch around your boxwood each spring.
This will keep moisture in the soil and will protect the root system from hotter summer temperatures.
Pests and Diseases
While boxwoods are pretty hardy, they are susceptible to some pests. The most common is the leaf miner.
Signs of a leaf miner infestation include yellow foliage. There are organic sprays that you can use to stop these pests.
As for disease, root rot can set in if you don’t have proper soil drainage. Start by digging up the area you plan on planting your boxwoods and making sure it is not compacted.
How long do boxwoods take to grow?
Overall, boxwoods are pretty slow-growing. The plant that you put into the ground will stay that size for a few years before eventually starting to spread out.
If you want a line of boxwoods that are thick, it is best to plant them close together. Otherwise, you will have a patchy hedge for a few years.
Full maturity in boxwoods won’t happen for about five years. Take this timeframe into consideration when deciding how close to plant your boxwoods.
Boxwoods are evergreen shrubs that will add color and shape to your yard. You can grow them in containers, as accents, and even as hedges. Plant your boxwoods in late spring or early summer to allow them time to settle in before winter.