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How to Grow Boxwood Shrubs

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Boxwoods are America's most popular home landscaping shrub. Easy to grow, this evergreen plant  is one of the few evergreens that deer will leave alone. It contains Alkaloids, which deer do not like.

Boxwood shrubs are native to northern Africa and southern Europe.

The same unpleasant odor that keeps deer away, is also a consideration for scent sensitive homeowners. Some varieties have fragrant flowers.

The plants can be pruned to the desired shape. Depending upon variety, the plant grows 2 to 6 feet tall.

Boxwood can be grown in containers, on a patio or deck. They can even be brought indoors and grown as house plants.

Varieties of Boxwood Shrubs:

There are many varieties of Boxwoods. The smaller dwarfs grow just 2-3 feet high, and spread out about 2'. Larger varieties can grow 5-6 feet, spreading out 4-5 feet.

Some varieties are hardier than others. For northern climates, look for winter hardy varieties.

What is the most popular variety of Boxwood? The English Boxwood, a dwarf shrub.

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How to Grow Boxwood Shrub:

Boxwoods are easy to grow.

This plant prefers full sunlight to partial shade. The plants grow well in average to rich soils, that drain well. They do not like wet soils.

The ideal pH range is : 6.5 - 7.5

Transplant existing boxwoods in the early spring, before new leaf growth begins.

Most homeowners buy small nursery plants. These can be planted at almost any time of the year. But, it is best to plant them in the spring.

Plant in the ground no deeper than the depth that the plant was in the ground (for transplants), or in the pot from the nursery. Mix in plenty of compost while planting.

Boxwood roots grow shallow in the soil. Keep new plantings well watered for 2 to 3 weeks, to allow the roots to get established.

Established plants are drought tolerant. Water in dry weather at the soil level, keeping leaves dry.

Mulch around the shrubs, to keep weeds down, and help retain soil moisture.

Apply a general purpose fertilizer once in the spring, and again in mid summer.

After the first year, trim the plants, to maintain the desired shape.

Leaves may lose their green color in the winter, taking on an orange cast. This is normal.

Plant Problems:

The Boxwood shrub does not like water-logged soil.

Leaf Miners can be a problem. Larva live in the leaves. Use an insecticide, as needed.

Fungal problems can occur. Good aeration helps minimize this problem.

Boxwood Blight is a problem in some areas. Brown spots appear and grow on the leaves, killing the leaf, and ultimately the shrub. There is no cure.


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