Care of Boxwood Plants


Boxwood is a popular and widely grown shrub, valued for its practicality and versatility. Boxwoods can be planted along a garden path or entryway, they can be planted closely together to create a dense hedge, or pruned into attractive topiary shapes. As a broadleaf evergreen, boxwoods will keep their bright green color year-round. Although boxwoods plants will grow in bright sunlight, they prefer a partially shaded spot, where they will be sheltered from cold winter wind.

Step 1

Spread 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch such as bark chips or pine needles around the boxwood plant, extending the mulch as wide as the outer branches of the plant. Mulch will keep the soil cool, reduce weeds and conserve moisture. Maintain the mulch at the same depth and replace it as it decomposes.

Step 2

Water boxwood deeply once a week during dry periods for its first two growing seasons. After that time, water boxwood during no-rain periods in spring and summer.

Step 3

Fertilize boxwood in late February or early March, using a timed-release granular fertilizer applied according to the directions on package. Although a general purpose fertilizer is adequate, a fertilizer formulated for trees and shrubs is best.

Step 4

Trim boxwood once a year in early winter to improve air circulation. Using sharp pruners, reach inside the boxwood and prune about 6 inches off the end of a boxwood stem. Continue pruning until you've pruned about 10 percent of the boxwood branches. Pruning in this manner will allow sunlight and air into the center of the plant, but won't affect the overall shape of the boxwood.

Step 5

Brush heavy layers of snow off the top of the boxwood plant. Heavy snow can weigh down the branches and distort the shape of the boxwood.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic mulch
  • Timed-release granular fertilizer
  • Sharp pruners


  • NC State University: Growing Boxwoods in the Landscape
  • OregonLive.Com: How to Grow Boxwood
  • United States National Arboretum: Thin Boxwood for Improved Plant Health
Keywords: boxwood, boxwood plant, topiary

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.