Boxwood shrubs are beloved workhorses of any garden, beloved for creating structure in perennial borders, foundation plantings and hedging. Their dense yet rounded form allows for easy sculpting into formal and informal shapes; used to delineate spaces, screen unwanted views or provide privacy; as well as more resistant varieties against boxwood blight – one of its primary challenges. While the classic American and English varieties remain the go-to plants in gardens across America and Britain.
Boxwood Blight (Dothiorella candollei), an epidemic fungus which preys upon weak shrubs, often increases in numbers during autumn when temperatures can become both warm and wet. Boxwood Blight can quickly defoliate landscaped areas – its spores spread by splashing rainwater onto soil or splashing rain onto plants nearby – quickly defoliating them all in their tracks and ruining appearances of landscaped environments.
Disease has been found across American and English cultivars, including our NewGen varieties. More resistant cultivars include Green Gem, New Generation Freedom, Greenspire and Golden Dream; all rated to hardiness Zone 4. Nonetheless, even these hardier cultivars may bronze under full sunlight exposure or be susceptible to ice damage; such discolored plants often recover by spring when warmer temperatures and sufficient moisture stimulate chlorophyll production.
Golden Dream is an exceptional variety with a compact, rounded habit and bright green leaves with golden variegation throughout. The evergreen keeps its color through winter and responds well to pruning; resisting boxwood leafminer and blight, it even tolerates deer browsing!
Boxwood plants may take more time to establish themselves than most other species, yet still do well in most climates and locations ranging from full sun to partial shade environments. Boxwoods thrive best when planted in rich soil that stays damp but is protected from drying winter winds; as with most organic fertilizers they benefit from regular feeding with an organic slow release fertilizer.
As with other perennial plants, boxwood requires annual mulch to protect its roots and keep the soil from drying out in summer months. A good layer of mulch also reduces water needs during drought conditions but supplemental irrigation may still be necessary in certain instances.
To keep your shrubs in optimal health, water deeply yet sparingly. Too much wetness may cause root rot while too little can encourage leaf scorch and premature shedding. Boxwoods are particularly sensitive to salt damage; for best results they should be placed away from driveways and sidewalks. If you need advice regarding soil type and site conditions for your plants, consult a landscape professional for guidance.