When to Plant Boxwoods? – Boxwoods Planting Tips

Written by

William Golder


Dorian Goodwin

when to plant boxwoods

Have you ever seen shrubs shaped like a ball or pyramid, sometimes even formed like animals? I doubt you haven’t seen one because these are common in many places!

Boxwood plants are popular in numerous countries because of their perfect uses for topiary and hedge designs in landscapes.

With that in mind, if you plan to sow them, knowing when to plant boxwoods is the first thing to discover because, like most plants, they are also sensitive to extreme temperatures.

In short, grow boxwoods in either spring or fall, in a moderate acidic to neutral soil for optimum growth and risk reduction.


Best Time to Plant Boxwoods


1. Sow boxwoods in fall.

The best time of year to plant boxwoods is in the fall, from September to October for those who live in the northern hemisphere. For gardeners living in southern locations, September is optimal.

The primary purpose of planting boxwoods during this period is to give the plants and their roots time to establish themselves before the long, harsh winter.

IIf you plant boxwood shrubs while winter is at its peak, they might die, especially if the boxwoods are transplants, because they won’t have had enough time to settle into the soil.

However, sowing them in late winter is tolerable, provided that the ground is no longer soggy and the freezing phase is over.

2. Plant boxwood plants in spring.

The next best time to plant hedges with boxwoods is spring to help them grow well and prepare to survive the scorching heat of summer.

For those who live in the southern hemisphere, start them from March to April in spring.

Most boxwoods that are planted in the summer perish because the hot weather makes them struggle in holding moisture and the season is unsuitable for healthy growth.

Even with spring planting, one great practice to protect boxwoods from high heat is to hydrate them often.

3. Grow boxwoods in slightly acidic or neutral soil.

The ideal time to sow your boxwood plant is when the soil is in its preferred condition. Specifically, this hedge shrub tolerates a soil pH of 6.5-7.00.

However, if you have highly acidic or alkaline ground, you might need to alter your soil a little to make it suitable for your plants.

One technique to determine the current condition of the ground is to use a soil-testing kit.

Applying lime will increase alkalinity if the soil is excessively acidic, whereas sulfur, lemon, and composts will help boost acidity.

How to Plant?


1. Planting Boxwood in Containers

  • Use a pot with proper drainage holes and size.

When you plant boxwood in containers, it is essential that the pot is big, so the roots will have enough space to grow.

It is also necessary that it has drainage holes so it can release water well.

Using terracotta pots instead of plastic ones is preferable because they are more efficient in draining water.

  • Fill the container with soil.

A soil with peat moss and perlite is preferable for boxwoods. Fill the pot with this mixture with ½ inch of space left at the top.

  • Place the root ball in the pot.

With utmost care, loosen the soil using a trowel and remove the plant from its container by pulling its stem.

As you place the root ball inside the new pot, ensure it stands firmly and in the middle of the pot.

Also, keep the soil from brushing the leaves because it can encourage rotting.

  • Irrigate after planting.

Irrigate the soil to keep it moist with lukewarm water. Do not wet the stem and upper part of the plant.

2. Planting Boxwood in the Ground

  • Sow the boxwoods at a 2 feet distance from each other.

If you want to grow small boxwoods, space the plants at least 2 inches apart, but if you are sowing the large variety, leave a gap of 4 inches between the seeds or shoots.

  • Dig a hole in the ground.

The general rule for digging a hole is to make it the same depth as the length of the root ball and a bit wider than it.

Use the boxwood’s current container as the reference (if you have one) and make a hole accordingly.

  • Remove the plant from its pot and examine its root ball.

Loosen the soil and gently pull the boxwood out. Once you have removed it, examine the root to see if it’s wrapped around the ball.

An untwisted root ball is essential for absorbing nutrients and water. Therefore, if the roots are jumbled, pull them apart.

  • Plant the root ball inside the hole and irrigate properly.

After placing the plant in the middle of the hole, fill it with soil while leaving the ⅛-inch topmost part of the root ball uncovered.

After planting, irrigate the soil well without allowing the stem and leaves to get wet.



How early can I plant boxwoods?

Although the preferred planting time for boxwoods is spring or fall, you can still sow them early without waiting for these seasons to come.

Just like what I’ve mentioned earlier, you can grow boxwoods as early as after the frozen ground has become mild, which occurs in late winter.

Where is the best place to plant boxwood?

Boxwood thrives in well-draining soil because it keeps the plant from having root rot. This shrub also prefers a north-facing location with less sunlight.

However, if you intend to place boxwood in other areas, consider planting Japanese boxwood, since it is heat tolerant.

This tip is especially useful if you live in zone 6 to 11, where the climate is warmer.

Also, if you want to grow boxwoods in front of house, refrain from doing so because it can affect their growth, and they might damage the house structure.

Do boxwoods like sun or shade?

Boxwoods can do well in full sun in the morning and partial shade in the afternoon. Thus, sowing them in places where they can get shade for half of the day is best.

However, growing them as hedge plants might require you to choose types of boxwood shrubs that can thrive well in full sun.

Japanese and Wintergreen boxwood are excellent in this case.


Who would have thought that despite the expensive look of boxwood shrubs, they are easy to plant and don’t have complicated requirements?

We only need a suitable period of spring or fall and ideal soil conditions before sowing them.

Therefore, the only thing you need to do is to prepare your planting site and boxwood seedlings and wait for the sowing time.

I hope you learned a lot about when to plant boxwoods and soon establish a lovely decorative shrub!

Read more about the planting time of other plants such as cherry trees, buckwheat, flowers and etc.

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