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Is It Ever Too Late To Plant Boxwoods?

Is It Ever Too Late To Plant Boxwoods?

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Willie Moore
Latest posts by Willie Moore (see all)

Boxwoods are relatively easy to take care of, but they require specific planting instructions. The good news is that these plants can be planted throughout most of the year.

It’s never too late to plant boxwoods, though it’s much better to plant them during the spring and fall for better chances of growth. If you plant boxwoods during the winter or summer, you’ll have to deal with extreme temperatures and slower growth.

Throughout this post, we’ll break down the best time to plant your boxwoods, what happens when you plant them too late, and a few tips to plant your boxwoods at any time of the year. Enjoy!

What Is the Best Time To Plant Boxwoods?

The best time to plant boxwoods is right before summer or right before winter. Spring and fall offer excellent growing conditions for these plants.

The temperature is perfect, not to mention the optimal water levels in the soil. You can plant indoor or outdoor boxwoods during these months.

Boxwoods can’t be too cold or hot when they’re growing. The roots have a hard time settling and spreading throughout the soil if it’s too compact. You can use an aerator to ease the transplanting process if you propagate a boxwood.

Those living in moderate climates needn’t worry too much about extreme temperatures. Boxwoods can grow sufficiently as long as they have enough moisture, nutrients, and adequate soil pH.

If it doesn’t freeze or scorch where you live, you’ll have no problem growing boxwoods during most months of the year.

However, exposure to harsh weather conditions (snow, hail, and strong winds) can be severely damaging to the plants.

What Happens if You Plant a Boxwood Out of Season? 

If you plant a boxwood out of season, you’ll risk damaging the roots, preventing natural growth patterns, or limiting the amount of water that gets into the leaves.

Furthermore, extreme temperatures could damage the young plant and cause long-term discoloration, dryness, and more.

Here’s an in-depth explanation of each of these issues:

  • Root damage: Young plant roots are incredibly susceptible to damage from cold temperatures, especially during the winter months. Planting a boxwood in the middle of winter will make it very difficult for the plant to grow because the root tips will have a hard time absorbing enough moisture and other necessary nutrients.
  • Growth issues: If your boxwood’s roots can’t absorb anything, it won’t be able to grow properly. You’ll notice the plant doesn’t change for several months, much less grow in any direction. This can be quite an issue since boxwoods are supposed to grow a lot during the first couple of years.
  • Dry leaves: Not only are dry leaves from excessive heat or frost damage unsightly, but they can also crumble apart and ruin the connected stem. Keep fertilizers and other additives off of the leaves since they can be corrosive, especially during these extreme temperatures.
  • Discoloration: Planting a boxwood during the winter or summer can make the leaves look yellow, black, and brown. Black leaves are often caused by root rot, though high heat levels can burn the leaves to an irreparable discoloration. Prune these leaves and make way for new growth during the spring.

Planting a boxwood in extreme temperatures can make it difficult for the roots to settle. This means they won’t be able to absorb enough water, oxygen, or minerals. Once the roots settle, the boxwood will be able to withstand harsh weather conditions a bit better.

How To Plant Boxwoods Any Time of the Year 

To plant boxwoods any time of the year, follow these suggestions:

  • Use a burlap sheet around the base of the plant if it’s cold. Burlap sheets come in all shapes and sizes. They offer warmth without limiting hydration and oxygen going to the soil. Wrap them around the bottom of the plant (you’ll likely have to lay the sheet on the soil since boxwoods don’t have very much exposed space near the stem).
  • Test the water levels daily to ensure the young plant is thoroughly hydrated. You can use hydration meters or a finger depth test. Poke your finger four inches (101.6 mm) below the surface. If the soil feels dry and chalky, it’s time to water the plant. This often happens during the summer, but some gardeners forget this during the colder months.
  • Avoid planting boxwoods when it’s below freezing because it’ll shock the roots from growing. This is quite common when transplanting a boxwood from a container to the garden. Transplants work best when the soil isn’t too hot, dry, cold, or soaked.
  • Add high-quality topsoil, mulch, or compost to improve aeration, pH, and more. If you’re planting a boxwood in extreme temperatures, it’s important to ensure the soil is as healthy as possible. Boxwoods can’t absorb enough moisture if the soil is too acidic (below 6.5) or dry.
  • Keep your boxwoods out of direct sunlight if the temperature is in the triple digits. You can use sunshades or naturally filter the sunlight through other plants. Hanging tree limbs are often enough to protect a boxwood when planting it in the middle of the summer.

Boxwoods can technically be planted throughout the year, aside from extremely freezing climates. You can keep your boxwoods indoors if you’re set on growing them when it’s too cold outside.

Transplanting or propagating a boxwood will let you keep the host plant inside while you test the remaining cuttings and seeds outside.

Final Thoughts

The fact that boxwoods can be planted at any time of the year is one of many reasons they’re perfect for beginners and experts alike.

Always monitor the soil’s pH, temperature, and moisture levels if you intend to plant a boxwood in the middle of summer or winter.

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