How to Revive a Buxus Plant

Buxus hedge plants are ideal for many gardeners due to their tolerance, durability, and ability to trim frequently to your desired shape. However, if not watered frequently or left unattended,  Buxus plants can begin to die or become inundated with disease. 

Whether you can revive your dying boxwood shrub highly depends on the reason it is dying. We detail how to revive a Buxus plant that’s in need of some TLC. Diagnosing the problem as soon as possible maximises the chances of survival for your Box plant.

There are a number of things you can do to revive a dying Boxwood shrub

  • Are the planting conditions right for Boxwood?
  • Regular pruning after cold winters
  • Check your branches are aired
  • Look out for diseases and pests and treat them

Are the Planting conditions right for Boxwood?

Your Buxus plant may be dying because it’s not planted in the right location. For instance, Box hedges require partial shade and protection from high winds (they do not fare well in full sun or windy conditions).

When conditions are extremely dry during a hot summer, for example, it is easy for Buxus to become deprived of water. Your hedge should be watered regularly so the soil is moist. Depending on the weather, if you soak the soil every 2 days the soil should remain wet and promote growth.

Mulch may also be beneficial for promoting growth by providing much-needed nutrients and keeping water in the soil.

We’d also recommend that you clear the Buxus area of fallen leaves and other plant debris, as these conditions can promote the growth of fungus and diseases, which are very common in Buxus hedging plants.

Regular Pruning after Cold Winters

If your Buxus plant turns brown in winter, this is typical of this species. After growing in the summer, their growth rate decreases in winter months drastically. 

Buxus plants can become damaged over the winter particularly when it freezes, as the plants lose moisture and the new growth achieved that year may die. This may cause extreme cracking of the stems and branches, which can look unpleasant when spring arrives.

Prune these cracked and brown branches ready for fresh, new growth in the spring. Healthy wood and green stems allow the Buxus to begin reviving.  

However, there are times where the whole plant may be brown and cracked. In an attempt to revive the Boxwood shrub, you can cut the whole plant back to the stem. Although you may lose the plant, trimming back the dead plant gives an opportunity for new growth.

 Check your Branches are Aired

Pruning the centre of your plant is also extremely important. The interior of the plant can become an ideal location for fungi and disease to take hold. The Boxwood canopy inside becomes humid due to the high number of branches inside the plant. Therefore, we’d recommend you trim the interior of the branches in early spring to ensure a successful year of growth.

This lets the air reach the interior of the plant and can help revive Buxus plants if they’re dying.

Look Out for Diseases and Pests and Treat Them

Diseases are extremely common in Box plants and can ultimately cause the plant to die or become extremely stressed, which can cause it to lose its colour. Fungi such as Volutella can cause the plant’s leaves to turn orange and begin to decay.

Blight is also an extremely common disease that can infect the plant as well as Box rust, Macrophoma leaf spot and Phytophthora root rot. Pests include Box caterpillar, Box sucker, red spider mites and leaf-mining gall midge all cause stress to the plants and can contribute to their decline.

Clean pruning tools and a mild bleach solution will help prevent the spread of disease across your garden, also, avoid over-watering as diseases thrive in humid conditions. Ensure you do your research before treatment to avoid damaging surrounding plants or worsening the condition.

You can view our pages on how to deal with Box blight and treatment for Box caterpillar here.

Box hedging can be extremely susceptible to disease and pests, but also can brown throughout winter and weaken significantly in poor planting conditions. It is important to find the cause of the plant decaying before you start treatment. Once the cause is identified, you can begin strengthening the plant so it can grow successfully in the summer season.

Hopes Grove Nurseries sell box hedging from our Nursery in Kent delivered across the UK. If you’re interested in our plants, buy online today or don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.