Boxwoods are low maintenance and low fertilizing plants but to keep them lush green and healthy with boosted growth, the critical point is choosing the best fertilizer for boxwoods.
The Recommended NPK ratio for fertilizing boxwoods is 10-6-4 according to most gardeners.
To relieve you from gambling into the huge market of fertilizers in search of boxwood plant food, I build this comprehensive guide on fertilizers for boxwood.
In this guide, all the knowledge related to fertilizers i.e choosing, application, rate, and watering of plants are described well.
The best part of this guide is that all the products added are well researched and reviewed by industry experts.
Let’s get started with the most used products for Boxwoods you can go with either of them for the best results.
Only that fertilizer is considered to be best for boxwood that delivers all the essential nutrients as it uses the high-quality ingredients in the right proportion.
Boxwoods need fertilizers when plants show symptoms of deficiency in the plant. To overcome this deficiency a vest type of fertilizers are present for boxwoods.
Many slow-releasing balanced fertilizers are considered to be best for boxwood as the granular form of urea is best in the yellowing leaves.
Many other forms of fertilizers like aged manure, cottonseed meal are also helpful for enhancing growth.
The main thing to consider while buying the fertilizer for boxwood is to make sure the presence of magnesium in the formulation because it enhances the color of foliage.
If you are getting desired results after fertilization, then the best way to find the problem is to do soil testing. Soil pH testing will clear the intensity of the present nutrients in the soil.
The soil testing will give two possible results that may be low or high pH of soil. Both these conditions of soil can be reclaimed as:
- If you find a low pH of soil then add some amount of dolomitic lime. One type of application of lime will work for years so it does not need reapplication each year.
- If the soil testing gives a high pH of the soil, add a little amount of iron sulfate to minimize the pH.
The best fertilizer for Boxwood Reviews
1. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Flowering Trees and Shrubs Plant Food
Miracle-Gro shakes n feed is a complete food supplement for trees and shrubs to keep them lush green and deep-colored foliage.
It consists of natural ingredients to feed soil microbes that help the better soil buildup.
It is a miracle formula for feeding new or young plants during their new growth.
The great thing about using this food for boxwood shrubs is the development of resistance to diseases and drought in plants.
The improved formulation of this food enhances stronger roots growth.
Beneficial for Microbes: Miracle grows formulation consists of natural ingredients like earthworm residues, bone meal, feather mash, and garden insect remainings. This natural formulation helps in feeding microbes. There are microbes always present in the soil but due to less availability of food and water, they can not break organic matter for benefit of the plant. Miracle grows natural formulation feed these microbes to break organic matter into the food of plant.
Experience on my Plants: I am using this fertilizer for the last three years, first they had a plastic top on the pack with fewer instructions packs. The best thing about trusted brands is that they follow user requirements and make changes from time to time. Now MG removed this plastic top, and a clear instructions pack comes in the pack.
Most of the owners make a mistake about the quantity of feeding. I am using a full cup for my palm tree and almost half for boxwoods. Still, my recommendation is to follow instructions on the backside of the packet and feed according to your plant size.
In the picture, you can clearly see the fertilizer formulation structure of fertilizer. If you mash them with your hand, clearly can see earthworm castings and bone meal. On the Left side results of 12 days on my boxwood plant.
- Contains NPK proportion 18-6-12 that is similar to boxwood requirements
- Feeds the soil microbes to enhance fertility
- Feed all type of trees and shrubs
- Maintains the lush green foliage
- Feed the plant for 3 months with a single application
2. Scotts Continuous Release Evergreen Flowering Tree and Shrub Fertilizer
Continuous release food supplement by Scotts is a perfect choice for fertilizing the boxwoods.
It is formulated in such a way to lower the soil pH while delivering the nutrients to the plant body. Boxwood prefers to grow in acidic soil.
The major impact of using this food appears in the form of a healthy root system and a stronger root network that ultimately leads to richly colored foliage.
It does not cause any harm to the delicate leaves as burning leaves.
Best for: This Scotts product is best for all shrubs like boxwood, dogwood, and most evergreen plants. I compared this product with the above MG fertilizer but MG is a little better because I can use it on my other plants too. If you are looking for pure boxwood fertilizer then Scotts fertilizer is the best in results.
Easy Application: This Scott product comes in granules. You just need to read the description or instructions from the backside of the fertilizer packet. I apply this fertilizer once in 8 weeks for a whole year. Quantity and time depend on the size and requirement of plants.
- NPK ratio is 11-7-7
- Excellent food for hydrangeas, magnolias, boxwood and other acid-loving shrubs
- Encourage the root growth
- Perfect food for azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias
- Simple to use – apply directly to the soil
- Not cause burning of leaves
3. Miracle-Gro Tree & Shrub Plant Food Spikes
The slow-releasing formula of Miracle-Gro comes in the form of food spikes. These spikes keep the plants healthy and thrive by continuously releasing the nutrients with time for months.
It delivers the nutrients directly at the root zone so there’s no chance of nutrient-bound problems in the form of unavailability.
The great thing about this food is the easy application as it does not use any specific instrument of digging as it is simply inserted in the ground and it starts feeding.
Its application on boxwood results in the form of rich-colored foliage and a better root system.
Best for Color and Lush Growth: In the offseason, our boxwood plants turn yellow or keep drying, here is the best time to feed Miracle Grown. The natural ingredients of MG promote the lush growth of plants. Formulation enhances color in leaves.
Easy to Apply: If you have boxwood between rocks or stones then pick them out from the surroundings. These spikes can break into hard surfaces. Spikes have a cap on top that can be driven with any tool. Make sure you remove the cap a drive well in the ground. Keep recommended space between plants.
Caution: Some owners claim about the burning of plants, am sure they never followed instructions given. If you have large plants then feed in drip line.40 to 60 Spikes per year was never an issue for my boxwood plants.
- NPK proportion in this food is 15-5-10
- Promotes the lush foliage with deep colors
- Feeds the plants for the whole growing season
- Formulated with natural ingredients
- Best for acid-loving plants
- Releases the nutrients directly at the root zone
4. Jobe’s 01660 1610 0 Tree Fertilizer Spikes 16-4-4
Jobe’s spike food is a pre-measured food supplement for acid-loving plants such as boxwoods to keep them thriving and healthy.
It is less messy work to apply these spike foods to the plants as it does not need any technical work.
It releases the nutrients over time for months with a single application so it has very low chances of loss of nutrients.
The shiny feature of this spike food is the presence of microorganisms in the formulation that helps the breakdown of organic matter in the soil.
Case Study: My neighbor has a case study about this fertilizer. I was using famous brand spikes with great results. My neighbor recommended this product with an excellent case study. He left 5 boxwood and dogwood plants without fertilizer this spring. The rest of the 5 plants were fed with these job spikes and after 3 weeks, the results were brilliant in application pots. I will use this case study in comparison with other brands for notable results.
Application: These Spikes are the same as MG spikes. You can drive into the soil with any gardening tool. I prefer to dig a spike size hole in the soil. Spikes are perfect as there is no fear of runoff and pets safety.
- NPK proportion is 16-4-4
- Nourishes the plant roots
- Best food for all acid-loving plants
- Easy to use
- No chances of nutrients loss by leaching or runoff
- Release nutrients at the root zone during active growth
5. Bayer Advanced 701910 12 Months Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed Granules
Bayer advanced has a great name in producing pesticides and fungicides. In the same way, this plant food by Bayer is both plant food as well a protectant for plant form infestations.
It is a granular food formula for feeding acid-loving plants, trees, and many shrubs like boxwoods.
But additionally, Bayer advanced added the pesticides embedded in the granules that keep the plant protected from the ash borers, leaf miners, and many webworms.
It is applied like other granular fertilizers by simply spreading on the surface of the soil and watering the plants.
Insect Killer and Fertilizer Combination: I do not prefer a combination of fertilizer and insect killer because there are some gaps when maintaining the quality of one product. But this Bio-Advanced product is excellent as an insect killer and fertilizer application. I used many granular insect killers and Bio advanced insect killer is the best one among all. They claim to be best for all kinds of shrubs.
One Application of this product will keep away insect and fungal infestations on plants. There are v rare attacks of diseases on boxwoods but sometimes insects attack.
Last summer combination of scale insects and fungus made an infestation. I used this product by replacing Miracle grown for 3 months.
Systemic: Most plant lovers have concerned about systemic products that burn plants. Yes, this product is efficient only in an adequate amount. There are clear instructions about the supply of products. advanced fertilizer works systemically and is slowly released for the whole season.
- Prevents the infestation of pests for the 12 months
- Kills the adelgids, Japanese beetles, and leaf miners
- Works as the rainproof protection
- Works great for potted plants too
6. Fertilome 10864 Tree and Shrub Food, 19-8-10
Tree and shrubs food by Fertilome is a complete blend for fertilizing them in such a way to ensure the presence of nutrients at their root zone for a long time to keep them thriving.
The great thing about this plant food is its penetrating nature as it moves the food directly to the feeder roots while applied near the drip line.
It is great for feeding the shrubs and trees and many shade-loving plants.
It is applied twice a year to keep plants healthy and nourished at varying rates according to the age of the plant.
For shrubs, it is applied ½ cup per sq. yard of soil.
Expensive but works: This product is my general fertilizer in this list. I use this fertilizer on my all plants and trees. If you have a bunch of shrubs and other ornamental trees then prefer this product.
- Specially formulated for trees and shrubs like boxwoods
- Easily penetrates the soil
- Ensures the availability of nutrients at the root zone
- Does not need to dig holes
- Works great on trees and evergreen, tropical and flowering trees like magnolias
7. Bonide (BND102) – Wilt Stop Anti-transpirant Plant Protector Concentrate (32 oz.)
It is not a fertilizer product, rather it is an antitranspirant. It is added to the list because it is a much-needed thing for protecting the plants during the harsh conditions of winter.
It is a crucial product for boxwoods to protect them from dying in dry conditions during the onset of winter.
It is sprayed on the entire plant in such a way that no space is left where it leaves a flexible film. That film does the actual work by preventing water loss from the plant body.
One-time spraying of this anti transpirant protects the plant for the whole season from dry conditions, sun, shock, and salt burns.
Wilt Stop: Summer makes boxwood brownish and dry. Bonide is always innovative in finding solutions for dry plants. This product has a unique mechanism. It will make a small coating on leaves to prevent drying.
Directly it is not a fertilizer but it works better in the summer season. Like in most cases fertilizers do not provide water retention ability. Bonide will work here to keep plants wet and lush green.
- Helps in maintaining the moisture in plant foliage during dry conditions
- Protects the plant from drought, windburn, and winter kill
- Can be used in all types of plants
- Lasts for the entire season by a single application
- Can be applied by simple mixing in water and spray on plants with the help of an electric sprayer.
Tips on Boxwood Fertilizing
These are some useful tips for fertilizing the boxwood:
- Get the granular fertilizer for the boxwood and spread it over the soil near the drip line.
- Late fall is the best season for better plant foods.
- Surface application is best for boxwood as it minimizes the risk of roots burning.
- Overfertilization causes damage to roots and ultimately the plant dies.
- The safer method of fertilizing the boxwood plant is by adding the food over several inches of mulch after good irrigation.
How to Apply Fertilizer to Boxwood
The most typical thing after buying any fertilizer is to apply it the right way otherwise it will be a waste of money.
While doing fertilization of boxwoods try these simple tips:
- If you feel that boxwood needs fertilization, add the solution of granules around the base of the plant beyond the drip line.
- Nitrogen fertilizer with a similar ratio of 10-6-4 is applied at a rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet.
- Do the uniform application of fertilizer and avoid the direct contact of roots.
- Follow the direction provided on the package.
- In case you have a drip system for plants then place the plant food near the drip line, as the roots grow in this region.
- An additional tip is to follow the “less is best” at the start and if it works then increase the amount.
When to Fertilize Boxwood
Boxwoods utilize the food at full potential during its peak growth time in spring.
The best time to fertilize these bushes is spring to enhance the green growth and other times is late fall which will help the roots promote over the winter season.
The worst time of fertilizing the boxwoods is the peak summertime, late summer, and winter. Because fertilization during late summer forces the plant to promote new leaf growth just before the dormancy in the winter cold.
Over Fertilizing Boxwoods
Damage to the boxwood occurs more by overfertilization than no fertilizer. It causes root system damage and the death of plants.
Try to avoid the direct contact of roots with granules of food.
The turning of green foliage into brown color is the major sign of over-fertilization.
Overfertilization can be controlled by broadcasting the particles while the soil or mulch is damp.
Never try to do deep root fertilization because boxwood is a shallow-rooted plant.
Watering of Boxwood Shrubs
Fertilizing the plants without watering is like wasting money with both hands. Watering is more important for plants than fertilization.
In the younger stage of growth of boxwood, it requires some quantity of water to keep the soil moist for a healthy root system.
But the mature plant has a tolerance to drought and it is a low water consuming plant so avoid overwatering.
Overwatering of boxwood will lead to root rot and harmful plant diseases.
Winter Care of boxwood
Boxwoods bushes have the resistance to bear the harsh weather conditions during winter but to some extent.
During the winter season as the plants come out of the fall, the soil may get dry at late fall time.
At this time care of boxwood becomes necessary to keep them lush green and survive the harsh conditions.
To overcome the dry weather conditions, two steps can be taken:
Throwing the burlap over the boxwood bushes protects the plants from harsh and extreme temperatures.
Application of any anti transpirant over the leaves of bushes will give control of moisture loss to a great extent.
Anti transpirant prevents water loss from the leaf’s surface in dry conditions.
The only care of an anti transpirant application is the time of applying it. The best time is late fall or early winter. In case you applied it early in the fall it will retain more water in leaves ultimately damaging cellular functions.
Pruning of boxwood
Growing boxwoods and maintaining their food and watering is not enough. After maintaining the proper growth the main thing that comes is the shaping of this bushy plant by pruning.
Pruning is done to shape the plant in the desired way and remove dead stems and leaves.
While pruning the plant, make sure to remove all the dead branches from the plant otherwise it will cause the disease onset.
Thinning of plants makes room for easy airflow and light reaching to the inner branches so they thrive too.
Is Miracle-Gro good for boxwoods?
Applying the Miracle-Gro food to the boxwoods results in the form of rich-colored lush foliage and a stronger root network.
Is Epsom salt good for boxwoods?
Epsom salt has 13% sulfur and 10% magnesium in it. Both these minerals help to boost the foliage growth and enhance the color of foliage. Watering the boxwoods just after the Epsom salt application gives better results.
Why are the leaves on my boxwood turning yellow?
If the boxwood leaves start turning yellow suddenly it is a sign of two problems, firstly it may be nitrogen deficiency or phytophthora root rot.
This infestation of root rot can be cured by using any pesticides like Bayer advanced protect and feed granules.
What kind of fertilizer do you use on boxwoods?
But boxwood is not an acid-loving plant rather it is an evergreen plant so it can be fed by an all-purpose food like Miracle-Gro shake and feed.
How do you rejuvenate boxwoods?
These are some steps to rejuvenate boxwoods;
- Prune the main trunk in such a way that cuts down all the branches in length by keeping just 3 feet.
- Clean all the older branches from the inner side of the trunk to give more space for entry of air and light.
- After pruning fertilize the boxwood to boost their growth and initiation of new shoots growth.
- Water the boxwood plants after fertilization in such a way that soil moistened to an 8-inch depth.
- Spread the mulch layer on the soil surface near the base of boxwoods. It helps conserve moisture for more time and feeds the plant on decomposition.
I hope you enjoyed the knowledge shared in the guide. All of the information present in the guide is gathered from my personal experience of growing boxwood in my own yard. In these past years, I found that fertilizers and pruning are the two important necessities of boxwoods to keep them lush green and well-shaped. So, I built this guide to ease you in choosing the best fertilizer for boxwoods.