The 5 Best Fertilizers for Boxwood

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Not all fertilizers are created equal. The differences between the best ones out there and an average one are quite drastic. With the right nutrients, your boxwood will grow strong and healthy.

The ideal fertilizer for boxwood deliver just the right amount of nutrients with appropriate proportions of each nutrient and also contains high quality ingredients. Unfortunately, nowadays, the market is flooded with so many different brands that it can be challenging to find the best one. I’ve taken the time to narrow down the list for you. I’ve also included a secret weapon/product that you will see below to help ensure healthy growth and survival of your bush.

Comparing Our Top 3 Recommendations

At A Glance

These products use quality ingredients and are effective in promoting optimal growth. Please keep reading below to learn more about each one. 

Short Reviews

Miracle Gro Shake ‘N Feed Flowering Trees and Shrubs Plant Food

For healthy plants with deep, lush foliage, Miracle-Gro’s Shake ‘N Feed for Flowering Trees and Shrubs is an excellent option. This product is perfect for established plants but also gentle enough to help newly repotted or young plants develop new growth. The formula is crafted to not only deliver natural nutrients to the plant but also to encourage microbe growth within the soil. This helps plants develop resistance to diseases and drought and also creates stronger root systems for plants that are hardier overall.

Scotts Continuous Release Evergreen Flowering Tree and Shrub Fertilizer

Scotts Continuous Release Evergreen fertilizer is the perfect choice for your evergreen shrub. The formula is crafted so as to deliver specific nutrients while raising the acid level in the soil, which is great for boxwoods that prefer a low soil pH. The formula is also designed to be gentle so that it won’t burn plants’ delicate leaves. Gardeners will find that, after using it, their bushes will have healthier root systems, will be stronger overall, and will produce richly colored, full foliage.

Jobe’s Evergreen Spikes

Jobe’s Evergreen Spikes are made with a pre-measured dose of nutrients specifically designed to help evergreens grow stronger and healthier. These spikes are much less mess than other fertilizers. In addition, the nutrients won’t runoff and away from the plant during watering or rain. Jobe’s Evergreen Spikes feature a slow-release formula, so plants are fed for an entire season. The formula also contains a special microorganism that helps to break down organic material, ensuring that the nutrients is released directly into the soil near the plant’s roots.

Miracle-Gro Tree & Shrub Plant Food Spikes

Made to ensure healthy growth in shrubs, Miracle-Gro Tree & Shrub Plant Food Spikescontain natural, essential ingredients plants need in order to thrive. The premeasured spikes are simple to insert, and gardeners won’t need to worry about feeding their plants the correct amount. In addition, the spikes help to deliver nutrients directly to plant roots. Gardeners who use these plant food spikes will find that their boxwoods are full, rich in color, and have strong root systems.

Bonide Wilt Stop Plant Protector

Note, this is NOT a fertilizer. Rather it is an anti-dessicant or anti-transpirant. Protecting plants during harsh weather is often just as crucial as giving them appropriate nutrients them during the growing season, and Bonide Wilt Stop Plant Protector is designed to do just that.

When it is sprayed on a boxwood, the anti-transpirant coats the leaves in a flexible film. This film helps to prevent the dehydration that many plants face due to fluctuating cold temperatures and winter winds. This particular anti-transpirant lasts all season and can protect plants not only from harsh winter weather but also salt burns, sun, and shock. Please read more about anti-transpirants in the short guide below. I highly recommend buying and applying it.

A boxwood is in a black pot on a cobblestone road next to a store.

Growing Guide

Boxwoods are beautiful evergreens that help provide a color to an otherwise barren lawn or garden during the winter and provide structure in the spring and summer. They vary in size, shape, and growth rates, so it is important to find a variety that will fit your needs for your garden and also for the grow conditions in which you are raising it.

Ideal N-P-K Ratio

Fertilizers ideally should have an N-P-K ratio of roughly 10-6-4 and preferably also have slow-release nitrogen to allow for continuous delivery of nutrients over time. The high nitrogen content help these evergreen bushes maintain their green leaves. Magnesium supplementation or having magnesium in the plant food that you choose is also helpful as it is important to raising a healthy boxwood. If the product you choose lacks magnesium, you can buy sitz bath salts (MgSO4) and mix with water as a simple and cheap way to deliver magnesium.

When you fertilize, you’ll want to spread the nutrients a few feet out from your bush because the roots tend to reach out this far. Make sure you follow the product instructions in regards to when and how to apply the nutrients. Generally, you’ll want to fertilize in spring or late fall.

A bunch of healthy looking boxwood that have been given the proper fertilization and water with the sun setting in the background
Healthy boxwood

Do Not Over Fertilize

Make sure that you do not give your plant more nutrients than necessary as this can potentially lead to more damage than not giving your bush any at all. If you see the edges of your shrub’s foliage turning brown this likely means that the leaves are developing leaf burn, which is a symbol of over fertilization.

Winter Care

Evergreens will usually survive winters without any major issues. However, in harsh winters, they may discolor, but its color should return in the spring. In very extreme temperature, you can consider throwing burlap over it; this will protect it from harsh wind, but will still allow some airflow. Make to water in late fall or early November, as the soil can get quite dry during this time. I also highly recommend getting an anti-transpirant such as Bonide Wilt Stop Plant Protector that is displayed above to help ensure that your boxwood survives the winter. An anti-transpirant prevents water loss from the leaves, which helps the plant survive in the winter when it cannot take up enough water to replace that lost in the leaves. Make sure to apply the anti-transpirant in late-Fall or early-Winter when temperatures begin to drop. If you apply it too early, higher level of water will be retained in the foliage, which can result in cellular damage. 

Prune Dead Branches

Dead leaves and stem often accumulate in the center of your bush. Make sure to prune back any dead branches and also try to remove any dead branches from the center of the plant as leaving them there can lead to diseases. Thinning out not only the dead branches, but also some of the outside growth, also help more airflow and light to reach the center which will help your boxwood continue to growth healthily.  

Bottom Line

Again, I recommend buying the Miracle-Gro Shake N’ Feed. Don’t make the mistake of buy any average fertilizer at your local gardening store. Many of them will simply not produce the same results. You cannot go wrong with any of the products above. 

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Happy Planting!

About the author: Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at TheGreenPinky. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.

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