Problems With Buxus Sempervirens

Updated March 23, 2017

Buxus sempervirens, which is commonly known as boxwood, is a leafy green plant that is often used in yard landscaping projects. Although the common boxwood is generally a hardy plant, a number of issues can arise due to pests or soil conditions. Often, buxus sempervirens will not begin to show symptoms of a serious problem until the situation has become advanced, and immediate action is sometimes necessary to save the plant.

Nutrient Deficiencies

A lack of certain nutrients in the soil will cause a variety of discolourations in common boxwood. White or orange on the tips of the leaves may be a symptom of a potassium deficiency, which can be remedied by using a plant fertiliser such as Vitax Q4HN. Leaves that begin taking on a bronze colour may be symptomatic of a potash deficiency, which is usually tied to excessively dry soil


Many different species of insects can cause adverse effects in buxus sempervirens and related species. Leafminers, psyllids and spider mites are all parasites that are known to feed on boxwoods; an application of granular or spray pesticides is the only treatment that can completely remove these pests. Root knot and lesion nematodes are among the most common parasites affecting boxwoods. Nematode infestations can be remedied by liming the soil and raising the soil’s pH to 7.

Soil Conditions

Boxwoods do need to be watered, especially if they are in direct sunlight, but too much water can cause root rot. The leaves of waterlogged boxwoods turn yellowish-brown and begin falling immediately. Drought conditions cause new leaves to turn blue, while more mature leaves begin turning yellow and orange.

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