The Q&A Archives: Buxus microphylla

Question: We purchased several Monrovia Winter Gem Boxwood plants from a local nursery last spring and planted them on the west side of our yard. They seemed to do just fine all summer and fall and retained their green color. However, they turned bronze in the winter and changed to yellow this spring. The plants appear to be healthy and have even started a little bit of new growth since we fed them a couple of weeks ago. My concern is that the plants are not retaining their green foliage color in the winter as I wanted them to. Your Monrovia tag on the plants stated that they would

Answer: 'Winter Gem' boxwoods should retain their green color throughout the winter season. What you describe is unusual, but not unheard of. The bronze tint to the leaves sounds like either cold damage or a nutrient missing in the soil. Leaves that turn bronze with cold are generally those that have not had time to harden-off before a cold snap. It sometimes takes weeks and weeks for this type of damage to show up. The important thing to know is that all evergreens eventually lose their oldest leaves, which are replaced with healthy new foliage. Your boxwoods are no exception - after the leaves are shed they will be replaced. Now that your shrubs are developing new growth you can prune them back a bit to further encourage healthy new growth. Feed your shrubs this spring to ensure that the roots receive the nutrients they crave. Use an all-purpose liquid or time-release formulation(in amounts as recommended on the fertilizer package). I expect that your boxwoods will thrive this summer, prepare sufficiently for winter and sail through the cold months with green rather than bronzy or yellowing foliage.

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