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Poorly box

I've got 7 box plants. 5 look like this and the other 2 are being eaten by caterpillars. Should I get rid?
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  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,657
    If it's box Caterpillar,  you may decide that getting rid is the best thing...
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=760
  • Do those white tips indicate a problem or a disease? Because that’s what mine look like. Haven’t seen any caterpillars 🐛 yet. 
    Surrey
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,639
    Pale tips on box plants indicate environmental stress, and couple that with the bronze colouring on the leaves, the shrubs are either in too much wet or more likely suffering from lack of water.

    If they are in pots, make sure the water gets right into the root area. In the ground, make sure the ground is well prepared when planted in. Sometimes, humid over crowded conditions around the base can also result in stress. 
  • Big Blue SkyBig Blue Sky Posts: 663
    edited November 2019
    Thank you very much for your response @Borderline
    Frankly it was quite an eye opening. I must admit I never even considered watering or feeding those poor little box plants. I kind of always thought they are so robust and pretty much just look after themselves. 
    They survived the scorching hot summer of 2018, this summer was easier. But it looks like they need some tlc every now and then (who doesn’t, right). They grow in full sun in extremely free draining poor soil. 
    Nothing I can do now this late in the year (or can I?), but will make sure they get some food and water the next growing season. 
    Surrey
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,405
    You can put a mulch round them after they get a good soaking @Big Blue Sky- some decent compost will do. They do like a moister soil generally, but with good drainage. Once established, they can cope with more fluctuation in conditions, but they don't really like poor, sandier soils. They will have suffered quite a bit from last year's conditions, and even plants which love sun and light soil need a lot of watering in those conditions while they establish.
    Stress due to lack of water is more common than stress due to overwatering. Airflow is important too, as @Borderline says. Pests and diseases on box love tightly packed plants.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • lovegardening77lovegardening77 Berkshire Posts: 331
    Thankyou for your advice, the soil is clay but I add grit and compost when I put the plants in. I'll give them a water and mulch and see if that helps.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,405
    Apologies @lovegardening77- my response was mainly to BBSky re his problem.

    Removing any diseased/damaged foliage will help, but you may not need to mulch  :)
    Watering may not be needed in your case either, especially at this time of year - I think if you have caterpillars, that may be the problem, but possibly stress from sun damage, and lack of water in hot spells too. It's difficult without seeing everything around them too.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Fairygirl said:
    You can put a mulch round them after they get a good soaking @Big Blue Sky- some decent compost will do. They do like a moister soil generally, but with good drainage. Once established, they can cope with more fluctuation in conditions, but they don't really like poor, sandier soils. They will have suffered quite a bit from last year's conditions, and even plants which love sun and light soil need a lot of watering in those conditions while they establish.
    Stress due to lack of water is more common than stress due to overwatering. Airflow is important too, as @Borderline says. Pests and diseases on box love tightly packed plants.
    Thank you for the advice @Fairygirl I will mulch them and make sure they get a regular drink what with being in full sun all day long. Luckily they have plenty of space between them, so at least they have a good airflow. I can’t believe I neglected them so badly, so will be looking after them from now on. 
    Surrey
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,639
    edited November 2019
    Box shrubs can be grown in clay soil that has been broken down and conditioned with plenty of compost. But they grow better if the original plant is small and no more than 30cm tall.

    Younger plants tend to settle quicker. Larger root-balls usually take a lot longer to settle into clay-base soils. If your original shrub was quite large when you planted it into the ground, you need to keep a close eye with watering in the first 2-3 years. The roots tend to take longer to adapt and grow into the new surrounding soil.
  • lovegardening77lovegardening77 Berkshire Posts: 331
    They came in a multipack all mini size, I've planted them in a North facing bed with a few perennial windfowers.  Maybe the yellow brown ones are thirsty, I don't tend to water the front garden much because of its situation but I suppose with the exceptional hot summer they still needed a drink.
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