Why has my Box, Boxwood or Buxus plant turned orange?

Whether you see it as bronze, bronzed, copper, rust or orange or call it Buxus, Boxwood or Box, you’ll probably want to know why your plant turned orange!  It’s a common sight, especially during winter and when grown in pots and planters.


For the purposes of this article I’ll refer to the plant as Box, but it’s Latin name is Buxus and in America it’s often referred to as Boxwood.


The discolouration of the Box plant means that leaves can often be seen turning an orange, bronze or rust colour and it’s normally due to environmental stress.  Usually most apparent in winter and normally due to the fact that the Box plants dried out in the previous summer.

Box plants often turn orange when containerised ie. when the Box plants are grown in pots and planters (it’s pretty common to see orange Box plants placed in pots and located at either side of a front door).

Box enjoys a moist but well drained soil and Box requires plenty of water in dry spells (but must not get waterlogged in winter).


Feeding will help and I would suggest scraping back some of the compost surrounding the base of the plant in spring and adding a handful of Vitax Q4 slow release fertiliser, followed by topping back up with fresh compost (John Innes number 3 is best).  This process is known as top dressing and is best done in spring.

Weekly feeding throughout the summer months to ‘green up’ the orange coloured Box plants can be done with a liquid Miracle Grow (or similar) will also enhance the dark green colour associated with box. Do not use tomato food as this is designed for flowers and fruit production.   The best way to keep your Box plants from turning orange is to spray 5 times per year with a product called TopBuxus Health-Mix.  This will not only feed, but will keep box blight to a minimum.





Our top tips for beautiful Buxus

  • Don’t over water in winter
  • Water regularly when dry
  • Feed in spring with granular fertiliser or spray monthly between April and August with TopBuxus Health-Mix
  • Cut in late May or early June to maintain shape
  • Trim only on a dry day to help prevent Box Blight
  • Don’t plant in heavy clay soils
  • If plants have become over grown or become infested with blight, they can be cut back to 30cm in late may and should rejuvenate well
  • Always sterilise your clippers to prevent the spread of box blight

TopBuxus Health-Mix is available on line and from Amazon

This article was created in February 2017 and updated February 2024