12 Causes About White Spots & Tips on Boxwood Leaves

If you see white spots or white tips on your boxwood leaves, it must be affected by one of these problems- winter burn, excessive pruning, the effect of boxwood mites or other insects and diseases, root rot, over-fertilization and plantation problems. 

Boxwood is a commonly grown plant in the tropical region. Though it is a hardy plant, you have to maintain some specific factors properly to save them from getting any stress. 

While maintaining my boxwood plant, I found some issues which create white spots and white tips in my plant directly or indirectly. Here I will describe those problems and their solutions which may match your problem.

Here is a short table presented to focus on the causes with their solutions.

Winter burnKeep your plant in a warm place.
Stem injury Maintain the injury with tilt 250 EC
Use of salt waterCheck the water quality of the plant.
Root rot Stop overwatering your plant
Inappropriate soilUse sandy loam and nutrient-enriched soil
Excessive pruning Remove the unwanted parts of the plant
Underwatering  Water your plant when the soil is dry
Too much mulchingUse water hyacinth in the summer season
Planting in deep soil Plant around ½ inch of the soil
Pests Use insecticides or homemade recipes 
DiseasesUse bactericides or homemade recipes 

Why Are the Boxwood Plants Having White Spots and White Tips On Leaves

Fixing White Spots On Boxwood Leaves

1. Winter burn

I want to start the list of causes with winter burn as this is one of the most prominent causes which initiates severe whitening problems. During winter, maintaining a boxwood plant is too tough in those areas which almost get covered with snow due to the temperature reduction. 

If the temperature is drastically reduced, the internal cell fluids may get crystallized. A temperature below 60°F may be hazardous for this plant. In this situation, the water cannot properly reach the leaves and the tip of the plant. 

Again, too low temperature creates winter burn and the leaves become discolored. Thus, white tips and spots are created on the boxwood leaves.

Control measure 

Keep your boxwood plant in a warm place during frost when the outside temperature is too low. Keeping them inside the house may be the best solution. But if you can’t do so, at least try to maintain a polythene shade so that the drops cannot stick to the tips of the boxwood leaves.

2. Underwatering

Next, the problem I am going to describe is underwatering. This term is found mainly in temperate regions where the temperature remains high. Boxwood plants is a low maintenance plant that requires moderate to high temperatures. 

When the outside temperature is too high, it starts to transpire more water. Consequently, pressure is created in the root zone. Then, the root system cannot supply enough water to the tips of the leaves. As a result, they get yellow and finally become white expressing their stress.

Control measure

The optimum temperature range for boxwood plants is 60-80°F. They can grow and develop properly with vigorous growth between this range. So water the plant properly when the soil gets dry.

Again, if the outside temperature is excessive, you can increase the humidity with a humidifier. Or, you can use mulches like water hyacinth to retain the moisture of the soil.

3. Stem injury

Stem injury is a problem where the stems of the boxwood plant get unwantedly affected by any means. It can be done by human beings or other animals. At the same time, due to the attack of pests, the tender stems can be affected badly as they are comparatively soft.

If the stem is affected by anything, the injured vascular bundles cannot continue the flow of water and nutrients in a general way. As a result, due to the inappropriate water conductivity, the whole plant becomes stressed and starts to expose white spots on the leaves. 

Control measure

If the stems are wounded by any means, cover that place first with polythene or other sheets so that microorganisms cannot enter that place which may cause diseases. Then, water your plant properly as it needs and supply all the important elements needed for it. 

4. Root rot

The next cause of the white tips of boxwood plants is root rot. The root system normally damages due to overwatering. In case of much watering, plant roots cannot survive in excessive moisture. Different types of fungi start to grow there and attack the root.

Again, the amount of soil air reduces in this case. As a result, the respiratory system of the plant gets slower which causes an imbalanced situation in the plant. Thus, the white spots are initiated.

Control measure

Don’t water much of your plant. Boxwood is a moist-lover plant but make sure that water is not clogged there. You can check the humidity with a humidity meter. The most important thing is the drainage system. Make sure that the drainage quality is better in the root system.

5. Use of saltwater

Saltwater is one of the main problems of a boxwood plant. Plants cannot uptake salty water which is indicated by physiological drought. 

If you apply such water to your plant, it will be stored in the root zone but won’t apply to the plant. That’s why the plant starts to show white tips and white spots on the leaves. 

Control measure

While watering, you should check the water quality that you are providing to your plant. A normal and disease-free water stream is best for a boxwood plant. But try to avoid distilled water as it doesn’t contain any types of minerals.

6. Inappropriate soil

A soil mixture should be perfect for planting a boxwood plant. The root system as well as the whole plant depends on the soil primarily for its growth and development. 

If the soil doesn’t possess enough nutrient materials, the plant won’t get favorable conditions for survival. Consequently, the plant may not complete its physics processes properly and may die after a certain time.

Control measure

Boxwood loves to grow in acidic soil. You can prepare the soil mixture by mixing perlite, coco-peat and sphagnum moss with the sandy loam soil. Hence, the soil mixture will be perfect for the plant. Again, the drainage system should also be properly maintained in the soil.

7. Excessive pruning

Pruning means the removal of excessive foliage parts of a plant. There is a certain range of pruning for every plant. If you cross that limit, it may be hazardous for your plant. 

In case of removing the maximum nodes, the plant may not get favorable conditions for further growth. In that situation, pruning badly affects the plant. For this reason, leaf yellowing may be seen which finally ends in the white tips of the leaves.

Control measure

The pruning quality should be improved by skills. Early spring is supposed to be the best season for pruning. After winter, the leaves which are burnt due to frost or the white leaves should be removed from the plant for further enlargement of the plant.

8. Over-fertilization

Too much fertilizer also creates defects in the plants. It causes the white spots and white tips of the leaves as the extra or unwanted fertilizers cause the leaf to burn and finally end up making severe damage to the plant. 

Especially, the presence of excessive nitrogen facilitates the disease attack and further initiates the way of white leaf tips and white spots on the leaves.

Control measure

Boxwood is a low-maintenance plant that can take the maximum amount of its required nutrients from the soil in its stand. So you don’t need to provide many fertilizers on it. For better growth of the plant, you can apply liquid fertilizer to your plant in the early spring. 

9. Too much mulching

Mulching means the method of placing some substances like polythene, water hyacinth, coal etc. in the pot covering the soil of the plant to retain moisture in the plant soil. But the factor is, in winter, due to the low temperature, mulching is not needed at a great range. 

If you use too many mulches in the soil in the winter period, the aeration system is hindered. On the other hand, evaporation can’t occur from the soil. As a result, the root may rot due to excessive moisture which initiates a fungal attack.

Control measure

Don’t use mulches in the winter period. Use mulches only in the summer when the temperature is too high and you need to conserve moisture in your soil. Better to use water hyacinth but that should spread in such a way that it only covers the soil without creating any mulch layer.

10. Planting in deep soil

Next, I will show you another problem that is not properly taken with consciousness. Many gardeners especially those who are new, don’t follow the rule of planting depth properly. As a result, the seedlings get obstacles in conducting their body materials which are expressed through white tips.

Control measure

Create a half layer of soil mixture, keep your plant and then keep the rest of the half soil on it. But don’t use too large a pot for planting a small plant which may cause a deep soil problem. If you want to plant in your garden, just make a whole of ½ ft to 1 ft and then plant your soil according to the plant size.

11. Pests

Some common pests found in boxwood plants are-

  • Boxwood mite (Eurytetranychusboxi)
  • Spider mite 
  • Boxwood leafminer

Among them, boxwood mite is the main cause of creating white tips and white spots on the leaves.

Control measure

To control the pest attack of your plant, you can apply the way of hand picking. If the population of the pests is small in number, you can easily pluck them by hand.

But if the number is more, you will need to use insecticides or homemade recipes. If chemical pesticides are available in your hand, you can use them. If you want an organic solution before using chemicals, you can apply the following homemade solutions. (Our pick: Monterey LG 6145 70% Neem Oil Ready-To-Spray Insecticide, Miticide, & Fungicide)

  • Recipe-1: Neem oil 

You have to mix 1 teaspoon of neem oil, ½ teaspoon of aloe vera powder, 1 teaspoon of liquid soap and a few drops of water in 1 gallon of water. Mix them properly and use them for your plant.

  • Recipe-2: Baking soda solution 

Use 4 teaspoons of baking soda in 1 gallon of water and properly mix them and spray them while watering.

Apart from these chemicals, you can apply a high force of water stream to your plant which will remove the small insects.

12. Diseases

Diseases are caused due to the wounds created by pests. The main diseases found in this plant are-

  • Boxwood blight 
  • Phytophthora root and crown rot
  • Volutella stem canker

Among them, boxwood blight is the most devastating disease of a boxwood plant. 

Control measure

If you want to sort out the problems of disease attacks on your plant, the first thing that you can do is remove the affected plant parts. Then, you have to use chemicals or homemade things according to your convenience. 

I have mentioned the use of homemade recipes in the pest attack section. If you are confused about the usage of chemicals, then don’t worry. The way of using those bactericides or fungicides remains labeled in the bottles of the chemicals. 

Caring Guides of Boxwood Plant

Boxwood Plants Care

SoilSandy loam and well-drained soil
ClimateLoves to remain in warm weather
WateringWater should be provided when the soil is dry
Temperature 60-80°F
SunlightBright sunlight

Final Thoughts

So, let me end the discussion here. Boxwood plant has beautiful green foliage. But if you can’t take proper care of your boxwood plant,  the green foliage structure will be damaged by having white color.

To solve the problem of white tips and white spots, you can take the help of the suggested ways that I explained here. Match the problem with the symptoms and go through the suggestions if you find that convenient and helpful for you. Thus, you can get a boxwood plant free of its white tips and white spots.

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of plantandpest.com, a passionate gardener with valuable experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. The website has a large community of followers who trust his tips and techniques and have succeeded with his advice. He is always Committed to helping others create a beautiful and healthy garden.

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