Why Do Some Boxwood Bushes Smell

Boxwood bushes are common landscaping additions because of their low level of care requirements. On the other hand, they have the potential to emit an offensive odor, which causes people to search for shrubs in other places. There is no denying the potent scent that is emanating from some of the bushes, despite the fact that they look quite comparable to many other types of bushes.

Boxwood bushes give off a pungent odor because, when exposed to sunlight, the plants secrete oil. When the English boxwood is actively growing in the spring, an odor that is described as being similar to urine can sometimes be detected. Woodsy and comforting is how some individuals characterize the aroma. Green Beauty, Dee Runk, and other boxwoods don't smell.
In this post, I'll explain why some boxwoods have an odd odor, what you can do to get rid of the odors, and which boxwoods do not have odors that are objectionable.

Why Do Boxwoods Smell Bad?

Boxwoods may have an unpleasant odor for a variety of different reasons, such as poor soil conditions, an excessive amount of oil, nitrogen problems, and other related issues. If the boxwood bushes in your yard have a foul odor, you may be perplexed as to why they have always reacted in this manner, particularly in the spring. Boxwoods native to England have a reputation for having the most pungent odor, although the aroma is not universally reviled.

People frequently comment that English boxwoods have an odor similar to that of cat urine. On the other hand, a lot of proud boxwood owners say that they enjoy the smell of the resinous wood. When it comes to the smell of boxwoods, there is, it should go without saying, no room for compromise.

The following is a list of reasons why some boxwoods have a pungent odor:

  • When exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time, English boxwoods always emit a pungent odor. According to an article published in Country Living, the odor is caused by the oils that are released by boxwoods when the temperature is high enough. In places where the temperature is higher, you'll notice that they have a much stronger odor.

  • It's not the boxwoods that are to blame for the fungal odor coming from your backyard; the problem is with the soil. Boxwoods of an English variety are pungent, while those of many other varieties are relatively odorless. It's possible that the soil in the area is home to a large number of odor-causing organisms like mold, fungi, or bacteria.

  • Strong scents can be produced by the boxwood's tiny flowers. Since English boxwoods bloom in the spring, this is typically the time of year when they give off the most fragrant aroma. Check the bushes for any tiny blooms, and if you find any, give them a good sniff to see if that's where the odor is coming from.

  • It is possible that urine from a nearby animal was found on the boxwood bush. Animals are known to react to potent odors, which can be found in abundance in a yard that contains English boxwoods. Before assuming that the foul odors are coming from your boxwoods, you should first check to see if there are any insects or other vermin in the area.

  • A layer of compost that isn't done right can give your lawn an unpleasant odor. Bins used for composting require the right proportion of nitrogen to carbon. If you use an excessive amount of manure or food that has gone bad, the compost will have a putrid odor. Boxwoods have the ability to both take in and give off odors.

As can be seen, there are a lot of different reasons why boxwoods have a foul odor (or good, depending on how you look at it). It's a relief to know that not all boxwoods have the same aroma. Continue reading if you are interested in learning which species of boxwood are odorless.



Are There Any Boxwoods That Don’t Smell?

The boxwoods that don’t smell include the following:


  • Green Beauty

  • Justin Brouwers Boxwood

  • John Baldwin Boxwood

  • Dee Runk Boxwood

  • Fastigiata

  • Vardar Valley Boxwood

Garden Guides asserts that these boxwoods do not emit the pungent odors that are typical of the majority of English boxwoods. On the other hand, their routines of maintenance are comparable. It is essential to provide your boxwood bushes with extra attention throughout the winter months in order to avoid the risk of their freezing or developing yellow tips.

Expect to be unable to completely avoid the smell of the woods because the majority of hedges emit a variety of aromas. It is a routine step in the process of planting boxwood bushes and maintaining their health. In light of this, if you want to get better results from your English boxwoods, you should consider switching them to one of the variants that were discussed earlier.

Bear in mind that not all odors associated with boxwood are caused by the plant species itself. There are many factors that contribute to the odor that is produced by the bushes, some of which are the soil, the frequency with which they are watered, the sunlight, the nutrients, and the plants that are located nearby. It is important not to overlook these factors because they can determine the success or failure of your boxwood bushes.Continue reading for a few ideas on how to lessen the pungent odor that is produced by boxwood bushes if you are curious about this topic.


How to Make Boxwood Bushes Not Smell

To make boxwood bushes not smell, follow these steps:


  1. Plant any boxwood bush other than English boxwoods. They’re notorious for having a distinct smell that includes a urine-like odor. While some people think it smells more like a woodsy scent, there’s no denying the overpowering aroma coming from English boxwoods.

  2. Use mulch that doesn’t have too much manure. If your mulch smells like manure, there might be too much nitrogen, animal feces, or rotten food. The compost and fertilizer in the soil directly impact how your boxwoods (and other plants) smell.

  3. Plant fragrant flowers near your boxwoods. Try begonias and zinnias. You can also plant herbs around the boxwoods to create a better smell. Oregano, cilantro, and mint produce strong scents that often overshadow the unsettling boxwood bush’s smells.

  4. Keep the boxwoods near fruit trees. Citrus trees always smell quite strong, which is why they’re great when paired with boxwoods. Furthermore, the green backdrop looks beautiful and matches well with any fruit tree or vegetable in the garden.

  5. Remove fungus and diseased soil. Soil fungus often produces a musty odor that’s confused with a boxwood’s strong scent. The soil shouldn’t be too damp or it’ll get spongey and result in root rot. The diseased soil can affect the boxwood’s roots, growth, leaves, and odor.

If you’re interested in a way to get rid of the fungus or diseased soil, try Scotts DiseaseEx Fungicide. This formula targets over 20 different types of diseases and fungi in the dirt, preserving the plants in your garden. It doesn’t harm the boxwoods or change the way they smell, either.






Boxwoods have a distinct aroma, but that doesn't mean their presence has to be detrimental to the entire garden. It is absolutely worthwhile to plant them in your yard due to the fact that, in addition to their lovely appearance, they can serve as a shelter and a source of food for a wide variety of animals.

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