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Carmen’s Planting Guide for Shrub Success

Fall is the perfect time to get your shrubs in the ground to ensure brilliant blooms next spring! With colder weather coming, the ground temperature now is just right for getting the roots well established before the first frost, and happy roots are the #1 key to success.

Here’s what I’ve found to be the best way to plant shrubs, along with some of my all-time favorite varieties!

Boxwood Shrubs, Carmen Johnston Gardens, Thomaston GA

Shrub Planting Guide

First, pick a spot that has good drainage and adequate sunlight for the shrub you have chosen. If your soil is rocky or heavy clay, it will need to be amended in order to drain properly.

Once you’ve decided where to plant, dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as your container. Next, remove the shrub from its container and loosen the dirt around the root ball to give the roots a head start. Then place the shrub in the hole, adding enough dirt underneath so that the top of the root ball lines up with the top of the hole or slightly above. Rotate the plant so that the prettiest side is facing in the best direction. Lastly, backfill the hole until the root ball is completely covered. Almost done now except for watering.

Always water your shrub immediately after planting until the root ball is soaked. This first watering is vital for the plant to settle into its new home. Continue to check the soil and water as needed so that the plant does not dry out. As an added measure to help retain moisture, you can mulch the top of the shrub with leaves, bark or pine straw.

Finally, be patient with your new shrub! Although the first season may not bring lots of growth, by the second season, your efforts will be rewarded as your shrub takes to its new home.

Carmen’s Top Picks

My favorite shrubs for building definition in the garden are Wintergreen Boxwood and Needlepoint Holly. Both of these are beautiful as either pathway edging or barrier hedges. Wintergreen boxwood is a proven classic, and Needlepoint Holly is a foolproof evergreen that anyone can make thrive. I just love the red berries it throws during winter.

White Drift roses are another shrub that I adore. The blooms last from spring through fall and create lovely pieces to snip-n-clip for vases around the house. Another flowering shrub I love is the Shishi Gashira Camellia. This evergreen shrub adds hot pink color from late fall through early winter while the rest of the garden is off duty.

I hope you enjoyed these tips! Coming up next, my favorite Breck’s Gifts bulbs. 

Happy Gardening!