A comprehensive guide on planting shrubs in your garden

A comprehensive guide on planting shrubs in your garden

Planting shrubs is an important aspect of landscaping. Shrubs not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your garden but also provide shade, privacy, and habitat for birds and other wildlife. Before you begin planting shrubs, it is essential to gather pertinent information about the shrubs you want to plant. This includes details about the ideal growing conditions, such as soil type, sunlight requirements, and hardiness zone.

Planting shrubs can be done in various ways, depending on the type and size of the shrub. Bare-root shrubs are commonly sold without any soil around their roots. They should be planted immediately after buying, as their roots can dry out quickly. Container-grown shrubs come with soil and can be planted throughout the growing season. Regardless of the type, the basic planting procedure remains the same.

First, choose a suitable location for planting the shrub. Consider factors such as sunlight, soil fertility, and drainage. Dig a hole that is slightly wider and shallower than the root ball of the shrub. Loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole to improve drainage. If the soil is heavy clay or sandy, consider amending it with organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, to improve its fertility and structure.

Remove the shrub from its container or carefully cut the wire or string that holds the root ball of a burlapped shrub. If the roots are circling around the container or the burlap, gently loosen them with your fingers. Place the shrub in the center of the hole and make sure it is level with the surrounding ground. Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently with your hands to eliminate any air pockets.

After planting, water the shrub thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots. Mulching around the shrub can help conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Apply a layer of mulch, such as woodchips or pine straw, about 2-4 inches thick, but avoid piling it against the stem or trunk of the shrub.

Regular watering is crucial for establishing newly planted shrubs. Water deeply and slowly, allowing the water to soak into the soil rather than running off. The frequency of watering will depend on the weather and soil conditions. In hot and dry weather, water the shrub more frequently to avoid drought stress.

In conclusion, planting shrubs requires careful preparation and attention to detail. By following the necessary steps, you can ensure the successful establishment and growth of your shrubs. Remember to do thorough research, choose the right shrub for your landscape, amend the soil if needed, and provide adequate support and care to your newly planted shrubs. With proper planting techniques and maintenance, your shrubs will thrive and beautify your outdoor space.

Planting Shrubs in Florida Landscapes

Planting shrubs in Florida landscapes requires careful preparation and consideration of the conditions unique to the region. By following a few key steps and taking into account the specific needs of the shrubs you are planting, you can help ensure their success in your garden.

Step 1: Site Preparation

  • Read up on the specific needs of the shrubs you plan to plant, as different varieties may have different requirements.
  • Take into account the fluctuations in weather and soil conditions that are common in Florida.
  • Prepare the planting area by removing weeds and other unwanted vegetation.
  • Loosen the soil to a depth of about 3 inches to allow for proper root growth.
  • Amend the soil with organic matter to improve drainage and fertility.

Step 2: Planting

  • Remove the shrubs from their containers or baskets, gently loosening the rootball if it’s tightly bound.
  • Place the shrubs in the planting hole, making sure that the top of the rootball is level with or slightly above the surrounding soil.
  • Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots to eliminate any air pockets.
  • Water the newly planted shrubs thoroughly, making sure the soil is evenly moist.

Step 3: Mulching and Watering

  • Mulch the planting area to help conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Mulch should be applied in a layer about 3 inches deep, leaving a small space around the stems of the shrubs to prevent rot.
  • Water the shrubs regularly, particularly during dry periods, to ensure they receive enough moisture. The frequency of watering will depend on the specific needs of the shrubs and the prevailing weather conditions.

Additional Considerations

  • For wind protection, you may choose to stake newly planted shrubs until they become established.
  • Providing supplemental shade during the first few weeks after planting can help mitigate the stress of the hot Florida sun.
  • Some shrubs may benefit from fertilization to promote their health and growth. Be sure to research the specific needs of the shrubs you’ve planted and use appropriate materials.
  • Be mindful of synthetic materials, such as plastic or burlapped root balls, which can become constrictive as the shrubs grow. These materials should be removed or cut away for optimal root expansion.

By following these guidelines and conducting thorough research, you can give your shrubs the best chance of thriving in your Florida landscape. Should you encounter any problems, be sure to seek out more information from relevant sources or consult with a gardening professional.


When it comes to planting shrubs, the season is an important factor to consider. Different species of shrubs thrive and grow better during specific times of the year. Before you begin the planting process, it’s pertinent to research and understand the best time to plant the particular shrub species you have.

Step 1: Determine the right time – Depending on the type of shrub, it may be best to plant during the spring or fall. These seasons provide the optimal conditions for the roots to grow and establish themselves in the natural soil.

Step 2: Assess the location – Choose a spot in your landscape that provides the necessary amount of sunlight, drainage, and soil type. Ensure that the location is away from any invasive shrubs or trees that may cause problems in the future.

Step 3: Prepare the soil – Before planting, amend the soil with organic matter to improve its fertility and drainage. Use a shovel to remove any weeds or rocks, and loosen the soil to make it easier for the roots to grow.

Step 4: Positioning the shrub – Remove the shrub from its pot or balled and burlapped root system, being careful not to damage the roots. Gently massage the roots if they are root-bound to encourage growth.

Step 5: Planting the shrub – Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball or container, making sure it is deep enough for the base of the shrub to sit slightly above ground level. Place the shrub in the hole and backfill with soil, gently firming it around the roots.

Step 6: Water and mulch – After planting, water the shrub thoroughly to help it settle, and apply a layer of mulch around the base to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Remember to regularly water the newly planted shrub and monitor its growth. If you encounter any problems, such as frozen soil or wind, use wire baskets or other supports to protect the shrub. Proper care and horticultural practices, including additional amendments, will help your shrubs thrive in their new environment. Before buying and planting shrubs, it’s always a good idea to do some research and visit local horticulture resources for more information.

By following these steps and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure the successful planting and growth of your shrubs in any season.


Choosing the right location for planting shrubs is crucial for their growth and survival. Here are some pertinent considerations when selecting a location:

1. Research the specific plant species. Before purchasing shrubs, gather information about their preferred planting conditions such as sunlight requirements, soil type, and hardiness zone.
2. Assess the site. Visit the planting site and evaluate its existing conditions. Take note of factors such as drainage, exposure to wind, proximity to other trees or structures, and existing weeds.
3. Prepare the planting area. Clear the area of weeds and any competing vegetation. Are there any drainage problems? If so, consider amending the soil for improved water drainage.
4. Dig the planting hole. Dig a hole that is about twice the width of the shrub’s rootball. The depth should be just enough to accommodate the rootball.
5. Refill the hole. Place the shrub in the hole, ensuring that the top of the rootball is level with or slightly above the surrounding ground. Refill the hole with a mix of native soil and organic material or potting soil.
6. Mulch the planting area. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the shrub, extending it out to cover an area at least 3-5 inches away from the stem. This will help conserve moisture and suppress weeds.
7. Water the shrub. After planting, give the shrub a thorough watering. Depending on the shrub’s water needs, continue to water regularly, especially during the first year.
8. Staking. If the shrub is tall, staking may be necessary to provide support until it becomes established. Use sturdy stakes and adjustable ties to secure the shrub without constricting its growth.
9. Additional care. Depending on the specific plant species, additional care may be needed. Consult horticulture literature or seek expert advice for specific guidance on pruning, fertilizing, and protecting the shrubs from pests or diseases.

By taking the time to properly research, select, and prepare the planting location, you can greatly increase your shrubs’ chances of thriving in your landscape. Remember to regularly monitor and care for your shrubs, providing them with the appropriate sunlight, water, and soil conditions they need to flourish.

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.