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When is the Best Time to Plant Shrubs for Best Growth?

Written by William Golder

Fact checked by Dorian Goodwin

when is the best time to plant shrubs

Have you been wondering how to spice up your garden? Among the best topiaries to improve your home’s curb appeal, shrubs stand out because they can stay green year-round.

If you want them to grow well and flourish in the summer, the proper planting time plays a significant role.

Therefore, when is the best time to plant shrubs? Grow them from September to November in the fall or January to March in the spring.

Best Time to Grow Shrubs

1. Plant shrubs in the fall from September to November

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Just like planting trees in fall is ideal, the best time of year to plant shrubs is during this period – from September to November.

Fall planting is best because the climate has cooled down from the summer heat, but the soil is still warm enough to encourage root development. This will ensure that the shrubs can establish roots to survive the cold before harsh temperature drops.

However, the precise planting date will depend on where you live. The more specific rule is to sow shrubs six weeks before the first frost.

  • So if you live in NJ in the northeast part, you can plant as late as September 4 since their first frost usually starts on October 16.
  • But if you live in Ohio, you can plant them as early as August, around the 20th of the month to September 3. Their planting date is earlier than usual because their frost will start around October 1-15.

2. Plant shrubs in the spring from January to March.

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The best time to plant shrubs in spring is right after the last frost date. In other words, do so as soon as the ground has thawed. If you plant shrubs and trees too close to the summer, the greeneries won’t have enough time to establish their roots, making them more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Once spring comes, note the last frost date in your region. Most people’s spring planting time will fall around January to March. However, this may change depending on where you live.

  • For example, if you live in Southern Texas, you can plant them in spring around the first week of March and onwards since the last frost will end around January 1-February 28.
  • In places with infrequent or non-existent frost dates, such as Santa Monica or San Diego, start transplanting as early as January to give the shrubs plenty of time to grow.

If you’re in late spring, it’s better to wait until the fall. As it can take 5 months for shrubs to establish roots, late spring is not a good time to plant shrubs – it’s too close to the summer, whose heat can pose several threats to the greenery’s roots.

Alternatively, plant evergreen shrubs that can tolerate heat well, such as Gardenia. The cultivar can tolerate high heat—excellent for people in zone 7 upwards. Indian Hawthorn is another excellent option, being able to withstand up to 90°F.

How to Plant Shrubs

Step 1: Irrigate the shrubs before planting. For every inch of tree trunk’s caliper, give the plant 1 gallon of water.

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Step 2: Clean the planting site. This includes raking the leaves and removing all debris from the soil.

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Step 3: Dig the soil using a shovel, and use the pot of the shrub as a reference for making a hole. Ensure that it is two times wider than the pot, whereas its depth should be the same as the root ball.

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Step 4: Slightly tip the pot and take the shrub out of it.

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Step 5: Plant the shrub in the hole and examine the root ball inside. If you see compacted roots, spread them so that they will grow well.

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Step 6: Cover the root ball with soil and mulch to ensure that it helps the plant to stand well. However, don’t pile mulch around the stems – it may attract harmful insects.

Step 7: Water the shrubs, but not before sprinkling a few scoops of compost around the tree.

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Tips for Raising Healthy Bushes

  • Plant them in an area where they can get sufficient sunlight. Check your specific cultivars for more details. Shrubs like Viburnum require at least 6 hours of light, while Azaleas only need partial shade or less than 6 hours of sun exposure to bloom well.
  • Fill the ground with mulch or compost to help them keep the moisture longer.
  • Fertilize your new shrub in early spring – remember to use a formula low in nitrogen. If the temperature is not too hot or dry, a second application in the summer is possible.
  • Drench the ground with water to give sufficient moisture to the shrubs once winter comes.
  • Plant new shrubs in well-draining soil for the best growth possible. Apply some organic matter if it doesn’t have good drainage.
  • Give your plants enough distance from your home. Although you can plant shrubs and bushes in front of house, sowing them away from your place for about half their potential width will prevent damaging its foundations.

FAQS

Is it okay to plant shrubs now?

This depends on your region’s frost date. If the freezing period has recently ended in your area – meaning the summer is still far away – you can plant shrubs now. Similarly, if there are at least 6 weeks before the expected first frost, transplanting shrubs is possible.

Otherwise, it’s best to wait until a better time, when the soil and air temperatures are warm enough, and the threat of summer heat is not looming overhead.

What time of day is best to plant shrubs?

Shrubs are perennials that prefer to get planted with little exposure to the sun. So the best time of day to sow them in the ground is during the morning, just as the sun rises or during the sunset.

What is the fastest growing bush or shrub?

Weigela is one of the quick-growing shrubs you can plant because it can grow up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) in just two years. They are also not picky about the planting site since they can tolerate full and partial shade.

Cherry Laurel also develops fast, as they can grow tall of about 2 feet (0.6 meter) high just within a year. Not only that, but they produce attractive white blossoms, great as hedge designs.

Elderberry is also a nice choice if you want a mature shrub early. It bears blossoms by the last week of spring and produces berries in summer.

What is the best shrub to plant in the fall?

Kodiak Northern Bush Honeysuckle is one of the best shrubs to plant in fall. It is low-maintenance and has foliage with attractive bright colors.

Rose of Sharon is also the ideal variety to plant because, aside from its beautiful blooms, it has high resistance to adverse soil conditions.

Growing Spirea is also preferable because, after planting, it has a long blooming season afterward.

You can also plant Holly if you prefer to grow smaller varieties. And although it is low-maintenance, it grows well, making it ideal for landscape designs.

Conclusion

Shrubs continue to be popular in most countries because, aside from their use for landscape designs, most are low-maintenance and fast-growing.

Sow them before the first frost in the fall or after the chilly winters in the spring to have the best blooms. Also, keep your shrubs hydrated during the extreme heat and place them in well-draining soil.

I hope you learned a lot about when is the best time to plant shrubs to grow them at the proper planting time. And without risking them to frost or high temperatures of summer.

Read more about planting calendar for other plants:

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A Few Words From the Author

William-Golder

Hi, I am William – Floridayards’ digital content creator. My job is to find answers to all your concerns with thorough research and our team’s expert advice. I will also bring you honest reviews on the best products and equipment for raising your beautiful garden. Please look forward to our work!

William Golder