How to plant a shrub

Shrubs are woody plants that should last many years in your garden - here's how to get them off to a good start.

Time required
30 minutes
Level of expertise needed
Beginner
How to plant a shrub

Equipment


  • Shrub in a pot
  • Spade
  • Fork
  • Cane
  • Watering can
  • A bucket of garden compost or soil conditioner
  • Mulch (organic matter like chipped bark)

Top tip!

Container-grown shrubs can be planted at any time of the year, but best between autumn and early spring when it’s not too hot. Water well at least twice a week for the first two years.

1
Step 1

Step 1

Give your shrub a good water, so the pot is completely soaked.

2
Step 2

Step 2

Dig a hole a little deeper than pot depth and three times as wide. Hard, compacted soil should be forked to loosen it to help the roots penetrate.

3
Step 3

Step 3

If the soil is very sandy or a heavy clay, mix in organic matter (garden compost or bags of soil conditioner) to help it hold water and drain better.

4
Step 4

Step 4

Tip the plant out of its pot. If the roots are very congested, tease out a few. This will help them explore and grow into the soil more quickly.

5
Step 5

Step 5

Place your shrub at the same level it was in its pot. Don’t bury the stems. To check this, place a cane or flat object across the hole to see where the soil level is.

6
Step 6

Step 6

Refill the hole by slicing in the soil around the soil’s edge and back fill with your dug out soil.

7
Step 7

Step 7

Use your heel to firm the soil around the shrub, but don’t press on the root ball itself. Then water well, creating a puddle before it drains away.

8
Step 8

Step 8

Add a 5-8cm (2-3in) layer of mulch, but leave a 10cm (4in) mulch-free collar around base of stems.