Planting Zone 5 Shrubs


Many shrubs will grow very well in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zone 5. A number of shrubs grow very well in Zone 5, including boxwood, golden currant, Korean rhododendron, sumac, witch hazel, and lilac. With proper planting and care, these and many other shrubs can thrive in Zone 5. Zone 5 experiences winter temperatures that vary between -10 degrees F and -20 degrees F. Zone 5 includes parts of Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri, among others.

Step 1

Remove your shrub from its nursery container and plant it in a hole slightly wider than the size of the root ball. Plant after the last expected hard frost. This date will vary, depending on your latitude. In more northern latitudes, the planting date will be later than more southern areas that are also Zone 5. Fill in the hole and water the shrub thoroughly. Keep your shrub watered throughout its first spring by checking the moisture levels and watering the shrub whenever the top 1/4 inch of soil feels dry.

Step 2

Mulch the shrub to prevent water loss and to protect the roots in case of an unexpected cold snap, which is any unexpected spring drop in temperature to below freezing that is long enough to freeze the soil.

Step 3

Cover your shrub with plastic if an unexpected hard freeze is forecast.

Step 4

Run an extension cord under the plastic and place a lamp with an incandescent fixture under the plastic if the freeze might be unusually cold.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not apply chemical fertilizer when planting. Chemical fertilizers can sometimes burn roots and damage newly planted shrubs. Use only natural, gentle fertilizers like compost and fish meal. Be cautious of planting shrubs too early in the season. Although a particular spring can be unseasonably warm, many places in Hardiness Zone 5 can experience late hard freezes.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Plastic (optional)
  • Incandescent fixture (optional)
  • Extension cord (optional)


  • HGTV: USDA Zone 5 Shrubs
  • North Carolina State University: Growing Boxwoods in the Landscape
  • Ohio State University: Growing Trees and Shrubs with All Season Interest
  • University of Nebraska: Shrubs and Smal Trees for Shade
  • Colorado State University: Native Shrubs for Colorado Landscapes
Keywords: zone 5 shrubs, shrub planting, zone 5 horticulture

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.