Flowering shrubs are among the easiest plants to grow. While they may take three or four years to become established, they require little water and fertilizer, have few pests and bloom predictably for many years. Visit local nurseries and botanical gardens to see varieties that grow well in your area. While growing a unique flowering shrub may seem interesting, the ones you see most often in your area are the ones that will grow most successfully with the least amount of care. According to the University of Missouri Extension Office, forsytha, persian lilac, mockorange, dwarf flowering almond, hydrangea and fragrant honeysuckle grow consistently well throughout Missouri.
Buy 1-year-old plants from a reputable nursery. Choose shrubs that have healthy, strong wood and green leaves. Avoid plants that look wilted or are root bound. Choose shrubs that grow well in your intended garden site and make sure you have enough room for them when full grown.
Plant flowering shrubs in early spring when the ground is workable, but new growth hasn't yet appeared on trees. In southern Missouri, this may be as early as February or March. In northwest Missouri, plant shrubs in late-March or April.
Dig a hole for your shrub as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Remove the shrub from its pot and place it in the hole. Mix 3 shovelfuls of compost with the soil. Most Missouri gardeners have nice, loamy soil, but adding compost improves texture and drainage. Backfill the hole with the amended soil, patting down with your hand to remove any air pockets.
Water the flowering shrub until evenly moist, but not soggy, after planting. Thereafter, water the shrub weekly during the first year. After the first year, most shrubs only need watering during drought. Hydangeas, however, are an exception. Water them weekly except during very wet weather.
Apply a balanced 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer to the shrubs according to package directions each spring when new growth emerges.