How to Plant a Flowering Bush


There are many reasons to plant flowering bushes in your home landscape. Flowering bushes can provide not only beautiful blooms, but colorful foliage, food for hungry birds and shelter for wildlife--usually with a minimum of care. A flowering bush can take center stage in the landscape, or it can be a background planting, a windbreak or hedge. If you plant carefully, your flowering bush will last for many years.

Step 1

Determine the best planting site for your particular flowering shrub. Most flowering shrubs require full sunlight; but some, such as flowering dogwood, do better in partial shade. Nearly all flowering shrubs need well-drained soil, and won't do well in soggy, damp soil. For specifics, read the tag that came with your flowering shrub, or ask at a reputable greenhouse or nursery.

Step 2

Dig a shallow hole for the flowering bush. The hole should be only as deep as the shrub's root system, but three times as wide.

Step 3

Remove the flowering shrub carefully from its container. If the shrub's root ball is burlapped, remove any wires and strings, and fold the top of the burlap down by at least one-third so it won't poke out of the soil after the shrub is planted. If the root ball is wrapped in synthetic burlap, it must be completely removed, because it will not decompose as the shrub grows.

Step 4

Set the flowering bush in the hole. Make sure that the top of the root ball is about 1 inch higher than the soil; if necessary, add a bit of soil to bring the bush to the proper level.

Step 5

Fill the hole about three-quarters full with reserved soil. Tamp the soil down around the roots as you go, but be careful not to break the roots or tamp the soil so hard that it is compacted.

Step 6

Fill the hole with water, and allow the water to seep down. This is a good time to be sure that the shrub is straight, while it can still be adjusted. Finish filling the hole with reserved soil, but don't tamp the soil down at this point.

Step 7

Create a basin for watering the shrub by making a 2- to 3-inch ridge of soil around the shrub, 2 to 3 feet from the trunk. Fill the basin with 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch such as pine needles, straw or bark chips, then fill the basin with water. Keep the basin in place for the shrub's first year, but be sure the mulch doesn't pile up against the trunk.

Step 8

Water and fertilize the shrub according to the requirements of your particular flowering shrub. Although requirements vary, most shrubs should be kept moist for the first two years, and after that time, normal rainfall is enough.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic mulch
  • Fertilizer (optional)


  • University of Florida: How to Plant a Shrub
  • Purdue University: Planting & Transplanting Landscape Trees and Shrubs
  • The Most Popular Flowering Shrubs
Keywords: flowering bush, flowering shrub, organic mulch

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.