Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) is a small perennial shrub with bright yellow flowers that works well in rock gardens. The flowers on the cinquefoil last from late spring to mid fall, and the shrub itself lasts for years without too much care. It is a good choice for gardeners in zones 3 through 8 who want a flowering ground cover or border for a shrub garden. It averages between 2 and 3 feet tall, is drought resistant and isn’t too picky about its soil.
Dig a hole about 6 inches in diameter and 6 inches deep. Using the soil you dug out, mix one part soil, one part compost and one part sand. This will make for a well-draining soil for your shrub. Place the mixture back into the hole and press down firmly.
Plant seeds about 1/2 inch under the soil. Just poke your finger into the soil to make a hole, place in the seed and cover lightly with soil. Plant seeds for additional shrubs 5 feet apart to leave room for mature shrub spread.
Apply a shrub fertilizer that is a little heavy on the phosphorus, which is the number in the middle. Follow directions on the fertilizer bag as to how much to use. Fertilizing will encourage root growth.
Water to keep the seed moist until it starts to sprout. Once the seedling appears, water for longer periods of time every few days to encourage the taproot to grow deep. Once the plant is established, water when the top few inches of soil is dry.
Fertilize with a general-purpose fertilizer once a year in the spring, and add a top dressing of compost. This will be enough to keep your shrub healthy and growing well.
Cut back the flowering stems in the fall to about half their length. This will encourage a bushier growth and lots of new blossoms the following spring.