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How to Plant a Dwarf Burning Bush

grass seed image by Alison Bowden from

Dwarf burning bush is aptly named because of the fire-red leaves that appear on its branches in fall. The dwarf burning bush can reach a height of 8 to 10 feet, but many gardeners prefer to prune it to a smaller height of around 5 or 6 feet. This bush is resistant to deer and insects, so it makes an excellent choice for a privacy hedge or woodland border. These plants are also easily grown in containers, so you may enjoy growing them even if you are an apartment dweller.

Make sure you are in the correct hardiness zone for growing this species. A dwarf burning bush grows well in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8. This covers the area from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Austin, Texas, from north to south. From west to east, the area ranges from Missouri and Oklahoma to New Jersey. Dwarf burning bush will grow well in most of the Pacific Northwest but will not do well in desert areas of California and Arizona. Still, portions of southern Colorado and eastern Oklahoma are suitable for growing this shrub.

Choose an area with well-drained or sandy soil in full sunlight for planting your dwarf burning bush. Choose an area that has sunlight most of the afternoon if an area in full sunlight is not available. Plant the dwarf burning bush in late spring, after the danger of frost has passed.

shovel in truck image by Andrew Orlemann from

Dig a hole in the soil that is about 18 inches deep and 8 to 10 inches wide. Dig holes 6 to 8 feet apart if you are planting several bushes. Place the dwarf burning bush into the center of the hole. Add two or three handfuls of potting soil to the hole, and press lightly around the roots to stabilize the seedling. Add dirt loosely until the hole is filled in about half way.

Fertilize the shrub with a tree and shrub fertilizer. Use a small amount of fertilizer, usually 1/2 cup or less per bush. Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly around the base of the plant. Rake it into the soil with a small hand rake to evenly distribute the fertilizer.

Fill the hole up to ground level with dirt. Add more potting soil to the dirt if needed. Tamp the soil in firmly around the base of the plant to stabilize it in the ground. Cover the plant's roots completely, but do not bury the plant base.

water or garden hose image by Katrina Miller from

Water the bush at the roots with a garden hose until the ground around it is wet but not soaked. Use small amounts of water at a time to prevent overwatering. Feel the ground to make sure it is only slightly wet before adding more water.

Water your dwarf burning bush once a week for the first two to three months. After that time, you can water as needed. Fertilize the bush once every three months with tree and shrub fertilizer. Prune branches after the first year of growth.


This plant will grow in partial sun or partial shade, but it produces the brightest colored leaves in full sun.

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