Shrubs: Be sure to properly plan first, then plant

Published Oct 7, 2018 at 9:00am

A shrub is planted once and will last a lifetime in that one place. If carefully planted and given reasonable care, your shrub will give pleasure to several generations, since some shrubs have been noted to survive for hundreds of years.

Careful planting is the key. Think about your location and do some research on how tall the shrub will be at maturity.

Also consider how it grows – will the branches of a spreading shrub interfere with a walkway? Will the location blend with your landscape?

Shrubs are very easy to grow. Most shrubs do not require constant care; then need little if any fertilizer; no pruning and little or no pest control. Thus your upkeep is minimal compared to other plants. But the rewards are great. They can produce flowers by the bushel.

Visit your garden center now, because fall is the best time to plant flowering shrubs, and many nurseries conduct sales this time of year. If you do planting now, your shrub will have a head start in establishing roots before the ground freezes.

Depending on the shrub, you may enjoy some blooms as early as next spring. Ask at your nursery about the size at maturity and the time of blooming if you have not decided on the shrubs you want to enhance your garden.

As you walk around your neighborhood, observe the growing patterns and ask about the shrubs you see in your neighbor’s yards. If they grow in your neighbors’ yards, they should perform in yours.

With hundreds of flowering shrubs to choose from, the list is too long for this column. However, at this time of year, two shrubs you probably observe everywhere in our area are the Hibiscus, (Shrub althea), commonly known as rose of Sharon, and hydrangea paniculata.

Rose of Sharon is a delightful narrow-growing shrub with almost vertical branches. In August and September when color is waning in gardens, lovely flowers cover the shrub completely. The most common color is violet.

The flowers produce seed pods that cling to the branches until spring. You may harvest the seeds and plant them but it’s easier to let nature do it for you. Also, pruning destroys the shape of the shrub, so it’s better not to.

There are many species of hydrangea, producing blooms of different sizes at varying time. The conical flowers on hydrangeas we see now start out green and gradually become white and will stay that color.

They are very popular in dried flower arrangements and wreaths. If not picked, the flowers turn brown and stay on the bush all winter. Hydrangeas grow in bush form, but the most striking ones are those trained to become majestic trees – a most beautiful sight to see. Visit our website at or call 315-736-3394, our horticulture hotline is available Wednesdays and Fridays, between the hours of 9 noon.