Planting a Shrub

Use these step-by-step instructions to easily plant an evergreen shrub.
Evergreen Shrubs Make Beautiful Container Plants

Evergreen Shrubs Make Beautiful Container Plants

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

From: DK Books - Containers for Patios

Evergreen shrubs, such as hebes, make beautiful container features. For the maximum impact, buy a plant with healthy leaves and an attractive shape, and avoid those with lots of roots poking through the bases of their pots.

Prep the Pot

First, check that the pot has drainage holes in the bottom, and drill a few if there are none. Place broken crocks, or pieces of polystyrene — old plant trays are ideal — on the bottom to aid drainage. Do not block the holes.

Cover Drainage Holes with Broken Pots

Cover Drainage Holes with Broken Pots

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Add Potting Mix

Start filling the pot with fresh loam-based potting mix (avoid any with peat). If the soil is lumpy, break it up. Stop filling when you can stand the plant in its container on the soil with a 2-in (5-cm) gap to the rim of the pot.

Add Loam-Based Potting Mix

Add Loam-Based Potting Mix

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Create a Hole

Place the shrub in its container in the center of the pot, and start filling around it, firming in the soil. The aim is to create a hole for the plant to slot into, in exactly the right place and at the right depth. If it's off-center, try again.

Transplanting Shrub Into Garden Container

Transplanting Shrub Into Garden Container

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Remove the Shrub

Gently lift the shrub in its container straight up and out of the pot, leaving the hole intact. If you haven't already done so, give the shrub a good drink and let the water drain away. This helps the plant get off to a good start.

Create a Hole for a Potted Shrub

Create a Hole for a Potted Shrub

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Tease the Plant's Roots

Carefully remove the shrub from its container, taking care not to damage its roots or break off any top-growth. Then tease out the roots at the edge of the root ball to encourage them to grow outward.

Loosen Roots Before Planting

Loosen Roots Before Planting

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plant the Shrub

Gently lower the shrub into the hole, and firm in the potting mix all around. Add a little more mix, if needed, to give a level surface, but make sure it is no higher up the stem than when the plant was in its original pot.

Plant a Shrub in New Container

Plant a Shrub in New Container

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Water Well

Water in the shrub to settle the soil and to remove any air pockets. One good method is to pour the water onto an old crock so that it flows evenly and doesn’t expose the roots. Repeat in each corner of the pot.

Use Broken Pottery to Diffuse Water

Use Broken Pottery to Diffuse Water

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Add Gravel or Pepples

As a final decorative touch, scatter gravel or small pebbles in a thin layer around the shrub. Available in various colors, they set off the plant and help to keep the potting mix moist by reducing evaporation.

Scatter Gravel or Pebbles Around Plants

Scatter Gravel or Pebbles Around Plants

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Next Up

Create a Year-Round Shrub Display

Containers aren't just for summer flowers; displays for fall and winter often last longer and help brighten up the cold, dark months when viewed from the warmth of your kitchen or living room.

How to Plant in Gardening Containers

To ensure that plants in gardening containers grow and perform as well as possible, you need to plant them properly.

How to Plant a Cactus Container Garden

Yee-haw! Turn a container into a desert landscape by filling it with prickly cacti and other succulent plants.

Planting Bulbs in Containers

Follow these easy steps for planting bulbs in containers and you'll have a display that brings spring to your doorstep.

Planting a Climber

Easily plant a climber in a container with these step-by-step instructions.

Repotting an Overgrown Shrub

All permanent shrubs need repotting into a bigger container. This gives the roots space to grow and an energizing "meal" of fresh potting mix.

Planting Bulbs in Pots

A planting of mixed spring bulbs will give quick, near-guaranteed results for kids and a colorful display that can be enjoyed by the rest of the family. 

Plant a Hanging Basket for Summer

Floating globes of flowers and foliage add a lush look to patios and balconies throughout the summer.

How to Sow and Plant Leafy Crops

Lush, leafy vegetables flourish in pots and their decorative colors and shapes add drama to both garden and plate.

How to Grow Bean Plants

Green ones, yellow ones, purple ones — who knew there was magic in a bucket of beans? Learn how to grow bean plants in your home garden with this step-by-step guide.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.