Shrubs are often the overlooked sidekick of the landscape.  Smaller than trees, lower profile than many showy perennials and annuals, shrubs aren’t stealing the spotlight. But they provide structure, all-season interest, privacy and a reliable and beautiful presence in your landscape with very little maintenance.

Shrubs, like trees are either deciduous (i.e. they go dormant and lose their leaves in winter) or evergreen (i.e. they don’t go dormant and do keep their foliage all winter). And there are varieties for every reason and personal preference.

So when is the right time to plant yours? Here’s what you need to know:


One of the most popular times to plant shrubs—or any plant really—is spring, when we’d do just about anything to put winter behind us and get a little green in our lives.

But most shrubs can be planted any time the soil is workable. That includes during the heat of summer, you’ll just want to be more diligent about watering. We personally love planting in fall because we get to enjoy the plants now, they get a head start before winter and will be ready to thrive come spring. Plus, it’s naturally cooler and wetter which makes it easier on us.


How to Choose

Start with a plan. Know where you want to plant your shrubs, if the ground is regularly wet in that area (some shrubs don’t like ‘wet feet,’ including rhododendrons and azaleas), how much space your shrubs will have to spread out and what their ultimate purpose is in your landscape (i.e. privacy, to fill in as a background border, flowers, fragrance or year-round interest, etc.).

You’ll always want to check the tag on your plant or talk to someone in the garden center to make sure you’re planting for the correct exposure (e.g. full sun or shade) and allowing enough space for the plant at its mature size.

We’ve broken down some of our favorite choices by popular request.


1.     Arborvitae

2.     California Privet

3.     Japanese Holly



4.     Wiegela

5.     Rose of Sharon

6.     Hydrangeas


7.     Roses

8.     Lilac

9.     Butterfly Bush

Winter Interest

10.  Red Twig Dogwood

11.  Winterberry

12.  Hybrid Witch Hazel



As mentioned, you can plant container and ball and burlap shrubs any time the soil is workable, but usually the earlier in fall the better to give your shrubs a chance to form a strong root system before the winter sets in.

Try to purchase them right before you’re going to plant them to reduce the chance of the roots drying or overheating, especially in summer.

Once you’ve chosen your shrubs and other plants, check our Plant Like a Pro Planting Guide a reference that will take you through planting, watering and fertilizing for best results.

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Watch for more blogs and resources on proper planting technique, water and fertilizing guidelines, pruning tips and so much more. Until then, you’ll find some great resources here. And feel free to reach out to us in store or by phone at (781) 545-1266. We live for this stuff!

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