In exterior decoration, shrubs are the furniture. They anchor the décor and give meaning to your flower beds. They're like living architecture in your garden, which is exactly why they're used to create hedges.

Why planting shrubs

Not only are they attractive to the eyes, but they are also low-maintenance, so if you're looking for a way to create an intimate, attractive exterior space without investing much energy, shrubs are the way to go.

Their many functions:

  • Focal point of the garden;
  • Giving curb value to your buildings, structure and garden accessories;
  • Bordering mass plantings;
  • Creating a visual screen near a pool;
  • Delineating flower beds by giving them a brief visual transition;
  • Defining spaces and providing landmarks.

How to choose shrub

It's easy to find a reason to plant shrubs: masses of spring flowers, successive flowering, fruits that attract birds, autumn leaf colours, winter foliage... there’s such a large range of ornamental shrubs on the market that you could practically create a garden with only shrubs and trees. There as some key elements that you need to consider before.

  • Location where you will plant your shrub:
    • Sunny: 6 hours or more of sunlight per day;
    • Semi-shaded: approximately 3 hours of sunlight per day;
    • Shaded: almost total lack of direct sunlight.
  • Foliage, texture and colour for all season. There are a lot of foliage colour choices: deep crimson, silver-grey, silvery blue, greenish yellow to shiny golden yellow, mottled mixes of white, yellow and sometimes even pink.
  • Growth: height and width at maturity; restricted spaces. Use more compact varieties that require little or no pruning.
  • Blooming season: select successively flowering groups of shrubs and enjoy uninterrupted blooms from spring until the end of autumn.
  • Composition of your soil: chalky, sandy, acidic, etc.
  • Existing elements: other plants, fences, pool, electrical wires, etc.

The right way to plant shrubs

As most shrubs are sold in pots, they can be planted just as well in the spring as in the summer or fall. When planting, container plants are less susceptible to shock during transplanting, as their roots are not disturbed.

  1. Dig a hole 5 cm wider and deeper than the pot.
  2. Mix garden soil, bone meal and peat moss well with the existing soil and placed at the bottom of the hole.
  3. Add water.
  4. Place the shrub in the hole. Make sure the best side is facing where you want.
  5. Fill in the hole, packing down lightly.
  6. Water again.

Planting distance: Do not to plant shrubs too close together! Follow the growers recommended planting separation instructions.

Watering: Water regularly and thoroughly during the first few weeks after planting.

  • If you plant in the spring, water generously once a week.
  • If you plant in summer, water twice weekly.

Fertilizing:

  • May till the end of June: fertilize with 15-5-15 shrub and tree fertilizer.
  • August: fertilize with BOTANIX 4-8- 16 fall fertilizer. This will help to strengthen the stalks before winter arrives.

Find the perfect fertilizer

When do I prune my shrubs?

Trimming shrubs stimulates their flowering and controls their development. If you want to encourage flowering or reduce the size of an overgrown shrub, you must trim at the time that's most propitious for encouraging the next season's flowering.

End of May to mid-June, after flowering:

  • Spring-flowering shrubs, because this will give them enough time after flowering to form the floral buds for next spring. They flower on the previous year's wood.

October, or in April and May before the buds open:

  • Shrubs that flower in mid-summer or early autumn,
  • Decorative-foliage shrubs.
  • Shrubs that need severe cutting back.

To promote better growth, remove any damaged branches and dead wood as soon as you notice it.

Never remove more than 30% of old growth during any given year, as this will weaken your shrub.

See the various pruning cuts and techniques

Flowering patio, terraces and balconies or small gardens

Fortunately for those of us with terraces, patios and porches, shrubs grafted onto a standard are increasingly popular, inspiring more varieties and greater availability. These are grown in decorative pots. Their continuous summer flowering and Mediterranean or tropical provenance contributes to the vacation atmosphere.

It's more difficult to stagger flowering in a small garden since you can't have that many plants. So look for continuously flowering or prolonged flowering varieties.

Is autumn time for conserving or composting?

In a greenhouse or sunny window, tropical plant can thrive inside while continuing to flower. In Quebec, consider the Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, Mandevilla and Fuchsia can be kept indoors or dormant.