Need Height? Texture? A Problem Solver? Plant Shrubs and Vines Now, Like Honeysuckle and Clematis.

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Difficulty: Beginner

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Blooming shrubs and vines pack a powerful punch in your garden. Some shrubs, like daphnes and lilacs, fill the air with sweet perfume. Others, like hydrangeas, forsythia, Rose of Sharon, and viburnums, have showy, eye-catching flowers. Vines like mandevilla and dipladenia grow tall with gorgeous blooms all summer. Honeysuckle and clematis vines are fragrant and magnets for butterflies.

You can plant container shrubs and vines almost anytime, as long as the ground isn’t frozen or wet. To see if your soil is dry enough to work, squeeze a handful and let it drop to the ground. If the clump shatters, the soil is safe to work. If you haven’t tested your soil recently, conduct a simple soil test to check pH levels or nutrient deficiencies and amend your soil as needed. (See more on soil tests.)

Before you go shopping, watch to see if your garden spot gets sun or shade, is dry or wet. It is important to select the right blooming shrub or vine for your growing conditions.

How to Plant a Shrub:

  1. Remove weeds, rocks, twigs and grass from your planting spot.
  2. Dig a hole twice as wide as and a bit deeper than the shrub’s container.
  3. Mix some compost into the soil.
  4. Follow the directions on your soil test and add amendments if needed.
  5. Fill the hole with water, and let it soak in.
  6. Take the shrub out of its pot and gently loosen the roots. Set the shrub into the hole no deeper than it was already growing.
  7. Replace the soil and firm it down.
  8. Water the shrub.
  9. Apply 2-3” of mulch. Keep it away from the stems, where pests and diseases hide.

How to Plant a Vine:

  1. Choose a location that has a natural trellis, near a fence or post, or look for an arbor or trellis. Vines naturally grow vertically and need a structure for support, resulting in more blooms.
  2. Remove weeds, rocks, twigs and grass from your planting spot.
  3. Dig a hole twice as wide as and a bit deeper than the plant’s container.
  4. Mix some compost into the garden bed and amendments if needed. (See more on soil tests.) If planting in a container, use a potting soil mixture with moisture control.
  5. Fill the hole in your garden bed with water and let it soak in.  Fill your container with potting soil.
  6. Take the vine out of its pot and gently loosen the roots.  Set the vine into the garden bed hole or container no deeper than it was already growing.
  7. Replace the soil and firm it down.
  8. Water the plant.
  9. Apply 2-3” of mulch for garden bed vines. Keep the mulch away from the stems where pests and diseases hide.

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