Can I plant shrubs in January?

Shrubs in winter

Shrubs in winter

I bought a bunch of shrubs in pots at a winter discount sale. I live in zone 8a.

Comments for Can I plant shrubs in January?

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Good Choice!
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

Most shrubs that are hardy to your zone will like being planted this early. If you don't have frost in the ground, then the soil won't be frozen and you can plant them. Even if there's snow, it will protect the roots.

Most garden centers will only sell you shrubs that are dormant and ready to plant. If the plants are showing signs of growth (ie: you've made the mistake of keeping them in a warm place) DON'T plant them. This will kill them.

The usual instructions apply; dig a dollar hole for a 25 cent plant, meaning, dig a bigger hole than you think the plant needs, spread the roots out and back fill with some amended soil.

You don't say what the shrubs are, if they're fruiting or flowering shrubs, amend the soil with some compost, then mulch around the base of the plant with some more, or some other kind of organic mulch. Water deeply, even though the ground may be moist. This settles the soil into the cracks and spaces, and gives the plant more stability.

For the next year, make sure the shrubs get watered frequently, especially if you get a drought, or a lot of heat. They will be delicate for a while until they get established.

An alternate way to deal with potted shrubs is to 'heel' them in, by leaving them outdoors in a sawdust bed and covering the pots with more sawdust. This protects them from freeze and thaw damage. Plant them in the garden as soon as you can in the spring.

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