Potted Shrubs: How To Plant A Shrub In Pots (6 Steps)

Potted Shrubs: How to plant a shrub in containers

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Shrubs growing in containers add a feeling of maturity to a deck, courtyard, or patio.

Larger specimens provide height and structure and can also help create privacy by acting as a living screen.

Evergreen shrubs offer interest in winter when herbaceous perennials, tender bedding, and patio plants have faded.

Some varieties will also provide long-lasting summer interest in the form of vibrant leaves or abundant blooms.

All can be used either as a focal point or as part of a backdrop for pots of seasonal bulbs and flowers.

If you don’t have the right soil conditions to grow acid-loving plants such as camellias, pieris, or rhododendrons, growing them in pots of ericaceous compost is the perfect solution.

Read more:

61+ Creative Garden Container Ideas To Follow For Success

50+ Beautiful Spilled Flower Pot Ideas to Inspire Yourself

71 Adorable DIY Flower Pot Ideas for Gardeners

You Will Need:

  • Large pot with drainage holes (must accommodate the shrub’s root ball, plus have 8–10cm (3–4in) space all round).
  • Layer of drainage material
  • Loam-based potting compost.
  • Slow-release fertilizer granules.
  • Decorative pebbles.
  • Shrub
Growing Hebe in Pots


  • Smart feature Clip Box (Buxus sempervirens) into a ball for a smart feature on a shady terrace.
  • Mediterranean feel French lavender (Lavandula pedunculata subsp. pedunculata) is a long-flowering, aromatic shrub for full sun, with violet blooms through summer.
  • Long-flowering display Hydrangea petiolaris ‘Preziosa’ is a narrow-leaved mophead hydrangea, with dark stems and red-tinted foliage. It flowers in summer and autumn; pink darkening to burgundy.
  • Stylishly delicate Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) has delicately cut leaves in colors from deep purple to pale yellow, green, or amber. Shelter from wind.
  • Fragrant evergreen Mexican orange (Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’) is a compact evergreen with scented white flowers in early summer, often repeating.

Step By Step

1.Provide drainage

Potted Shrubs Step 1

Cover the holes in the base of the pot with a few crocks or stone chippings.

This prevents compost being lost through the holes or blocking them, which will hinder drainage and cause water-logging.

2. Add some compost

Potted Shrubs Step 2

Pour in sufficient compost to allow the shrub to sit at the right height in the pot.

Leave at least 2½cm (1in) between the top of the compost and the rim for watering, more if you are adding a gravel mulch.

3. Examine the roots

Potted Shrubs Step 3

Plunge-water the plant, remove from the pot and check the roots.

Do not disturb the fine roots of well-grown shrubs, but gently loosen any thick roots wound around the base.

4.  Plant the shrub centrally

Potted Shrubs Step 4

Mix some slow-release fertilizer into the compost and set the shrub in the middle of the pot. Back-fill with compost to the level of its original pot. Firm lightly.

5.  Water the planted pot

Potted Shrubs Step 5

Gently water the pot to settle the compost around the roots. To avoid displacing the soil, pour the water over a piece of broken pot set on the surface.

6.  Mulch with gravel

Potted Shrubs Step 6

Scatter a layer of gravel on top of the compost to help keep down weeds.

Fine chipped bark is a good choice for acid-loving, woodland species.

Potted Shrubs: How to plant a shrub in pots (6 steps) #containergarden #potted #gardeningtips #farmfoodfamily