Three Bushes & Shrubs to Plant This Spring

With the weather warming up and the last chance of frost (hopefully) behind us, we’re all anxious to start digging in the dirt. Deliveries have been arriving daily at the Garden Center, so we’ve got a great selection of plants to help you kick off your spring gardening projects (with more on the way)!

Now’s the time to get your bushes, shrubs and trees in the ground. Here are three favorites that will add foliage and color to your garden:

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas grow well in our climate and are a wonderful way to add softness and color to your landscape. Plus, dried hydrangeas will beautify your home all winter long!

When to plant: In early summer or fall.

Where to plant: In full sun to part shade. Hydrangeas like moist, well-drained, and fertile soil. Be sure to plant your hydrangea in a space that will allow it to reach its full height without being pruned.

How to plant them: Dig a hole as deep as the root ball (it doesn’t need to be planted too deeply), and 2-3 times as wide. Mix in compost with your regular soil for added nutrients. Most people don’t know that you can modify the flower colors of hydrangeas simply by amending the soil. Before the appearance of buds, many gardeners will add aluminum sulfate to the soil for blue hues or superphosphate for pink hues.

How to care for them: Hydrangeas need to be well-watered during their first two summers. So don’t forget about them! Pruning will give you larger blossoms. For late summer/fall blooms, prune your hydrangea in early spring. Leave the larger, more solid branches and prune the weak growth.

Rose Bushes

Yes, it’s true. Roses grow beautifully in Vermont, as long as you plant them properly and choose the best variety for our climate.

When to plant: Early spring is ideal for our cold-weather climate.

Where to plant: In full-sun, slightly acidic soil (6-6.5 pH).

How to plant: Dig a large hole, about twice the size of the root ball. Fill around the plant with a mixture of soil and compost/peat moss. Add a tablespoon or two of phosperous at the time of planting. When you set the plant in the hole, be sure to spread out the roots evenly. Two inches of soil should cover the bud graft (the lower swollen area on rose plants).

How to care for them: You’ll probably need to add some kind of rose fertilizer to the soil. Roses need to be well-watered, but be sure the soil drains well and doesn’t become waterlogged. Wait until next spring to prune your rose bush to avoid dieback and disease.

Blueberries

Of all the fruits you can grow in Vermont, blueberries may be the easiest. The key is getting them off to a good start by taking the time to plant them properly.

When to plant: Spring or fall.

Where to plant: In full sun but sheltered from harsh winds. Blueberries need well-drained soil (so roots don’t rot) with plenty of organic matter. The soil should have high acidity (4.5-5.2 pH), so you’ll probably need to amend the soil with 50% peat moss. It’s smart to do a soil test before planting so you know what you’re dealing with. (You can add sulfur to lower the pH, if needed.)

How to plant them: For most blueberry varieties, you’ll need 2-3 plants from  the same group for cross-pollination. Dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the root ball (approx. 20 inches deep and 18 inches wide). Water down the roots really good before planting, and then surround the root ball with a soil mixture that provides the right amount of acidity (see above). Place bushes 4-5 feet apart in a row for individual bushes. If you’d like a hedge, plant them 2-3 feet apart.

How to care for them: Heavily mulch blueberry bushes to keep the roots moist (they need 1-2 inches of water per week). Don’t allow the bush to produce fruit for the first two years after planting, so the plant can put its energy into growing. Just pinch back any blossoms. They can be pruned in late winter/early spring, before new growth begins.

The Garden Center is filling up! We’ve got annuals, perennials, shrubs, bushes, herbs, veggie starts, and hanging baskets! Find out what to expect when you arrive (our operating procedures are a little different from past years). See you soon!

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