How To Plant Container Grown Trees and Shrubs

Be sure to give each plant room to grow to full size.

Step 3: Mark Locations for Trees and Shrubs

  • Position Plants: Put plants where they will go while they’re still in the containers. Work out the correct spacing and distribution before you start digging, making sure each plant will have room to spread out to its mature size without rubbing against structures or other plants.
  • Mark Plant Location: Take a shovel or mattock and mark a circle in the soil, at least three times the diameter of the pot, for the border of each planting hole. You can also use flags, marking paint, or other markers if desired.
  • Remove Plants: Move the plants off to the side, preferably in the shade.


  1. Pat, in the demonstration photos, I am planting ‘Otto Luyken’ English laurels. They are gorgeous evergreen shrubs, one of my favorite choices for foundation plantings! In Step 1 there is an azalea (the lighter green shrub) to the left of the Otto Luykens. The photo in Step 9 features a blooming crape myrtle.

  2. Hi, looking for perfect unity planting tree for my daughter to plant at her wedding, possibly tree will live in a container for a couple of years and then be planted in the couples yard later. Tree is a symbol of longlasting love with proper nourishment for longetivity and will be memorable of beginning their life together. They will live in Atlanta Ga. for a while.
    Please help!

  3. I have just been given an Azalea. I have clay soil & a with a south facing garden. As I understand they like acid soil was wondering whether to grow it in a tub. So was looking for some advice!

  4. Was wondering if it is to late to plant shrubs in Denver Colorado, we are supposed to have a good 3 weeks left of 70 degree weather. If so what are good shrubs for a clay type soil in the fall?

  5. we would like shrubs 3-5 ft tall and 2-3 feet wide anyone got any specific names? for low maintenance fall planting clay soil?

  6. I have a azalea small tree in pot can I plant outside & leave it outside during winter months so it will bloom again in spring plants flowers all gone


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