How To Plant Container Grown Trees and Shrubs

By: Julie Day


Most trees and shrubs need a year or so to become established.

Step 1: Choosing Container Grown Trees and Shrubs

The best way to ensure success when planting container grown trees or shrubs is by choosing plants that are compatible with your climate. Before purchasing, you should:

  • Planting Conditions: Take note of the light, water, temperatures, and air circulation in the planting area. Choose plants suited for the growing conditions.
  • Test Soil: Do a soil test to see if your soil needs pH or nutrient adjustment. You can do a little adjusting to fit your plants, but you’ll have better luck if you choose plants suited for your conditions.
  • Soil Drainage: Determine how well your soil drains. Some trees and shrubs don’t like soggy roots while others hate drying out.

Planting Tip

To determine how well your soil drains, perform a soil drainage perk test at the planting site, to see how long it takes for the water to drain. Slow drainage indicates poor-draining soil, but rapid drainage can be a problem, too. To improve drainage, amend the soil with organic matter. If the problem is severe, consider raised beds or installing drain tiles underneath the planting bed to divert water.

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4 Comments on “How To Plant Container Grown Trees and Shrubs”

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  • Janet Wilkinson Says:
    September 5th, 2015 at 3:41 am

    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!



  • LYNN SHEPPARD Says:
    October 30th, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    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!



  • Julie Day Says:
    April 2nd, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    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.



  • Pat Says:
    March 31st, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    The pictures are beautiful. Names of the shrubs would be great.


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