Plants grown in containers aren't limited to flowers and vegetables; in fact, shrubs can also be planted in pots. Potted shrubs placed in close side-by-side proximity can help block an unpleasant view or serve as a privacy screen. Most shrubs, both deciduous and evergreen, can be grown in containers. Measure the length of area in the landscape where you want to place the pots to create a hedge. Also determine how tall the hedge should be to offer the amount of privacy desired. To ensure proper growth, plant shrubs when they are dormant, in fall or late winter.
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Visit your local home and garden center to determine the shrub possibilities that are best suited to your local climate. Shrubs native to your area are usually cold-hardy to your USDA planting zone, ensuring their survival. Flowering deciduous shrubs will provide privacy from spring to fall while evergreens ensure year-around privacy.
Read the shrub’s label, which will identify specifics about the shrub, such as its sun level requirements and growth potential. Rule out shrubs that do not meet the sun level requirements in the location where the pots will reside or that will not grow to your desired height.
Divide the length of the area in the landscape where the potted shrubs will be placed by the width the shrub is expected to reach. The results will determine how many shrubs are needed.
Purchase pots that are at least two times the width of the root ball of one shrub and at least as deep as the root ball is tall. The containers may be made of concrete, stone, wood with a water-proof liner or synthetic resin; however, they should have drainage holes.
Remove the tree from the nursery container. If the root ball is wrapped in burlap, do not remove the burlap.
Examine the root ball of the container shrub. Roots that wrap around the root ball, a condition known as root-bound, is corrected by loosening or cutting long roots that encircle the root ball. Once cut, the root will re-grow in a natural manner, reaching outward instead of continuing a circle growth pattern.
Add soil to the bottom of the container as needed so that the top of the root ball is 1 to 2 inches from the top of the container. The soil should be fresh, like a store-bought potting mix or a soil and compost mixture. Place the root ball in the center of the container.
Add soil around the root ball until the container is about half-full. Water around the root ball to settle the soil. If planting a burlap-wrapped root ball, loosen the burlap and fold it down to the soil's level.
Finish filling the container with soil, stopping 1 to 2 inches from the top of the container and level to the top of the root ball. Water again, adding more soil if needed.
Spread mulch, like pine chips or leaf mold, around the shrub and up to the lip of the container. Keep the mulch about 2 inches from the trunk of the shrub.
Repeat with each shrub and container until you have reached the length you wish for the hedge.
Water the shrubs regularly. If there is no significant rainfall in a seven- to 10-day period, water the potted shrubs until water drains from their bottoms.