The burning bush plant is one of the most gorgeous shrubs you could plant in your garden, and this becomes extremely evident in fall. Its foliage is truly breathtaking, and it makes this plant the center of attention in any garden or backyard. Planting the burning bush plant, as well as taking care of it, requires some knowledge about the plant and its growing conditions. Today, we’re going to take you through the 7 main steps of growing a burning bush plant, so that you can make the most of the experience.
Growing a Burning Bush Plant in 7 Steps
Step 1: Learn About the Plant
The burning bush plant is quite popular in the U.S. People love it due to its bright red foliage, which is also the reason for its name, and due to the fact that it’s not difficult to take care of. Since it’s so popular, it’s also easy to find, usually in small containers while it’s still quite tiny. However, you shouldn’t let its size fool you. This shrub can grow 15 feet tall, as well as 15 feet wide. This means that before considering it as an option for your garden, you should make sure you have the room for it.
Of course, you could choose to trim it back when it becomes too large, but we don’t recommend that. That’s because one of the most attractive features of the burning bush plant is the fact that the leaves become brighter at the top. At the very bottom of the plant, the leaves are more maroon than red, which even if appealing, is not what this shrub is all about. Trimming it back would mean cutting the same leaves that make the burning bush plant stand out.
Speaking of the bright red color of its foliage, there’s another thing you should know when it comes to maintaining the color. The burning bush plant requires full sun in order to grow that lovely foliage. If you grow it in shady locations, the leaves will be pink, or even lack color entirely. While the pink is not a bad color, it doesn’t compare with the fiery red shade characteristic of this bush.
Finally, the last important thing you should know about this plant before growing it yourself is that it’s quite versatile. For instance, you can grow it and allow it to develop as it wishes, or you can grow it as a hedge, which would mean trimming it accordingly. It grows well in garden beds, borders, and even containers (in the case of the dwarf burning bush plant). In all cases, maintenance is minimal.
Step 2: Plant the Burning Bush in an Appropriate Location
The burning bush plant enjoys well-drained soil, so we wouldn’t recommend planting it in areas where the soil is made of heavy clay or is extremely wet. A sunny location isn’t mandatory, but it’s recommended, and good air circulation should be taken into account as well. This will help the leaves dry faster, which will lead to fewer diseases.
When it comes to planting a burning bush, the best way to do it is to buy a small plant in a container, and then transplant it in your garden. If you’re looking for a burning bush for sale, you can find one here. In order to check the amount of space you’re going to need in the garden, measure the width of the container in which you bought the plant, and then multiply that number by 3. The resulting number is the diameter of the hole you have to dig. Remember that the hole should cover the entire system of roots.
After digging the hole, carefully place the plant in it. Make sure the area where the roots and the top growth join is at the soil surface. All roots should be covered in soil and must be kept moist while planting the bush. When the plant is safely in the hole, cover the rest of the hole with soil, and press on it firmly. Then, add water on top of it until the soil can’t absorb any more.
Step 3: Water the Plant
One of the most important steps in growing any kind of plant is the frequency with which you have to water it, as well as the quantity of water it requires. In the case of the burning bush plant, it all depends on the weather in the area where you live. If you normally get plenty of rain, you should only concern yourself with watering your plant whenever you notice a dry spell. This is particularly important while the shrub is still in its establishing phase.
Whenever you water it, you have to make sure the area where the roots are is soaked in its entirety. This will encourage the roots to develop and grow deeper, which in turn will ensure less damage caused by droughts. Once you’ve watered the plant, don’t water again until the soil dries completely. This usually takes about a week in summer. Also, try to avoid watering using sprinkles, since they’re not powerful enough to soak the soil properly.
Step 4: Fertilize the Burning Bush Plant
The burning bush plant also needs fertilization in order to develop properly. Luckily, you only have to fertilize it once a year in spring. The best time to do it is after new growths start to appear. You don’t need to use special fertilizer, just a normal tree and shrub fertilizer will work. We recommend Jobe’s Organics Tree, Shrub & Evergreen Fertilizer Spikes with Biozome that you can order here. Typically, each bush needs about half of cup of fertilizer, that you sprinkle over the area of soil under which the roots are located.
In order to make sure the fertilizer really reaches the roots, use a rake to mix it into the first inch of soil. Then, water the area, as this will help the fertilizer travel all the way down to the roots. Overfertilizing the burning bush plant can do more harm than good, so don’t fertilize more than necessary.
Step 5: Add Mulch Around the Plant
Since you want to provide your plant with as much protection as possible, we advise you to consider mulching as well. Not only does this help preserve water, but it also keeps the plant’s roots cool, and prevents weed growth. We recommend adding about an inch or two of mulch around the plant’s roots. You can use anything from sawdust to dead leaves, dried grass clippings, straw, manure, wood chips, or even shredded newspaper. As they break down, they will provide the soil with nutrients.
Step 6: Beware of Pests
Pest control is another important aspect of caring for the burning bush plant. The most common types of pests you might encounter with this type of bush are insects. Two types of insects that affect the burning bush plant are spider mites and winged euonymus scales.
The interesting thing is that spider mites can be both beneficial and harmful. If you notice some of your plants, there’s an easy way to find out what type they are. First, take a white piece of paper and place it under a branch. Then, shake the branch until some mites fall on the paper. Upon smashing them, you’ll notice they leave a streak behind. If the streak is red, the mites are beneficial. If the streak is green, they’re harmful, and they feed off your plant.
Winged euonymus scales can also affect your burning bush plant. They’re small and triangular, and they cause the leaves of the plant to drop, and the branches to die. Both winged euonymus scales and spider mites can be eliminated by using an insecticidal soap. We recommend the Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap that you can purchase here.
Step 7: Prune the Plant for Rejuvenation
The last thing that should concern you when it comes to burning bush plant care is pruning it when the time is right. Not only will pruning help you manage its size (while still keeping the bright red foliage that characterizes it), but it will also encourage brand-new growths. We recommend pruning your plant in early spring, in order to allow it to develop properly all throughout the season. Don’t allow the leaves of the shrub to develop before you manage to prune it.
Luckily, burning bush pruning is not at all difficult. All you need is a pair of sharp hedge clippers or a pair of pruning shears. Using the shears or clippers, you’re going to cut most of the shrub, except for about 3 inches of it. If you think this is way too much, you shouldn’t worry. The burning bush growth rate is impressive, and by the end of the season, you’ll notice it being as healthy and potent as ever.
Summing Everything Up
Are you on the lookout for a shrub that will adorn your garden or backyard with lovely fall colors, and be easy to care for? Do you want to try some unusual landscape ideas? Then you should definitely consider the burning bush plant. As we hope we’ve managed to prove in today’s guide, in terms of gorgeous shrub varieties, this one is one of the most beautiful ones you could plant. Moreover, it’s low-maintenance, which makes it the perfect choice not only for experienced gardeners but also for beginner ones.