USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the regions where plants can grow based on minimum winter temperatures. Burning bush shrubs grow across most of the country, from Zones 4-8. That encompasses almost everywhere but some of the hottest parts of the country, including southern Florida and southern Texas.
In planting your burning bush, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Choose a planting site that receives full sunlight to partial shade, with a preference for full sun, if possible.
- Clear away any weeds, debris, or turfgrass.
- Dig a hole two to three times the width of the root ball and the same depth.
- Remove your shrub from the container it came in and loosen the roots gently with your fingers or a small spade.
- Set your burning bush in the hole, with the root ball’s top edge either at or slightly above the level of the surrounding soil.
- Backfill the soil, tamping down as you go to get rid of any air pockets. Once you’ve finished, water the area deeply.
- Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch over the root zone, careful not to touch the trunk.
- To create a hedge, plant them 5-7 feet apart.
Burning bush shrubs are hardy, robust plants that can grow under a variety of soil and light conditions and resist both pests and drought.
Burning bush shrubs flourish in full sun—at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day—but they can also grow in partial shade. For the most vivid colors, you’ll want to plant them in full sun. Too much shade can lead to a faded, pinkish hue in fall.
Burning bush shrubs are highly adaptable to a wide range of soil types. The pH level doesn’t have any impact on their growth, and they can thrive in everything from sand to clay. However, the soil must be semi-moist and well-drained.
Once established, burning bush shrubs are drought-tolerant. For the first few months after planting, water more often. Then, you can reduce it to about the equivalent of one inch of rainfall per week.
Feed your burning bush shrub in early spring with a slow-release fertilizer specially designed for trees and shrubs. Doing this will prime your shrub for excellent growth during spring.
You should prune your burning bush shrub in late winter or early spring, either to maintain its shape or to boost new growth. Always be sure to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased wood close to the main branch to encourage the emergence of a healthy bud.
Burning bush is considered invasive in certain areas because it can threaten existing plants and biodiversity. The bush is dominant and seeds prolifically, which means it can force out other plants, especially herbaceous and native woody plant species. Some nurseries have discontinued selling them for this reason, while those that do sell them must state that the plants are invasive. We encourage you to check with local garden centers or the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health to see if the plant is invasive in your region or not.
If so, you may want to consider native alternatives, such as chokeberry or fragrant sumac.