I have an azalea bush and a Japanese barberry bush that are still in their original pots. Since we have not decided on the layout of our garden I would like to put them in the ground just to shelter them from the bad weather (5b) with the intention to plant them where we decide next spring

Is this a good idea? Any recommendations?

  • The Japanese barberry is in the ideal condition for mounting on a rocket to be fired into the sun. JMHO, I hate those prickly bleeps - and they are evidently excellent habitat for the rodents that really carry most of the Lyme disease (deer get blamed, since they are called deer ticks, but most of the deer ticks are on rodents, as it turns out...)
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 27, 2016 at 14:24
  • What else is good for rodents and should be eliminated ?
    – MiniMe
    Aug 27, 2016 at 15:04
  • Deer tick is just a common name for blackleg ticks, not because they're necessarily found on deer. Different ticks in different areas transmit Lyme disease, but all the ticks that do only carry Lyme from biting an infected animal, usually small rodent type animals, most commonly, mice. You can pick up a tick walking through long grass, nothing to do with rats necessarily. and anyway, mice and rats are always with us, you're never more than 6 feet from a rat or mouse of some sort, whether you know it or not...
    – Bamboo
    Aug 27, 2016 at 21:44
  • Ecnerwal, you've had some very bad experiences that have biased you against barberry. Japanese Barberry is an EXCELLENT deterrent to bad guys!! The human kind. My favorite is Ace Barberry...nice light green. I think your tick thing is a bit off the fact sheets. Where do you live? Rodents and lots of animals are vitally important far more than us humans have exhibited. When we humans stop throwing yummy stuff out in our garbage we will be able to help reduce rodents. When we put poison out to kill them we actually enhance the size of litters. They will survive while we fail.
    – stormy
    Aug 27, 2016 at 23:58
  • Update: next spring everything was fine, the plats came back to life like nothing happened
    – MiniMe
    May 7, 2017 at 15:08

2 Answers 2


I agree it's a good idea to bury the pots, but with one caveat - do not bury them till Fall is nearly over,and ensure you remove them from the ground as soon as the worst of the winter is over, in early spring. If you don't, there's a risk that roots will go through the hole/s in the bottom of the pot to the ground below, and you won't be able to dig them up to plant elsewhere without breaking those roots.

  • I do have a correction here, breaking a few roots is just no big deal! If roots grew out of the bottom of your pot and you rip it out there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Remember my comment that I had my crew using shovels to knock plants out of their pots and then chop into the root balls a few times? No babying was necessary, in fact ripping roots is a good thing. Causes more vigorous growth for the roots. This comes from having to live and breathe construction...not a very enjoyable way to be a plant person!
    – stormy
    Aug 27, 2016 at 23:50
  • @Stormy Correction?! Wrong word; you mean opinion, albeit formed through experience...
    – Bamboo
    Aug 28, 2016 at 12:11
  • You are correct, Bamboo, I guess. Experience with planting has shown the less babying the better. Plants taken directly from the pot and shoved in the ground do not do as well as those that were mashed and ripped and bonked. (Not really as bad as it sounds...). Sadly my experience has been commercial/residential to the tune of many millions of bucks...choosing, transporting, laying out, planting thousands of bucks of plants per day. Even planting little annuals, I always fruff up the roots before planting. Yeah, my opinion based on 'science'...and experience.
    – stormy
    Aug 28, 2016 at 23:59

Yes MiniMe...super way to protect potted plants. Watch for too much water. Other ways are Christmas lights and burlap, row cloth and newspaper. The azalea will be the tenderest if it is an evergreen. Deciduous plants are tougher than evergreens. The roots of any plant is their weakest link and burying those pots is great. Better if you buried them in a raised bed so that they would be able to continue to drain. Where are you located? What zone? What soil type?

And if you are accumulating plants for your garden, the best time is in the fall when the prices are phenomenal. Planting them in the fall is ideal. They are able to put down roots without all the energy to support leaves and photosynthesis and transporting water and food.

A piece of advice; NEVER buy one of this or one of that!! Always buy at least 3, 5 or more of the same kind of plant. A nursery is a tough place to visit because of all the stimulus of all the different plants. Too many colors, too many textures, too many forms...humans are only capable to discern 3 things at a time comfortably. Think MASSING with only a few specimen plants framed by your massed plants, also called a foundation planting or a skeleton planting.

If you have a mass of azaleas on one side of a walkway or a driveway or along the perimeter make sure to have a few or more of the same azaleas on the other side of the walk, driveway. Always lay your plants out in unequal triangles. Never a straight line or boxes or equal triangles. Doing hedges changes that rule; straight lines are not a good idea. Offset or equal triangles for hedges is far better. You can offer more room for growth of each plant and if one dies not very noticeable. Easy to repair.

You want the landscape to appear as if it had already been in place before the human elements, the hardscape was installed. Choose what is most important to you in your 'composition'; texture (fine, med, coarse) or form; (conical, horizontal, vertical, etc) or color; (of foliage bright greens, yellow greens, dark greens, purples, etc.) or flower color;( Yellows with Purples, Warm orangey reds with lighter oranges, yellows highlighted with bright blue for instance) or rhythm (getting into higher levels of art), theme; (Prairie, Cottage, formal etc.,), movement; (grasses are spectacular with this)...there are a few other categories but the point in making a composition (whether a painting, a sculpture, a home) is to chose ONE OR TWO of these categories to vary and keep the rest as uniform as possible. Keep all your trees the same except for the rare specimen tree...keep your hardscape all the same color (best and least expensive is dove gray), try to make your hardscape have something in common with the home's architecture and materials. The wood work should also have a common thread throughout your landscape. I hope this makes sense. These are but a few of the RULES we L.S. Architects are taught. Otherwise one ends up with a landscape that looks unprofessional and feels uncomfortable...if one cares.

  • Thanks for the tips, I think you are already familiar with my gardening projects, I posted a design question around here and I think you participated there
    – MiniMe
    Aug 27, 2016 at 3:36
  • Yes! How is that going? Have you found the rules for permeable surfaces? I am not sure what was solid and what was permeable but there are buildings and code cops out there, few but they are there. Love the computer graphics. When I have to draw instead of pasting I get very familiar with the site and see in 3D. I hope new L.S. and Arch students are able to use computers for designing responsively. I can't imagine switching. Old school? Unbelievable. What have you decided to do? How is your grading and drainage? (one of my forte's)
    – stormy
    Aug 27, 2016 at 23:45

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