How do I encourage a shrub to become "sturdy" rather than scraggy? The plant is Gold Star Esperanza.
Hardiness Zone: 9a
Adie from Houston, TX
The best way to keep this shrub growing full and strong is to maintain optimum growing requirements and a yearly shearing to encourage bushy growth. Whether you grow yours in a bed or container, these heat-loving shrubs will give you the best show when planted in fertile, well-drained soil and given full sun. If you grow your Gold Star in a bed, feed it every 4 to 6 weeks with a 1/2 strength water-soluble fertilizer (20-20-20). Container grown plants should be fed more often, because nutrients tend to wash away more quickly with frequent watering. Gold Star Esperanza starts blooming in the spring, and if you continue to remove the spent flowers and seedpods they will continue on until the first frost. Because these shrubs can grow to heights of 10-12 feet and get rather straggly, many gardeners will head them back in the spring to encourage bushier growth and then keep them trimmed throughout the growing season in order to maintain their shape and keep them to a height of 5-6 ft.
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