Bare Root Perennials

How to find and plant bare root plants with Sensible Gardening

How to Find the Best Bare Root Plants

Purchasing your plants through a mail order catalogue may seem  a bit odd to some but it can be an excellent way to  buy plants. Traditionally, paper catalogues full of glossy colorful pages are sent through the mail.

How to find and plant bare root plants with Sensible Gardening

This does of course still exist, especially amongst the larger companies.  Many excellent small growers and farms offer bare root perennials and shrubs as well and they are more likely to rely mainly on the good old internet, where they offer a web site full of information and colorful photographs of their plants.


The cost of paper catalogues is beyond the reach of most small growers, but it is often the smaller growers that will provide you with the most interesting choices, and quite likely the healthiest product. Many small growers specialize in one or two genus and offer an amazing selection of cultivars to choose from.

What are bare root plants? Many plants will be shipped to you as bare root. A bare root plant is a plant that will be shipped without soil. They will often be wrapped in moist wood shavings, shredded paper or peat moss. It should be obvious  that the plants and roots have been washed well. Planting bare root plants is not difficult. Of most importance is that you deal with your new plants as soon as they arrive.


How to Plant a Bare Root Plant

Before planting remove the packaging and soak the roots in  water for 6 to 12 hours. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots when spread out. Fill your hole with water. Once the water has been absorbed amend the soil with an organic fertilizer, compost or well aged manure. Form a small cone at the bottom of the hole and arrange the roots around the cone. The crown of your plant should be near ground level. Backfill the hole with your remaining soil, tamp down gently and water to remove any air pockets that may have formed around the roots. Fill the hole and water once again.

Planting bare root plants with Sensible Gardening


If you are unable to plant your bare root plants right away the next best thing is to heel them in. Dig a trench at a 45 degree angle in a cool shaded area. Lean your plants in a row against the slope to a depth where the crowns are barely below the soil level. Water the roots then cover completely with soil. Tamp down gently and water again. Water regularly until you are able to plant them, however sooner is better than later.


To find a reliable and responsible grower to purchase from, try asking your garden friends, neighbors or garden club members for recommendations. Browse the web and have fun choosing your favorites from the comfort of your own home.

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How to find and plant the best bare root plants with Sensible Gardening