Growing Bare Root Perennials

8th Mar 2023

Growing bare root perennials in your garden is a great investment. Whether you want to create an oasis with peonies or brighten up an area with stylish agapanthus, these flowers don’t disappoint.

Starting out with bare root perennials

Starting as a root with a few shoots, eyes or pips, they might take a year to establish. Find a sunny position and some rich well-draining soil and these roots will begin to work their magic.

Once established these plants will produce flower after flower throughout the summer season, plus a wide range of interesting architectural foliage will last all summer long.

Each of the bare root perennials are hardy and last for many years. You can divide them after 3-4 years and begin to spread them around the garden.

Peony Sarah Bernhardt - bare root perennials
Peony roots - growing bareroot perennials

Peonies are one of the most popular bare root perennials because they have such huge, showy blooms that come in a variety of colours. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil, so be sure to choose a spot in your garden that meets those requirements.

Plant bare root peonies at least 5cm deep and spaced about 30cm apart. Make sure to water thoroughly and mulch around the base of the plants.

Agapanthus Blue - Bare root perennials
Agapanthus root - growing bareroot perennials

Agapanthus are an exotic-looking flower with large clusters of blooms in shades of blue and purple. They prefer full sun but can do well in light shade as well. To grow bare root agapanthus (pictured above), you’ll want to choose a spot in your garden that has well-draining soil.

Make sure to water thoroughly during dry spells, especially when they’re young, and use fertilizer once per month during active growing seasons. The roots (pictured above) quite like to be contained and often do well in large pots.

Lily of the Valley - bareroot perennials
Bareroot Lily of the Valley - growing bareroot perennials

Lily of the Valley is a classic flower that has been around for centuries. It’s known for its sweet scent and small, dainty white blooms.

Lily of the Valley likes partial shade and moist soil. This plant prefers regular watering, but make sure not to overwater it, as too much can lead to root rot. Take care as the flowers can be super poisonous when eaten.

Bareroot red hot pokers - growing bareroot perennials

Kniphofia, also known as torch lilies or red-hot pokers, are an eye-catching perennial that produces tall spikes of flowers in shades of orange, yellow and red. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil.

Planting this bareroot perennial should be done 15cm deep and leave at least 30cm between each plant. Make sure to water regularly and fertilise once per month during active growing periods.

How to divide perennial roots

Bare root perennials are easy to grow and very satisfying to keep. Within a few years you’ll be wondering where to keep the extra plants they produce!

To divide them simply cut into the roots making sure the is a good crop of roots supporting the new growth. This is often best done in early spring so it is easy to see where to cut. The bigger the clump you divide, the more success it will have when you replant it.

Cut them back each Autumn and they will reappear with fresh leaves in Spring.