How to Grow Bare Root Perennials

18th Dec 2020

Bare Root Perennials are plants that are grown in open ground and supplied to buyers with no soil or compost (or container) around their roots, ready to be planted immediately in-situ or into pots during the dormant season from November to March.

They grow large clumps of roots and offer buyers an economical way to create new garden sections using established plants rather than bulbs or seedlings.

When to Plant Bare Root Perennials

During mild winters you can plant a bare root perennial at almost any time between November and March, however, if the winter is particularly cold you may want to wait until the temperature thaws a touch, or plant them in pots ready to re-plant nearer to spring.

Where to Plant Bare Root Perennials

On the whole, perennials are hardy and can grow in a wide variety of spaces including partial or full sun, as long as the soil is well-fertilized and free draining.

If you want to plant your bare root perennials out into the garden section where they’ll grow permanently, you’ll need to prepare the soil as follows:

  • Loosen the soil using a fork or spade and dig a hole that is several inches wider and deeper than the root ball.
  • Then create a mound of loose soil in the middle of the hole and set the roots on top of the mound, distributing the roots evenly. When you backfill, ensure the crown of the plant is even with or just underneath the soil level and water to ensure the plant settles and that the area around the roots remains moist.
  • If you’re planting into pots, choose a pot that is several times larger than the root ball and fill about halfway with a soil/compost mix.
  • Settle the plant into the pot, taking care to distribute the roots evenly and backfill so that the crown is level with or just underneath the soil. Water well and place the pot in an area (either natural light or artificial) where it will receive at least 10 hours of light per day.
  • Similarly, you can use a nursery planter box, adopting the same approach to soil, compost, planting technique and care.

How to Grow Bare Root Perennials

Before you plant your bare root perennials out, soak them well for an hour in freshwater treated with a few drops of fish emulsion fertilizer – this will give them a real boost before they go into the soil.

Once you’ve planted out your bare root perennial, you’ll need to fertilise the plants twice during their first growing season – the first when they have had at least 3 sets of leaves and the second at midsummer. Ideally, you should use a liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength.

Caring for your Bare Root Perennials

You’ll need to keep your newly planted perennials well-watered throughout summer, at least one good soaking per week if it hasn’t rained. You can also shelter the plants from the hottest periods of sunlight by placing a shelter such as a laundry basket over them for a couple of hours per day.

Keep an eye out for pests and treat accordingly but other than that, your plants should establish themselves and grow stronger each year as the seasons go by.

What Varieties of Bare Root Perennials does Gee Tee stock?

Gee Tee stocks a wide variety of bare root perennials including white and blue Agapanthus, Lily of the Valley, Cosmos, Hardy Geraniums, Helleborus, Hemerocallis, Hostas, Kniphofia Uvaria, Lamprocapnos and Peonies.

Shop our high-quality Bare root Perennials here.

For planting and growing advice visit our Growing Advice section or get in touch with us on 01205 260412 or