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Bareroot Plants

Many plants do best when shipped in a dormant or bareroot condition without any soil around the roots. Often plants shipped this way may appear to be dead. However, dormant or bareroot plants are living plant material even though they may be completely void of green buds or leaves. They've been conditioned for shipping and will be ready to grow after planting. It may take as long as 6-8 weeks before they sprout to the point where growth is obvious.

Before planting, make sure roots are moist and soak briefly. Follow the guidelines below for your perennial root type:

Fibrous roots (i.e. carnations, geraniums, phlox, etc.) need to be spread downward and not cramped. The crown (where roots meet stems) should be level with or slightly above the soil.

Long taproots (i.e. hollyhocks, hibiscus, columbine, poppies, etc.) should extend almost straight down. To avoid possible rotting conditions, place the crown just below the soil line.

Rhizomes (i.e. bearded, Japanese and Siberian irises) should be planted near the surface. A small portion of the rhizome, where the leaves connect, should be visible above the soil.

Roots with eyes (i.e. peonies) are placed in a hole on a cone of soil with the crown just below ground level. Spread roots around the cone. Lightly cover the crown with soil.

Fleshy roots (i.e. daylilieshostas) should be planted in a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the bareroots. Create a mound in the planting hole to hold the roots and the crown (where roots meet the stem) at ground level. Spread the roots over the mound. Fill the planting hole with soil and firm with both hands. Water thoroughly.

Bareroot perennials should not be planted too deep. The crown of the plant (where the roots meet the sprouts or stem) should be at ground level or just below it. If planted too deep, plants will not get enough air and growth and flowering will be poor.

Potted Plants

When you receive your potted plants, you may find some leaves appear to be yellowing or even dead. That doesn't mean the plants are dead. As long as the root system is healthy, upper foliage will soon regenerate.

Your potted plants require little attention before transplanting:

  • Make sure the planting medium is still moist and water if the top is dry.
  • Groom the plant by pinching off any less-than-healthy leaves (for example, leaves that are yellowed or withered).
  • Transplant potted plants to their new home as soon as possible after your shipment arrives.
  • Remove plants from their shipping pots by lightly squeezing or tapping the sides of the container to loosen the planting medium in which the plant has been growing. Then, invert the pot, gently shake the plant loose and proceed with planting.

Plants which seem to be tightly bound to their pots may be "root bound." However, they are easy to remove and prepare for planting:

  • First, squeeze the container to loosen the compacted root ball inside.
  • Invert the pot and shake the plant out of the container.
  • If you find a mass of roots tightly woven into the planting medium, cut or tear off the bottom third of the root ball.
  • Using a knife or trowel, score a vertical mark on all four sides of the root ball. Even though you will be cutting some roots, loose ends have a tendency to grow outward into the surrounding soil, while unscored roots grow in the root ball itself after planting and may cause decreased vigor.
  • Some plants arrive in Ellepot®paper plant pots. These are our environmentally friendly, biodegradable paper pots. You can plant the whole root ball directly into the ground. There's no need to remove the paper covering the root system. For the first two weeks after planting, water regularly. The soil inside the Ellepot may be more porous than the surrounding soil and will dry out quicker. Once the roots take hold into the surrounding soil, less watering is necessary.

Ground Covers

Ground cover plants prefer deeply worked, properly fertilized soil which is free from weeds. Dig individual planting holes and plant each ground cover plant as outlined above for other potted plants. To create the most natural effect, stagger your planting. If your planting is on a slope, follow the contours with staggered spacing, leaving a depression around each plant to catch water.

Spread a 1-2" layer of mulch over the area surrounding the plants, being careful not to bury them. This helps retain moisture in the soil and retards weed growth. Maintain the mulch covering until your ground cover plants have spread to cover the entire planting site.


Most vines grow best when allowed to climb up a vertical support. When planting a climbing vine near a building, fence, wall or tree, set the plant at least 18" from the structure which will support it. Then gradually train it to grow over to the structure.

When using garden arbors, mesh-type fencing, trellises and similar supporting structures that are in the open, plant the vine close to the support.

Don't let your vines form into a tangle. They should be pruned frequently through the summer, spreading and tying the shoots to keep them to a single "layer" over the support.

To establish your clematis vines, keep the root system cool. A sunny location where roots can grow under a cool covering, such as other perennials or mulch, is ideal. Deep planting--about a half inch deeper than it was grown in the nursery--encourages extra-strong root development, and frequent, thorough watering will encourage vigorous growth.

Plant your vine about 4-6" away from its trellis or support system. This gives its roots space to expand and grow. To get your vine going in the right vertical direction, use twine or tie-wraps to loosely attach the plant to the trellis. Vines with tendrils will twine around the support, while other vines may require you to loosely twine the vine around the trellis.

 How-To Videos

Daylily (Also considered a fleshy Bareroot) Fibrous Bareroot
Daylily (Also considered a fleshy Bareroot)
Fibrous Bareroot
Bareroot Rose Raspberry Strawberry
Bareroot Rose


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