Shrubs, trees and fruit bushes can all be planted bare-root during the dormant season – and so can many herbaceous perennials. Several mail-order companies supply them bare-root, and they are generally cheaper than plants grown in containers. Planting in the dormant season means that they should establish well, as the roots are directly in contact with the soil.
Discover plants to plant bare-root.
Most bare-root perennials can be planted throughout the dormant season (November to March). When you receive your plants, soak them in a bucket of cold water for a couple of hours, then plant them straight away, or within a few days, as long as the soil is not waterlogged or frozen. Alternatively, pot them up over winter and plant them out in spring.
Here are 10 perennials that establish well from bare-root plants.
Agapanthus are sun-lovers, with globes of blue or white flowers, and they grow really well in pots. Buying an established plant in a pot can be expensive, so buying bare-root rhizomes is an economical way of growing them. Watch our video on three top tips for growing agapanthus.
Blue agapanthus flowers
Easy to grow, astilbes bear feathery plumes of white, pink or red flowers in summer. They love damp soil and shade. Discover more perennials to grow in damp shade.
Feathery astilbe flowers, in shades of pink
Eryngiums, or sea hollies, have spiky, steely blue-grey flowerheads that last well into autumn. They look good in herbaceous borders or gravel gardens and make excellent cut or dried flowers.
A bee on a blue flowerhead of a spiky sea holly
Hardy geraniums, or cranesbills, are invaluable in the garden. They thrive in sun or shade, and flower for several months from early summer onwards. Browse our plant database for hardy geraniums to grow.
Lilac cranesbill flowers
Cheery, daisy-like heleniums, in ‘hot’ colours, flower profusely in summer. They combine well with other late flowering perennials such as echinaceas, as well as ornamental grasses.
Orange, daisy-like helenium flowers
Heucheras are valued for their large, coloured leaves in a range of colours from dark purple to buttery yellow, and their frothy flowers in summer. They do well in shade and most prefer a moist soil.
Pale lime-green heuchera leaves
Bearded iris thrive in a hot, sunny spot, where they will produce spectacular flowers from mid-spring. They are ideal for borders or gravel gardens and come in a range of colours. Watch Monty Don plant bearded irises.
A beautiful cream and purple iris flower
For sheer splendour, peonies are hard to beat. Many experts say that they are best planted bare-root. They perform best in rich, fertile soil. Discover 10 beautiful peonies to grow.
A deep magenta peony
Verbascums, or mullein, send up bold spikes of flowers in summer. They come in a range of colours, including yellow, white, orange and red. They thrive in full sun and are impressively drought-tolerant once established.
Orange-red Verbascum ‘Firedance’