Plants to plant bare-root
Discover which plants can be planted bare-root in winter, from trees and fruit bushes to roses and peonies, in our handy guide.
November to March is the ideal time to plant bare-root plants. These are plants that have been been grown in open ground, then dug up for despatch and planting during the dormant season. They are called ‘bare-root’ plants as they are supplied with no soil around their roots. They are usually bought online, or by mail order.
Bare-root plants are generally cheaper than plants grown in containers, and you’ll often find a wider selection of varieties this way. Planting them in the dormant season means that they should establish well – while the top growth may be brown and twiggy, the roots are busy establishing beneath.
All kinds of plants can be supplied bare-root, from trees to perennials. Find out more below.
Winter is the ideal time to plant a bare-root tree - you'll find a wide selection at tree nurseries or online. Be sure to mulch and stake afterwards. Watch Monty's video guide to planting a bare-root tree.
Buy bare-root trees from Crocus
Planting a hedge is much more economical if you buy bare-root plants and while not 'instant', they will knit together quickly. It's a great way to plant beech, hornbeam or an 'edible hedge' made up of a mix of edible plants such as blackthorn, cherry plum and Rosa rugosa. Read our guide to planting a bare-root hedge.
Buy bare-root hedging plants from Waitrose Garden
You can buy container-grown roses all year round, but for the best selection, it pays to plant them bare-root. They will establish quickly and you should enjoy flowers the following summer. Find out how to plant a bare-root rose.
Buy bare-root roses from Harkness Roses
Many perennials can be planted bare-root. Peonies in particular are best planted this way, although you can also plant agapanthus, hardy geraniums and a host of other plants. Discover 10 perennials to plant bare-root.
Buy bare-root perennials from Amazon
Fruit bushes and canes
The dormant season is also the ideal time to plant fruit - especially if you are planting lots of plants - it's much more economical and you'll get the widest pick of varieties. Follow our advice on planting bare-root raspberries and bare-root blackcurrants.
Buy bare-root fruit bushes and canes from Primrose
You'll find the widest selection of fruit trees - if you buy them bare-root - apple, pear, plum, cherry, apricots can all be bought this way. You can also buy bare-root stepovers, espaliers and cordons. Discover how to plant a bare-root fruit tree.
Buy bare-root fruit trees from Dobies
Shrubs can also be planted bare-root. Willow, yew, Rosa rugosa and viburnum are just some of the shrubs that can be planted this way. Watch our video guide to planting a bare-root shrub.
Buy bare-root shrubs from Suttons
Caring for a bare-root plant
It is essential that the roots of a bare-root plant don't dry out. Be sure to soak the roots in winter as soon as you receive your plants. If you can't plant immediately - if the soil is frozen, for example - heel them in until the weather improves.
Sprinkling miccorhizal fungi around the roots when planting will increase nutrient and water uptake and help bare-root plants establish well.
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