Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Farm and Ranch

March 1, 2012

Consider bare root perennials in your garden


If you need lots of perennials for an area, an inexpensive alternative could be the bare root stock should be appearing in the big box merchants soon. Bare root stock is also available thru catalog orders.

I have taken some chances with bare root stock and have had a few surprises. One problem is that the roots are in an opaque bag and you cannot see what you are getting.

When you have purchased your bags of bare root stock, open them as soon as you get home and check the roots. The healthy roots should be plump and feel solid and some may have started sprouting new growth. If you find moldy or rotten roots, toss the plants or return them to the retailer that you purchased them from.

Once you have opened the bags, and the planting conditions are right for the species of plants that you have purchased, go ahead and plant them outside. If the conditions are not right for outside planting, you can plant them in containers they will get at head-start on growing. Then when conditions are correct you can plant in the ground.

The first step is to soak the roots in a bucket of water with your favorite fertilizer, either organic or chemical mixed in it. This will let the roots absorb some water and nutrients.

If you are planting in your garden, make sure the soil is warm and dig a hole a little wider than the root that you are planting. At the bottom of the hole, mound some soil up and place the roots over the mound, cover with the original soil and water in gently.

When you are planting the roots in the containers, use a good potting soil for the containers. Make sure that the pot is a little bit larger than the root, so that it has room to grow and expand. Fill the pot up and then place the root in the pot with the new growth showing above the soil line. Place the pots in an area that is near 60 degrees and has sun available. Some of the plants may take a little time to start growing.

May these tips help you enjoy the time in your garden.


This article includes information from an article in Garden Gate Magazine. 


Joyce Block of Alvarado is a Johnson County Master Gardener, a Wild Bunch Writer and volunteers for Texas AgriLife Extension. For information, visit

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