Now is the perfect time to awaken bare root perennials, which have been harvested and kept dormant in climate-controlled root cellars from late fall or early winter until the first signs of spring. Bare root perennials are typically field grown for one year, harvested, and trimmed down to one inch above the crown for winter cellar storage. Because they are easier to transport and plant, and inexpensive compared to potted plants, bare root perennials can quickly start a hedge or rapidly increase the number of blooms in your garden.
There is a wide variety of roses, trees and vegetables that can be planted bare root (meaning, they have no soil around the roots). Before you choose, just be sure that the perennials are suitable for your climate. Follow the planting suggestions for your location using the USDA Hardiness Zone or check with your local garden center. Plant after your last hard frost. The perfect bare root planting day is cool, calm and damp.
Water your plant daily for the first week; every other day for one to two months; weekly until established. Reduce watering in cloudy or wet weather. Another key growing factor is light. Most bare root perennials will do best in full sunlight. Pruning is important to encourage crown and root growth. Consider spacing plants as they mature to allow for good air circulation.
Putting bare roots into dirt, nurturing them and watching them thrive will lift your spirits and cultivate a new ritual for welcoming spring each year.
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All images courtesy Alyssa Larson.
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