How to Grow Loose Rooted Plants

Posted by Amber Williams on 22nd Nov 2021

How to Grow Loose Rooted Plants

Many of our plants are supplied are loose roots. These twiggy-looking sticks are the equivalent of bulbs, but just in a slightly different skin! As you can imagine, these interestingly-formed plants are somewhat different to plant than your average bulb.

If you've received one of our loose rooted plants and have no clue where to start, then this handy little guide is here to do exactly that - guide you from A to B with minimal stress, confusion, and head-scratching. Let's begin.

When to Plant Loose Roots

Many of our loose rooted plants are either rosesshrubs, or perennials. As the list is so diverse, their individual growing instructions may differ slightly, especially when you compare the average rose to a standard bush.

We suggest checking the growing instructions given to you on arrival, as this will outline your plant's needs. That being said, these hardy perennials are much easier to grow than say, a nursery-grown plug, and need less acclimatising to the conditions of your garden. This means that they can grow faster with less effort made. But always check the instructions on your plant, just to double-check!

How to Plant Loose Roots

Step 1 - Soak the root in a bucket of water for a few hours. This should be done even if they come in peat or moss. 2-3 hours should do it.

Step 2 - Hardy perennials can be planted into position in the garden, but if you wanted to wait till it's established then that's also fine. For this, you want to pick a pot that is the correct size for the root.

Step 3 - In the pot, fill it halfway with compost. Then put in your root. Some roots have a noticeable crown, so leave this exposed and cover the roots. For others, simply cover with compost. If the loose root is long and thin, like an Anemone, this should be planted length-ways. 

Step 4 - Plant out into its final position in the garden in late spring or early summer once it has grown. Keep hydrated once in bloom!

Where to Plant Loose Roots

This will depend on your plant. If you're growing a rose bush, then you might want them in the flower bed. If it's a perennial, you might fancy it closer to the border, or in your favourite patio pot.

Why do we establish our roots in pots first? Well, firstly, it's easier to see where the plant is once it has grown slightly. This stops you from accidentally digging it up when preparing your gardens for the season. Secondly, some loose roots, such as Anemones, are quite small and to a bird, they look like worms. So then you've lost the root to a bird, and come summer you're wondering where on earth it is!