Unwins Seeds

Growing Bare Root Perennials

Geranium maculatum Espresso

Bare Roots

How to Grow Bare Root Perennials

Your Bare Root Perennials will arrive as a mass of roots while they’re in their dormant stage. Bare root perennials can be planted either in autumn or early to mid-spring where they will remain dormant until the soil warms from around April.

When they Arrive
As long as the ground is not waterlogged or frozen Bare Roots can be planted straight away (or within the next few days). Keep cool until planted.

Before Planting
It’s a good idea to give them a soak in a bucket of cold water for a couple of hours prior to planting, to make sure the roots are hydrated.


  • Dig a hole that’s large enough to fit the entire root mass without any roots being broken, bent or emerging from the surface. It also needs to be deep enough to cover the roots with around half an inch of soil. Use any appropriate fertiliser to give the planting hole a boost.
  • Some bare roots will have shoots appearing on them already, but others may not. For those that don’t have shoots, they can be planted any way up and covered with around half an inch of soil. For those that do have shoots, make sure that they are facing upwards when planting and when covering the roots with soil be careful to not break them off.
  • Firm down the planted area gently with your hands.
  • Mark the planted area with a cane or plant label so that you know where they are. Until they start to grow they’re almost invisible to spot!
  • Give the planted area a good soak with water straight away after planting. 

Geranium maculatum Espresso

Until your Perennials are established, water them once a week or more frequently if required during very hot weather.

Tall plants may require some support once they reach full height in the summer. They can be tied to canes or plant supports. For best results, provide a support for your tall plant to grow through whilst they’re still small as it tends to look more natural and prevents breakages to the stems.

Some perennials benefit from regular dead-heading during the summer. It keeps them looking fresh and encourages the growth of new flowers. Look out for dead flowers on plants and snip them off as and when you see them.

Once your perennial has stopped flowering in the autumn, use secateurs to cut the stems down to 1” above the soil surface, or cut back in early spring. Remember to mark where your plant is growing if you can’t see it afterwards. Providing it had a successful first season, it will grow back the following summer.



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