You may have seen the term “bare root plants” in nursery catalogs and websites and wondered what it means. Basically, it’s exactly what it sounds like: Plants are shipped without soil or a container. These plants are dug and divided in the fall, then kept in cold storage until shipped in the spring. You’ll see perennials, shrubs, roses, vines, perennial edibles such as asparagus, and young trees sold as bare root plants—but not annuals because they only live for one season.
But what’s the point? Well, for starters, it’s much cheaper to purchase bare root plants because, obviously, you don’t have all the extra weight and complications of shipping in a container. That means you can add to your garden on a budget and in a hurry! Also, these plants still are in a dormant state when you receive them, so you can plant them earlier in the season than mature plants. This gives them an extended period of time to get established during their first year in the ground.
Curious about adding a few bare root plants to your garden? Here’s everything you need to know about planting and caring for them, plus eight plants you can buy now to get started.