Bare root plants are dormant - not actively growing. Plants are dug up and stored without any soil around their roots.
Buying plants "bare root" is the most affordable way to order plants. They enable customers to buy at a fraction of the expense of containerized plants, mainly due to the cost of shipping.
We ship bare root stock in the "dormant" season when plants do not have leaves, foliage, or blooms. All our bare root stock is dug fresh to order. See how we package our plants here.
If you haven't worked with bare root plants, dormant plants might look dead. But there are ways to tell it's alive and healthy. The most effective is a scratch test.
Bare-Root Plants: Before and After
Trees: Below (left) is an example of how our bare root crepe myrtles (or any trees) will look when we ship them. They will be dormant, without foliage. Plant these trees in cool weather, and in the spring, your tree should look like the picture on the right - when planted and cared for properly in late spring.
Shrubs: On the left is a picture of the shrubs - packaged as they will look when received. The picture to the right is how they will look the following spring if taken care of.
Perennials: The ones on the left are dormant, and the right picture is how they will look the following spring when planted and cared for properly.
Ferns: Our bare root ferns are shipped just like our perennials. At time of shipment (left). The following season (right).
Berry plants:The picture below shows berry plants (left) in a dormant stage without leaves, blooms, or berries. Plant as soon as you receive them; in the spring, they will "green out" and produce (right)
Ground Cover Plants: On the left is how the ground cover plant will look at shipment. On the right is how they will look the following spring!
Grass plugs: We do not ship grasses in colder months due to the tops being gone. Also, we will not ship a grass species without identifying it. These are grown in large fields with other species of carex and other grasses; it is best to wait for warmer months when identification is possible.
Performing a Scratch Test.
Need planting instructions? We provide both a written version and videos: