Which plants work as bare root?

Which plants work as bare root?

When it comes to selecting plants for your garden, choosing bare root options is both practical and cost-effective. Bare root plants, cultivated without soil around their roots, offer an alternative to potted plants and can be an excellent option for various garden needs. Let's explore different categories and specific plant species to help you make informed decisions for your garden.

Bare Root Hedging

Bare root hedging is a budget-friendly solution for creating dense screens and privacy barriers in your garden. These plants are typically available during their dormant season and can be planted in late autumn through early spring. Here are some recommended species:

Recommended Species:


  • Laurel: Known for its dense foliage and fast growth, laurel is perfect for creating thick, evergreen hedges.
  • Beech: Offers beautiful autumn colour and retains its coppery leaves throughout winter, providing year-round interest.
  • Hornbeam: Similar to beech but more tolerant of wet conditions, hornbeam forms a strong, attractive hedge.
  • Privet: Small bright leaves that are retained year round and a dense growth habit make privet a popular choice for gardens.
  • Blackthorn: Ideal for an 'edible hedge,' blackthorn produces sloe berries that attract wildlife.
  • Wild Cherry: Adds visual appeal with its spring blossoms and attracts birds with its fruit.
  • Rose Rugosa: A hardy shrub that provides vibrant flowers and hips, great for wildlife and adding colour to hedges.

Bare Root Shrubs

Bare root shrubs are ideal for gardeners seeking vibrant foliage, flowers, and fragrances without breaking the bank. Planting these during their dormant period allows them to establish quickly in the spring. Here are some excellent choices:

Recommended Species:

  • Cornus (Dogwood): Known for its striking winter stem color, Cornus adds visual interest during the colder months.
  • Mahonia Aquifolium: This evergreen shrub provides bright yellow flowers in early spring and attractive, holly-like foliage.

Bare Root Trees

Introducing height and atmosphere to your garden can be affordable with bare root trees. These trees are available during the dormant season and can be planted in late autumn to early spring. Here are some popular options:

Recommended Species:

  • Nordmann Fir: A popular choice for Christmas trees, Nordmann Fir has soft, glossy needles and a classic conical shape.
  • Scots Pine: Known for its long needles and rugged appearance, Scots Pine adds a touch of the wild to your garden.
  • Willow: Fast-growing and graceful, willows are excellent for damp areas and can create a soothing garden feature.
  • Elder: Produces fragrant flowers and dark berries, attracting wildlife and adding seasonal interest.
  • Mountain Ash (Rowan): Known for its clusters of orange-red berries and attractive foliage, Mountain Ash is a great choice for adding height and color.

Bare Root Roses

Bare root roses are a practical choice for handling during their natural dormancy. These roses establish quickly and often bloom in their first year after planting. Here are some recommended varieties:

Recommended Species:

  • Dog Rose (Rosa canina): A vigorous wild rose with fragrant pink flowers and bright red hips, perfect for hedges and wildlife gardens.
  • Hedgerow Rose: A mix of various wild rose species, ideal for creating informal, wildlife-friendly hedges.

Bare Root Perennials

For a vibrant summer garden, consider planting bare root perennials. These plants can be ordered and planted during their dormant season, ready to burst into life come spring. Here are some great choices:

Recommended Species:

  • Agapanthus: Known for its striking blue or white flowers, Agapanthus adds a touch of the unusual to garden borders.
  • Astilbe: Provides feathery plumes of flowers in shades of pink, white, and red, thriving in moist, shady areas.
  • Hardy Geraniums: Low-maintenance and versatile, hardy geraniums offer a long flowering period and a range of colours.
  • Helenium: Known for its vibrant, daisy-like flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red, Helenium is great for late summer colour.
  • Peonies: Beloved for their large, fragrant blooms, peonies are a classic choice for perennial borders.

Deciduous vs. Evergreen Bare Root Plants

When planning your garden, it's essential to consider the differences between deciduous and evergreen bare root plants. Deciduous bare root plants will be leafless during the colder months (November to March), but will offer a more dynamic range of flowers and colours over the year. Evergreens will be less dynamic but retain their leaves year round, offering better screening and fresh greens over winter. 


Plan your garden planting schedule considering the dormancy period and specific characteristics of bare root plants. Planting during the dormant season allows the plants to establish roots before the growing season begins.


Choosing bare root plants offers a practical and budget-friendly approach to cultivating a thriving garden. Whether you're looking to create a dense hedge, add vibrant shrubs, introduce majestic trees, or plant stunning perennials, bare root plants provide a diverse range of options. With proper care and planting, these plants can establish quickly and provide a rewarding gardening experience. Explore the diverse options available and tailor your selections based on your garden's needs and your preferences for a beautiful and flourishing garden.

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