Unique or Atypical Rooting Habits of Certain
B Ca Ce
Recently Added Plants
These plant 'groups' will rarely
be 'rooted in' to a quart pot due to their growth habits.
number of Perennials have Tuberous Roots.
They have few to almost no hair or feeder roots. Because of
this, they don't 'root in' to a quart pot the way most Perennials
do. If they appear to be rooted in, it's because the tuberous
roots have become twisted and scrunched! They should be
loosened when planted. These plants, in general are meant to
send their tuberous roots deep 'straight' down into the soil -- not
around and around in a pot.
If you'll look
at this photo of Acanthus 'New Zealand Gold' freshly dug from the
garden -- it has almost no hair roots -- much like a carrot.
So you would not expect to find Acanthus 'rooted in' to a quart pot.
That would be foreign to it's nature.
Examples: Acanthus, Asclepias tuberosa,
Dictamnus (early on), Goodyeara
Bulbous and some Tuberous Rooted - Plants that
emerge from Bulbs or Tubers loose all feeder/hair roots each year and re-grow
them, so early in the season (and once they've gone dormant again),
they have no roots at all. (Think of a mesh bag of Daffodils
in a garden center -- when dormant that don't have nor need roots.)
Alliums, Agapanthus, Arisaema, Begonias, Claytonia, Crocosmia, Cyclamen, Dicentra cucullaria, D. canadensis,
Dierama, Erythronium, Gladiolus, Mertensia,
Woodland & Diminutive Plants - Many small
woodland plants come under the above but others are just diminutive
plants that, due to size, would take forever to roots into a quart.
Examples: Ophiopogon (Dwarf
Form), Mitchella, Medeola,
Ferns - Many ferns loose
much or all of their feeder
roots over winter and don't start to grow new roots until they start
growing foliage, so in Spring have few feeder roots.
Plants with 'Running Roots'
-- Some ferns, some Tiarellas, at least one Shrub, Viburnum
acerifolium send out runner type roots, often with few hair roots.
They have to be in a quart pot for a very, very long time to fill it
with hair roots.
How to plant plants with little or no
Support the stem
between your index and middle finger so your palm, fingers are
supporting the top of the soil as you turn the plant over.
Remove the vertical (not leaning) pot near the already prepared
planting hole, and gently turn the plant over into the hole.
There is generally enough compaction of soil, that even without
roots, if done gently, the soil ball stays intact. If it
doesn't, no worries! The plant has all the roots it needs
just less roots the 'we' might think they need! Just firm any loose soil that
falls off around it and water well to remove any air pockets.
The above very young plant will eventually get a full pot of
roots but just for photo purposes, we're showing it with almost no
roots so you can see that even with no visible hair roots on the
side, plants can be removed with the soil ball intact. (We do
this all the time to check on the progress of roots for shipping, so
our staff can flip them over, pop them out and back without even
thinking about it!)
And while we have you
thinking about roots, here's our thoughts on...
Pot Bound Plants vs. Heavily Rooted
-- There is widely divergent thoughts on this topic! Our
opinion, based on much experience, is this: A heavily rooted
Perennial or even shrub in a QUART pot is rarely a problem and lots
of roots are often an asset. A strongly rooted plant in
a quart is MUCH different than a very strongly rooted plant in a 3-5
gallon pot. If you would see plugs, they're often just packed
with roots but are young and quite intent on growing roots and as
soon as they go in a quart pot they take right off.
Just loosen the roots some, so the plant knows it's free from the pot
and plant. Please don't assume that because a plant is heavily
rooted that it's old and of poor quality -- Aster tataricus and it's dwarf from 'Jindai'
are strongly, strongly rooted into quarts almost as soon as they
start sending up their massive foliage BUT we've planted this plant
in the ground
when the pot was so full of roots it was bulged out of the pot and
had almost no soil left and it just hit the ground growing.
If you don't like heavy
roots, may we suggest ordering in spring when that's less likely.
Waiting until Fall with quarts plants, you can expect that most will
be strongly rooted. It doesn't take long for a plant to root
into a quart, and by Fall many have strong, strong roots and lots of
This on the other hand is bad. When the pot (usually old shrubs in
is so full of roots that they have started to grow around and around
the pot, that's a girdled plant and that's not good. Those roots do need to be untangled, unwound or, if
not possible, cut. But that happens with old plants that have
been in a pot a long time.