Budget Gardening with Bare Root Nursery Stock

Landscape plants of all kinds: flowering shrubs, English Garden hostas, bleeding hearts, lily of the valley, and dozens more start out their life in the nursery as bare root plant stock. These unattractive plants, roots and bulbs are then potted and grown until they become the attractive full grown plants that are sold in landscape nurseries and garden centers. Like the ugly duckling at birth, they are transformed into a white swan.

Planting this nursery root-stock now can save fifty to eighty per-cent over mature plants purchased later in May. Likewise, plant material purchased locally is larger and of higher grade than dried out catalog starters purchased by mail or internet. If you find a picture you like in a mail order garden catalog, take it to the Grass Pad. They probably have it and can tell you if it will do well in the Midwest.

English garden hosta lilies are as close to “idiot proof” as a plant can get. These tufted leafy plants are grown for both their distinctive foliage and seasonal flowers. Their foliage will vary from deep green to bright yellow, as well as dozens of variegated combinations in between. Their leaves may be large, small, radial or oval.

Lily of the valley, bleeding hearts, and astilbe all do well in mixed shade and start from root stock. Tropical caladium bulbs and elephant ears also prefer a sheltered spot and will grow quickly in warm moist soil.

The beautiful Belladonna or Naked Lady may be purchased now as a bulb at a significant cost savings. A rainbow of flowering plants: begonias, cannas, daylilies, gladiolas, and dahlias may be planted now and will bloom this year.

An “idiot proof” bare root planting kit includes Grass Pad's Max Mix professional landscape mix. Max Mix should be worked into the soil to six or eight inches. Follow this with Uncle's Root Accelerator once at planting and again at thirty day intervals.

At mid summer, potted nursery plants will cost as much as twenty dollars. But right now bare root plants are easy to establish and represent a real value.