Do you soak your bareroots?

gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)April 19, 2012

When you receive bareroot hostas, do you soak them before planting? If so, for how long, and what do you soak them in?

I soak mine for a few hours in water with liquid kelp added.

I've even had daylilies soaking for a day before I had time to pot them up, with no ill effects.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no problem with a few hours ... might even throw in 1/4 teaspoon of water soluable fert .. to a few gallons.. VERY WEAK ...

they need air.. so i would try to stand them up.. rather than float the whole ... but again.. a few hours doesnt matter ...

i would not .. if delay is necessary.. let them soak for days ...

i would put a half inch of water in a bucket.. stand the plants in it.. and wad newsprint around the petioles down into the water ... to soak up water.. and retain it... and put the bucket in a cool place ... even the basement if need be ... keep the roots cool and damp ... sorta like an old fashioned root cellar ...


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:23AM
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bernd ny zone5

I just got several last night, put them in a bucket with an inch of water and a little 20-20-20 from Peters. They are standing up with crowns way above the water in a cool spot. I will plant them in pots probably tonight.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:57AM
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I put them in water, about an inch, and let them soak while I prepare the sight. I'm so excited to get a new plant (and I don't buy that many) that I planted them the same day or the very next morning. All of the bare roots I bought last year are coming up.

About fertilizer - I added a little liquid fertilizer to soaking water for some dormant, bare root shrubs I bought once and they never leafed out. I had dead sticks in my yard for a year. So I am wary of the fertilizer - haven't used it on bare roots since and haven't had a problem since.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 12:15PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I don't buy bare-root plants,but when I did,I took them right to the garden,and planted them,roots side down,and green side up! Now,I only buy plants in pots when I can see them before buying. The rest of can do what you may,but I don't like mail order plants. The worst plants I ever got mail order were from Wade and Gatton,and I won't do it again! Phil

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Sorry you had a bad experience, Phil, and lucky for you to have a nice variety of plants being sold locally. Some of us, however can't do that. All but about 4 of my 80+ hostas are from mail order.

I normally plant mine the same day I get them so they just get to bathe for a short time while I prepare the pots. I do my greater buying in Spring and so most of mine arrive w/o formed leaves, just little white eyes.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Except for the chance I had ONCE of visiting a hosta/daylily nursery in Carlisle MA (Robert Seawright), my hosta are all mailorder. I rely on the experience reported here, and it's been good for me. No disappointments.

Because I tend to put off things occasionally, it is best for me to receive bare root plants. That way, I have NOT put off planting them for longer than one day. Into the pots they go. .

I generally unwrap the wet newsprint or the plastic baggie and the twist tie or rubber bands whether in pots or bareroot, to give them some air and check for wounds in shipping. If it requires the baggie to keep the name tags with the plants, I tear a hole in a bottom corner of the bag, put plant and tag back in, and set the bareroots in a high sided container close to the rest of the new arrivals.
With some water about two inches deep.

Taking a page from someone else on here, I bound the drooping leaves or petioles up until they became torgid was a small bushy hosta not a big guy, and it flopped--Zounds or Xanadu, cannot recall which at this moment. But it worked.

As hyper as I am about bringing HVX home with me, I'm rather glad there isn't a local nursery selling hosta. Not tempted then to make a drive-by for a quick fix when their HVX program could be non-existent. For sure I'm avoiding touching any hosta when I shop at Lowes/THDepot.

This morning, I spent a couple hours moving small hosta in their pots toward their future new home, fussing over the amount of sun/shade they get, watching the sun pattern gradually rise higher toward the overhead position it will have by June 21, Summer Solstice and longest day of the year. That's just the LONGEST day, not the hottest. The worst part of the summer will be ahead of us. I really want to give these plants every chance to survive and thrive. I consider they have odds against them to begin with, even if I do everything right. But it is gardening like I've never done before, more of a gamble, and I am enjoying the heck out of it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 4:12PM
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