Any suggestions for plants with shallow roots?

beth_in_bendJune 13, 2009

Due to a disastrous landscaper's mistake, I have a slab of concrete buried about 8-12" deep in one very large corner of my very small garden. I would guess it's 8' x about 8'. We've tried digging up the concrete, but it extends under our lawn and it doesn't look like we're going to get it out. We just discovered it because the grasses that were planted there (blue fescue and Karl Foerster) just weren't thriving. Our problem is that this corner is a focal point with a pre-fab fountain in that area. I would really like to plant around the fountain. Will anything survive in this area? Are there any perennials that have shallow roots and can deal with the poor drainage? We really don't want to make a raised bed, but if we have to, how deep should the soil be for proper root establishment?

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I forgot to mention that this corner is in full sun.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 10:37PM
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We had a brick patio buried beneath our little garden when we moved in. Daylilies and hostas were growing like crazy in full sun with no care at all.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 10:13AM
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davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))

For 8-12" I would recommend using annuals. If you don't want to grow them every year, pick some that are good in self seeding.

Or use hardy or half-hardy annuals so you can sow the seeds early. This might mean a little work each year, but the plus side is you can change your design every year. :)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 10:18AM
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Thank you very much for the input. I don't know a thing about sowing seeds (yet) but I love the idea of daylillies and hostas around the fountain. I will give them a try!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 5:09PM
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northerngirl_mi(Z5 MI)

Hmmmm - trying to remember from when I divide perennials -
I 'think' that the following all have fairly shallow roots - black eyed susans (rudbeckia), shasta daisy, corepsis zagreb, garden phlox, monarda, achillea, perennial geraniums... if your soil depth is 12 inches, I think most of these might be okay (?). However, you also mentioned possible drainage problems - can't talk about that, as I have very well drained, sandy loam....

of course, as already mentioned, annuals would have shallow roots systems...

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 9:13PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

I double dig beds to about a foot. Below that is compacted clay, if they are lucky. Bedrock if they aren't. Most perennials don't have any trouble with the conditions. They just don't go down that deep. Blue fescue specifically is one I have growing on rock.

So what is the real problem, drainage?

Once you figure out the real problem, then you can plant things that can deal with it. Until then, you are just groping in the dark.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 9:23PM
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Bog sage - salvia ulignosa
Perennial ageratum
Itea virginica 'Little Henry'
Canna (may have to lift in winter)
Butterfly Ginger (may have to lift in winter in your zone)

Those all like moist, even boggy soil and full sun. You'll have to check zones as I'm in 7b. All are even deer resistant, if that's an issue.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 9:28PM
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All type of plants that are Suitable for growing in containers will work.

The link below may be useful, it is search for all containers plant available at davesgarden site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Suitable for growing in containers

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 9:58PM
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