Return to the Perennials Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Any suggestions for plants with shallow roots?

Posted by beth_in_bend 5 (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 13, 09 at 22:33

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?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Any suggestions for plants with shallow roots?

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

RE: Any suggestions for plants with shallow roots?

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.

RE: Any suggestions for plants with shallow roots?

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. :)

RE: Any suggestions for plants with shallow roots?

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!

RE: Any suggestions for plants with shallow roots?

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!

RE: Any suggestions for plants with shallow roots?

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.

RE: Any suggestions for plants with shallow roots?

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.


RE: Any suggestions for plants with shallow roots?

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

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Perennials Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here