Cart
Welcome to Gurney's! Free Shipping on any order of $75 or more TODAY! Click hereClick here
Gurney's Offer
Free Shipping on any order of $75 or more TODAY!

Free Shipping on order of $75 or more

SAVE NOW!
Gurney's Offer
Free Shipping on any order of $75 or more TODAY!
X

Following the cycles of nature is a great path to success.

When gardening, there are many ways to let nature help guide your efforts. This is especially true when planting your favorite fruit tree or berry bush. By planting in the dormant stage, you allow a plant to follow nature's cues. It will root in and leaf out when the soil and air temperature indicate it is time. In addition, shipping in the dormant stage is the best way for Gurney's to deliver a healthy and happy plant that is ready to grow and fruit.

What is a dormant plant?

Dormancy is brought on by several factors. Dry weather and freezing temperatures are the most common triggers. Regardless of the cause, dormancy is a state of decreased metabolic activity. When daylight starts to decrease, and temperatures begin to drop, your plants slowly cease production of new tissue and harden off the current year's growth. Leaves change color and drop, and the plant appears to stop growing. Although the plant seems to be resting, the roots are still actively growing in the winter months and will continue to do so until soil temperatures reach the mid 30s.

Dormant provides a proven path to fruitful plantings

  • Dormant plants have higher survival rates.
  • They can be planted right away if the soil can be worked, and cold temperatures will not affect them.
  • Dormant/bareroot plants acclimate to your native soil better than potted plants.

For the gardener, dormant plants have many advantages over potted plants. To begin with, a plant shipped dormant has a much better chance of arriving to your home in good shape—there are no leaves or flowers to break during shipping. Next, you don't have to wait for favorable growing conditions. Your dormant fruit tree or berry is fine planted in late winter or early spring. It will start developing new roots long before it leafs out. By contrast, an actively growing plant requires more attention to temperature, water and the timing of planting.

Pictured above is a dormant apple tree and its growth two years after planting. Dormant plants establish more quickly and are more resilient.

BEST SELLERS

Are there advantages over potted plants sold in stores?

Potted plants aren't bad—many vegetables and annual flowers are best planted as potted plants. And tomatoes, petunias and many other annuals are not available in a dormant condition. But here are definite advantages to dormant plants.

  • Dormant plants acclimate naturally and establish sooner, which may lead to earlier fruiting in the tree's life cycle.
  • The potential for stronger growth is higher because dormant plants have more stored energy to draw from and are ready to take off when the growing season arrives. By contrast actively growing potted plants have already expended much of their energy and have fewer reserves to use for acclimation.
  • Dormant plants have a stronger root system. With a potted plant, you never know when it might have dried out and experienced root loss. Our dormant plants are stored under optimum conditions, assuring you a healthy plant that, when planted, will break dormancy when conditions are ideal.

This alien looking dormant rhubarb won't cause any issues. Look for a large, well-hydrated bareroot as seen here.

As the old saying goes:
"Don't judge a book by its cover!"
When it comes to gardening, good things come to those who wait.
In short, all that's needed is a little faith in nature and to remember that our plants
have been grown, cared for and stored properly to ensure your success.

What's with these funky looking roots?

If you are used to receiving cute, little leafed-out plants, dormant plants may leave you wondering about the odd look of some of these offerings. Alien-looking asparagus, leafless strawberries and bareroot fruit trees can be off putting. No need to worry. Once you get over the shock, get your plants in the ground and see the resulting healthy plants, you will be convinced.

Planting a dormant root will let you enjoy a healthier crop and excellent flavor like this AsparaBest® Asparagus.

Should my plant look like this?

Sometimes judging the health of a dormant plant can be difficult.
Here's a quick guide to make sure your package has arrived in ready-to-plant condition.

Perennials Plants

  • Dormant perennials often have brown roots, sometimes white. Regardless of color, the roots and crown should be plump and hydrated. You don't want dehydrated roots that flake off easily or wet, slimy roots with rot setting in.

  • Sometimes, but not always, the crown of the plant will have an eye where that year's growth will emerge. It could have white, green or beige buds—or even leaves ready to spring forth.

  • White or light-colored coatings are common on dormant perennials. This is generally not a concern as long as your roots are otherwise healthy. This type of storage mold grows on the old tissue of the root and can be brushed off easily.

  • Check out our
    comprehensive
    PERENNIAL
    PLANTING GUIDES

    for even more information
    and videos!

Trees

  • Dormant fruit trees are usually a bareroot plant. They will have varying degrees of branching, from a single-stemmed whip to a well-branched young tree. Look for even branching and well-developed roots.

  • Even though they are stored without soil on their roots, our system of storage ensures that dormant fruit trees stay healthy and hydrated until they reach your garden.

  • The stems of trees should be firm and smooth with no deep wrinkles in the skin. Buds should be plump and firm. Don't worry about a white fuzz at the tips of branches, especially on dormant apple trees. This is a protective, pubescent layer and causes no harm.

  • Check out our
    comprehensive
    TREE
    PLANTING GUIDES

    for even more information
    and videos!

Berries

  • Fruiting shrubs such as blueberries should have healthy, vigorous root system and well-hydrated stems with no rotten or dead branches. Buds should be plump and full.

  • Bareroot cane fruit will have vigorous roots and an unbranched stem of varying thickness. Buds are often visible on the stem, especially closer to the roots.

  • Check out our
    comprehensive
    BERRIES
    PLANTING GUIDES

    for even more information
    and videos!

Strawberry Plants

  • The roots of strawberry plants should be long, thin and limber. Some will be more fibrous than others. There should be no rot, and roots should not easily break.

  • The crown is the thick part of the plant. It starts where the roots attach and continues up to the growing point where the leaves emerge. The crown should be firm, not spongy or showing signs of rot. Tiny leaves may or may not be seen at the base of the growing point.

  • Check out our
    comprehensive
    STRAWBERRY
    PLANTING GUIDES

    for even more information
    and videos!

Asparagus

  • Asparagus has thin, fleshy roots that emerge from a central crown. These root tips sometimes seem dehydrated and dead; however, when planted they will leaf out and be fine. Excessive moisture is more harmful during storage than dry conditions.

  • Check out our comprehensive
    ASPARAGUS
    PLANTING GUIDES

    for even more information
    and videos!

Miscellaneous Roots and Tubers

  • In general, don't worry about the white dusting of storage mold on roots and tubers. This is natural. Items should be firm and healthy looking with no internal rot or soft spots.

  • Check out our comprehensive
    PLANTING GUIDES
    for even more information
    and videos!

Up
Close

Get tips on selecting the best products for your garden!

Gurneys Vegetables

Plus, Free Shipping on your $75+ order.

Oops, there seems to be an error, please re-enter your email address.

Sign up for Gurney's emails for tips on growing your best garden yet, and save hundreds of dollars with our email exclusive offers on vegetables, fruits, fertilizers and more.

Gurney's respect your privacy. Unsubscribe anytime.

close Pop Up