Herbaceous Plants – Root Protection

Root System

During the growing season, all herbaceous plants are sold as green plants. The Root system must be well developed and correspond to the species/cultivar and its age and growth rates under the cultural and soil conditions within which it is growing. The system must show a good balance between the growing parts, i.e. the buds and the roots and no physiological damage. This is especially important for plants grown from divisions.

Plants which have been stored in cool conditions must have good viability, must not have dried out and must be free from fungal infections. Perennials from cold store which are potted and grown on must have established a strong and vigorous root system before sale. Perennials which are delivered out of cold storage after 1st May must be designated as cooled plants. The root system must not be allowed to dry out at any time.

Root Protection

Herbaceous perennials can be supplied in:

  • containers
  • clumps/roots

Container or pot-grown

Plants grown in pot or container should have a good root system applicable to the species/cvs.  Plants sold in growth must stand well and upright in the pot or container,  with the pot or container filled to at least 90% with plant roots and soil and the compost must be moist.  The surface of the growing medium shall be free of all weeds.

It should be stated whether plants shall be supplied in rigid containers or polybags.

Container grown plants are defined by ‘C’ followed my a number indicating the volume in litres, e.g. C5.  Small container sizes (less than 2 litres) are referred to as Pots.  Pot grown plants are defined by P followed by a number indicating the upper, outside width in cm., e.g. P9.


If perennials are supplied as clumps/roots then the plants must have a good balance between the growing parts – the buds and the root system.  The buds, whether visible or not, must not be damaged in any way.

The root system must not be allowed to dry out at any time and the clump/roots must be wrapped or protected by material which retains moisture within the root mass.