Amsonia, Baptisia, and Liatris: Why Bare Root is Better


Along the coast of Lake Michigan, we are blessed with sandy loam soil and reliable snow cover. Conditions are ideal for growing many kinds of perennials in our fields. Consequently, we are able to offer our customers over 400 varieties of bare root perennials. Perennials such as daylilies and hostas hold obvious advantages in bare root form, but here are a few bare root perennials you may have overlooked: Amsonia, Baptisia, and Liatris.

Amsonia Bare Root

#1 grade bare root Amsonia offers tremendous value over plugs. With 5-8 eyes, it fills out a 1-gal container beautifully.

Amsonia (Blue Star)

Walters Gardens, Inc. is one of few, if not the only, wholesale grower in the US who offers bare root Amsonia. Though we've tried growing Amsonia in plugs, since switching to bare root we've been astounded by the difference in quality. The number of "eyes" (growing points) on a #1 grade bare root Amsonia ranges from 5-8 compared to just 1 or 2 in plug form. They finish beautifully in a 1-gal container, forming a full and bushy plant. Now that's value!

Baptisia Bare Root

Our #1 grade bare root Baptisia has 5-8 eyes, so the finished product looks fantastic in a 1-gal container.

Baptisia (False Indigo)

Since Baptisia cannot be imported from overseas, it's important to find a reliable American supplier. Though it might seem natural to grow this North American native in the field rather than in a greenhouse, few, if any, wholesale growers in the US other than Walters Gardens, Inc. offer bare root Baptisia. This crop thrives in the sandy loam soil of West Michigan. A typical #1 grade Baptisia has 5-8 "eyes" (growing points) compared to just 1 or 2 in plug form. These bare root liners finish much nicer in a container than their smaller plug-grown counterparts, offering a great value for the end consumer.

Liatris Bare Root

Liatris s. 'Kobold Original' (Vegetative Selection) is a shorter cultivar that offers uniformity in height compared to the seed strain.

Liatris spicata 'Kobold Original' (Gayfeather, Blazing Star)

Though the seed form of Liatris 'Kobold' has been around for years, some of our customers were looking for a more consistent strain with a more predictable height. In response, we began to propagate the true vegetative strain, 'Kobold Original'. Though its flowers are just like 'Kobold', the vegetative form offers a shorter, more uniform height of just 14 inches compared to the variable 18-30 inch height of the seed strain. Since our stock is completely from division, not seed, the plants you receive will be much more consistent in appearance and will be more compact for shipping purposes.

If you have questions about our bare root products, we would be happy to talk with you. Please give us a call at 1-888-925-8377 or e-mail us at