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Shallow Root Perennials

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Perennials are plants that live at least 2 to 3 years. Shallow-rooted perennials are low-maintenance plants with multiple roots growing near the soil surface. There are many shallow-rooted perennials.


Shallow-rooted perennials include the purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Egyptian onions (Allium proliferu L.). The purple loosestrife is indigenous to Europe with approximately 50 stems. Yarrow takes 2 years to mature and is native to Europe. Egyptian onions are fall season perennials that originated in the Northern Hemisphere.

Growing Conditions

Perennials with shallow roots require 1 inch of water per week. When rainfall is sparse, using a soaker hose enables the plant to receive the proper amount of moisture. Shallow-rooted perennials need light mulching, as heavy mulching causes these types of plants to smother and die.


Shallow-rooted perennials planted over septic tanks or drain fields help disguise the placement of unsightly equipment. Gardeners use shallow-rooted perennials for groundcover. Some shallow-rooted perennials, such as onions, are edible and grown as agricultural crops.

Shallow-root Perennials

The nature of the root system makes shallow-rooted perennials a beneficial addition to locations in your garden where you can't risk damage from root penetration, such as when planting over a septic system. Options for sun to part shade include periwinkle (Vinca minor), which grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, a low-growing, shallow-rooted ground cover with blue flowers and dark green leaves. Shallow-rooted perennials require protection from frost. which all grow well in USDA zones 3 through 8, require careful attention in winter and planting in well-drained beds. Mulching benefits shallow-rooted perennials, providing protection to the roots that rest just below the surface. Don't mulch too heavily, however. Rhododendrons (Azalea spp. ),

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