i have raspberry canes and a gooseberry plant I have bought through my allotment which have been delivered, they are not in soil and the roots are in a plastic bag.

I also have 3 rhubarb plants I have had to dig up out of an old rotted raised bed.

I am in the UK so it is heading into winter now, how long can I keep these fruit plants out of the soil before I need to plant them and what is the best way to store them until I have the ground ready to replant. Would I be best off potting them up for now through the winter and then replanting into the ground in the spring?


You'd be best off planting them asap, but if the ground's not prepared you obviously can't. Either way, depending where you are in the UK and how bad this winter is, you should get them planted this winter because now is the time to plant bare root rather than waiting till spring, that way they've got time to settle in before it gets dry in spring/summer. The only time you can't plant bare root between November and February is if the ground is either waterlogged or frozen. The latter is a very rare circumstance in the UK these days, but the former, well, much more common in some parts, its been very wet.

In the meantime, dig a trench and heel them in - that just means popping the roots into the soil and covering them over to keep the alive and protected, without being concerned about spacing etc., its just to protect the roots rather than expecting them to grow. That'll work for 4-6 weeks.

  • Thank you allotment is pretty waterlogged at the moment (I have taken on a plot at the bottom of a steep mountain side) it hasn’t had any love or care for several years so in the process of digging drainage and removing all the old rotten wood, carpet etc. had some nice big pots so have potted them all up and put in the greenhouse for now to protect from the worst of the winter. – Richard C Nov 24 '19 at 16:33

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