Can perennials grow through landscape fabric?

Perennials face challenges growing through landscape fabric. While they can push through to some degree, growth may be restricted in undesirable ways. The type of fabric and plant selection are critical factors for success.

Perennials Can Grow — With Compromise

Some perennials like rhizomes can push through landscape fabric easily. But perennials with shallower roots often struggle.

Perennials can technically grow through fabric, but that growth may be:

  • Stunted: Roots can become constricted, limiting nutrients and water.
  • Misshapen: Roots may grow at abnormal angles due to fabric resistance.
  • Brittle: Reduced microbe activity can weaken cell walls, making roots fragile.

Fabric Choice Is Key

Permeable landscape fabric allows water, air, and nutrients to pass through, aiding roots. Non-permeable fabric blocks these necessities, hindering growth.

When choosing fabric:

  • Select permeable options for best perennial performance.
  • Look for larger pore sizes to aid shallow roots.

Avoid non-permeable polypropylene and use porous alternatives when possible.

Planting & Care Tips

  • Plant close to fabric edge for roots to push through easier.
  • Water regularly to help roots develop before encountering fabric resistance.
  • Check roots periodically; cut holes in restrictive areas if needed.
  • Plant deeply and in wide holes for optimum root spread before hitting fabric.
  • Consider compatibility with pruning tools to avoid damaging fabric.


While perennials can technically grow through landscape fabric, gardeners must weigh the tradeoffs. Restricted root growth and distorted shapes are common, especially with shallow-rooted perennials. Choosing the right permeable fabric and careful planting and maintenance can boost success rates. But in many cases, the healthiest perennials result from soil preparation without landscape fabric barriers.


Can hostas grow through landscape fabric?
Hostas can grow through landscape fabric, but their shallow root systems often struggle. Their roots may become constricted or deformed as they encounter fabric resistance. Permeable fabric and regular watering can help, but growth will likely be reduced.

What about lavender?
Lavender is a shallow-rooted perennial that can have difficulty pushing roots through landscape fabric. They perform best in well-drained, nutrient-rich soils without fabric barriers. If using fabric, select a porous option and water diligently to aid root growth. Even then, lavender size may be diminished.

Will daylilies push through landscape fabric?
Daylilies have thick, fleshy roots that can generally push through landscape fabrics. They perform best in highly permeable fabrics with large pore sizes. Regular watering and large spacing between plants will also boost their success rate through fabrics.

Daffodils and tulips through fabric – any issues?
Daffodils and tulips are bulb plants rather than true perennials. They perform best when planted at the proper depth in unrestricted soil. Planting through landscape fabric can reduce bulb moisture, nutrient uptake and flower production. If using fabric, ensure it is porous and position bulbs as close as possible to the fabric edge.

Are iris roots tough enough to break through landscape cloth?
Yes, iris rhizomes are robust enough to push roots through most landscape fabrics. They perform best in porous, large-pored fabrics with regular watering. Irises produce new fans of leaves each year from their rhizomes. As long as these can emerge above the fabric, iris clumps can remain healthy and push new roots through restrictive layers.


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