> Our Story

We Believe Plants Matter

At Naked Root, we believe the extraordinary regenerative power of plants can heal the mind, body, and planet.

About Naked Root

Hi there, I’m Frank Catalano and I’m here with my wife Lisa. Together, we’re the founders of Naked Root. We’re honored that you’ve come to learn more about us and our lineup of revolutionary new planters.

One day, about 40 years ago, I was staring out the window of an engineering class at the University of Connecticut when I saw a group of students gathering around a tree. I wondered, “What are those kids up to? Because it looked like a lot more fun than listening to my engineering lectures.

So after class, I walked down the hill and talked to a professor. The next day, I switched my major from engineering to horticulture. And I’ve never looked back.

Plants became my passion, and my entire adult life has revolved around plants in one way or another. But I always retained the curiosity and creative problem-solving instincts of an engineer. And 40 years later, the engineer and the horticulturist converged to bring a revolutionary new product to the world.

Check Out Our Garden

A Life-Changing Moment

A little over a decade ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had surgery to remove the cancer, but when signs of it reappeared, the doctors wanted me to undergo radiation therapy. But Lisa and I turned to nature instead.

With a plant-based diet heavy in microgreens, some lifestyle changes, and endless support from my amazing wife, I’ve successfully held cancer at bay while feeling happier and healthier than I ever had before.

With our plant-centric view of the world and our endless optimism and enthusiasm for life, you might call us modern-day hippies! But we can’t avoid the simple fact that, since turning to plants as our exclusive food source, we’ve come to appreciate life on a deeper level.

We believe fully in the extraordinary regenerative power of plants to heal the mind, body, and planet.

At Naked Root, we believe that if we all turned to plants, we’d all be much happier and healthier.

By relying on plants, we could save critical fresh water supplies, combat global warming and even reverse much of the damage we’ve done to the environment.

At our home, we grow as much of our own food as possible. In fact, it’s in our garden that we found the inspiration for the Naked Root planter. And together, we set out on a 5-year journey to engineer an indoor planter that allows plants to grow happy and healthy, like they do in nature.

Here’s how it all happened…

Check Out Our Garden

We Love Our Garden 😊

The Naked Root Story

The Inspiration

As Lisa and I set out to accomplish our dream of growing our own food, we took an experimental approach to everything. We tried out every tool, method, and theory for growing healthier, more productive crops.

But one thing that always stood out to us was fabric grow bags. Consistently, year after year, we found that fruit-bearing plants grown in fabric grow bags outperformed every other option, even the plants we grew in our raised planting beds.

On the surface, a grow bag seems like a big planter, right? But we had read studies about the impact of oxygen on roots, so we knew that the secret of fabric grow bags lay in their ability to breathe.

At the same time, in our own home we suffered some of the same struggles everyone faces with houseplants– sometimes they thrived; sometimes they died…and almost always, it was hard to tell why. It was a guessing game.

But once Lisa and I thought about it in the light of fabric grow bags, everything started to make sense…

This causes two big problems

1. Root Rot – When you water your plant before the soil at the bottom dries out, those roots are constantly wet. This means they never get the oxygen they need to thrive, creating ideal conditions for anaerobic root disease (root rot) to develop. Root rot is the #1 cause of houseplant death.

2. Inefficient, Strangling Roots – Roots want to grow. They NEED to grow. But in a conventional planter, they have nowhere to grow. So roots circle the planter, twisting around each other and eventually choking the plant. These thick fleshy roots do a poor job of taking up nutrients, water, and oxygen because they lack productive root hairs, known as feeder roots, which are abundant in nature.

I knew that fabric growth bags could solve BOTH of these problems. But they weren’t a practical or attractive way to grow plants on your windowsill or kitchen table. Plus, they require near-constant watering because they dry out so fast.

So I had a few challenges to overcome…

The Design Challenges

The goal was to create a planter that mimics how plants grow in nature by simulating the natural “breathing” of roots when they exchange water with oxygen. This would make root rot highly unlikely and help plant owners easily grow healthy, beautiful plants.

But we also wanted it to be low-maintenance, which means not having to water it too frequently. And, of course, it had to look great too. Lisa’s eye for design wouldn’t let this engineer push through any designs she wouldn’t be proud to display in her own living room!

Once We Started Playing With Concepts, We Ran Into A Few Challenges Right Away:

  • Roots need access to oxygen, but oxygen dries out soil quickly. So, you need a large water reservoir to keep the plant hydrated and reduce the need for frequent watering. But large reservoirs usually mean submerged roots, which leads to root rot.
  • To grow healthier plants, you need to have abundant healthy roots, primarily root hairs, which are the tiny receptors of water, oxygen, and nutrients found at the tips of roots (feeder roots)

Solving these 2 problems took us four years of experimentation and over 34 prototypes. We’ve worked with multiple engineers to develop our proprietary Root Zone Oxygen System that delivers the perfect ratio of water, soil, and oxygen to plant roots to:

  • Rapidly & efficiently translocate water to all regions of the root zone.
  • Allow the soil to dry evenly from top to bottom.
  • Prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.
  • Grow a robust, highly efficient, and productive root system.

Our Innovative Solution

The Naked Root planter is the end result of all those years of prototyping, research, and development. And we're proud to bring it to the world to help folks like you grow more (and healthier) plants!

To learn more about how this revolutionary planter works, visit our How it Works page.

To see how it makes plant care incredibly easy, visit our How to Use page.

Or, just get your own Root Zone Oxygen planter and see just how easy it can be to grow beautiful plants!

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