Yes, they should have been growing roots first, before other parts.
Were the roots pot bound (going around and around the outside of the root ball) when you transplanted them? Did you loosen them up so all the roots were hanging down straight?
this is a severe case of root bound:
Did you make a big enough hole? The planting hole should be at least twice as wide as the root ball and a little bit deeper. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the hole for drainage. Put some loose soil in the bottom, put the plant in and fill in the hole with soft, loosened up dirt. Pack it down a little, water, add more dirt and pack down a little more, to get air pockets out.
How is the drainage? Has it been over watered or with water standing around the roots?
Have you ever had your soil tested? Phosphorus and potassium are necessary for good root development. Bone meal and rock phosphate are natural, slow-release sources of phosphorus. Kelp, granite meal, greensand are sources of potassium. If you are buying synthetic fertilizer, look for something that is high in the last two numbers, like 3-20-20 for root development.
That's all I can think of off hand, maybe others will have more ideas.