**Abstract** : We develop two different methods to achieve subexponential time parameterized algorithms for problems on sparse directed graphs. We exemplify our approaches with two well studied problems. For the first problem, {\sc $k$-Leaf Out-Branching}, which is to find an oriented spanning tree with at least $k$ leaves, we obtain an algorithm solving the problem in time $2^{O(\sqrt{k} \log k)} n+ n^{O(1)}$ on directed graphs whose underlying undirected graph excludes some fixed graph $H$ as a minor. For the special case when the input directed graph is planar, the running time can be improved to $2^{O(\sqrt{k})}n + n^{O(1)}$. The second example is a generalization of the {\sc Directed Hamiltonian Path} problem, namely {\sc $k$-Internal Out-Branching}, which is to find an oriented spanning tree with at least $k$ internal vertices. We obtain an algorithm solving the problem in time $2^{O(\sqrt{k} \log k)} + n^{O(1)}$ on directed graphs whose underlying undirected graph excludes some fixed apex graph $H$ as a minor. Finally, we observe that for any $\epsilon>0$, the {\sc $k$-Directed Path} problem is solvable in time $O((1+\epsilon)^k n^{f(\epsilon)})$, where $f$ is some function of $\ve$. Our methods are based on non-trivial combinations of obstruction theorems for undirected graphs, kernelization, problem specific combinatorial structures and a layering technique similar to the one employed by Baker to obtain PTAS for planar graphs.