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lavender: buy now or wait till spring?

(20 Posts)
NotAnEMERGENCY Wed 02-Nov-16 08:48:49

I now have an empty border waiting to be filled with plants! I'm intending to get a choisya and a viburnum (both 5l pots) from best4hedging next week. Should I also get lavender (2l pot) now or would it be best to wait till spring?

shovetheholly Wed 02-Nov-16 08:51:56

I would wait on the lavender - most varieties are tough but may not appreciate winter wetness if we get loads of rain. I'm in a really wet area, though!

NotAnEMERGENCY Wed 02-Nov-16 09:01:53

Right - will definitely wait then. Thanks!

NotAnEMERGENCY Wed 02-Nov-16 11:54:51

I presume for the following it's best to wait till spring too?

Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' (1.5l)
Cistus x purpureus (2l)
Liriope muscari (1.5l)

They are evergreen but as they're not woody (like choisya & viburnum) I'm guessing it'd be better to wait. I just don't want to miss out on the opportunity of giving them a head start and planting them now already if my assumptions are false!

I'd probably be getting Vinca minor in a 9cm pot so, again, I'm assuming I'd have to wait.

Is that right?

shovetheholly Wed 02-Nov-16 12:15:29

I'd leave the Cistus perhaps because that likes a really free-draining soil - but I think the others should be OK as they're all quite tough and tolerant of wet. I've put Erysmium in my north-facing, claggy clay garden during the autumn and it's been fine - plus, you might get those lovely purple flowers to enjoy over the winter. Vinca is tough and will tolerate just about anything!

Generally, things that like dry conditions tend to sulk in a very wet winter - so stuff like quite a few grasses from warm climates (not the cool climate ones), the more delicate alpines, mediterranean plants that like it very free-draining can be at risk of rot. It is just a risk, though, and in a dry winter they may be fine! Plants that are more used to a range of conditions or that get going really early in the year will be fine, and will benefit from a bit of extra time to get their roots in if shoved out in autumn - liriope is one of these, so definitely get that in now!

shovetheholly Wed 02-Nov-16 12:17:04

I have to say I do LOVE a 'Bowles Mauve'. I've just had to remove one from my garden as it had become a monster, but it had flowered continually for three years without a single day off. But I really miss that shot of purple! Fortunately, I have a good many cuttings from it which have rooted so it won't be long before I can replace it!

NotAnEMERGENCY Wed 02-Nov-16 14:11:40

Ooh - in that case it may even be worth me asking about non-evergreens! Will that be a definite 'No, wait till spring' or should I post a list of the ones I'm interested in here? If the Crocus website says a certain perennial is still available for example, does that mean it can be still planted out now?

There are also some that are classed as semi-evergreen (some geranium, some penstemon, lavatera, some Achillea millefolium). Would these be OK? I'd generally go for 1l pots or bigger if available but Achillea millefolium currently only seems to come in 9cm from Crocus. Does that make a difference?

Oh, and dianthus is another evergreen I'm considering. Worth planting out now already?

shovetheholly Wed 02-Nov-16 14:52:02

I think if the things are hardy and can tolerate cold and wet, a 9cm pot should be fine. I wouldn't go any smaller than that, and you might need slug protection!

Semi-evergreen hardy geraniums: most of these will be fine to go out now - the exception might be those varieties that like it extremely dry. They run a real spectrum from shade and moisture lovers to those that prefer to be baked! But they are generally pretty tough. Dianthus should generally also be fine I think, though I don't have much experience of those.

Achillea - wait til spring. This is another plant that likes a well-drained soil and sun, and it may be miserable in wet. When you plant, dig in loads of grit if you are on clay (the same for lavender).

Lavatera - check the variety on Google quite carefully. Many are semi-hardy only to -5 so a real risk in many areas if we get a cold snap.

Penstemon - I'd wait til next spring. Many aren't that hardy, and they don't like wet - again, use lots of grit if you're on clay!

shovetheholly Wed 02-Nov-16 14:53:10

(Oh and just to add: I'm sure that there are loads of people who have planted stuff at the wrong time of year and had them grow successfully! We are talking about risk here (of frost, rot) rather than absolutes!)

viques Wed 02-Nov-16 15:00:09

I think if you see a bargain in a pot you buy it and keep it somewhere sheltered until spring! Make sure it is labelled though. What you could be doing while the border is empty is roughly planning it out and very quickly planting bulbs where you think want them to go. Much easier to get them in to a decent depth while the border is empty , and that way you will have something to see in the spring! And if you decide the bulbs are in the wrong place then they are easy to move.

NotAnEMERGENCY Fri 04-Nov-16 17:39:07

Shove: It's really good news that I can plant more than just two shrubs now - so exciting! I'll be placing an order with Crocus next week!

I've also just seen Campanula persicifolia Telham Beauty on the Secret Gardening Club. I'm tempted to get 7 of those @ £1.99 each. They're in a 9cm pot though. Would it be OK to plant them out already or would I be better off keeping them in pots (indoors?) until spring?

shovetheholly Sat 05-Nov-16 08:57:42

It's wonderful creating a new border! I would love to see pictures of your progress. smile

I think the campanula should be fine! They are pretty tough on the whole and since they start flowering quite early they may benefit from going in now? I do love a nice campanula.

Kr1stina Sat 05-Nov-16 23:03:34

Please tell me that you are planting these in a sunny border with freely draining soil ?

You can't keep many of these plants indoors , they will be too hot and unhappy . Either plant them out or keep in a protected area until spring . The 9cm pots are tiny and might freeze solid if we get a cold spell .

Are you getting the evergreen or the deciduous viburnum ? I see they sell V. Eve Price and V. Opulus

shovetheholly Sun 06-Nov-16 08:19:03

Yes, I'm assuming "indoors" is a greenhouse or light, cool space e.g. a well lit unheated porch!

Trethew Sun 06-Nov-16 11:40:04

shove is spot on, but on balance I think I would leave dianthus till spring too

NotAnEMERGENCY Sun 06-Nov-16 12:14:47

This advice is all wonderful - I'm really grateful!

Kr1stina: It's the Eve Price I'm getting. I'm only considering (semi-)evergreen for planting out now. Anything deciduous will be ordered next spring. The border is sunny and although clay (luckily not toooo heavy), it is a raised bed and the drainage isn't too bad. I've also just had LOADS of manure dug in. (There is also a partly shady bit for the Liriope muscari.)

I've got some questions about bulbs but I'll start a new thread some other time. This thread was supposed to have been about lavender!

Kr1stina Sun 06-Nov-16 14:03:08

V. Eve price is fab,mine is flowering, which is good value . I hope it does well for you.

However , I'd go for nepeta instead of the lavender . I know you don't get the smell but you'll get more colour for longer. Mine looked wonderful in June , I cut them back reluctantly in early / mid July and they still look great now in early November . Plus they will drape nicely over the side of your raised bed. Unlike lavender, which have a very stiff form.

Lavender are great plants but you need very sandy poor soil and lots of heat and sun to do well.

I'd also swap the cistus for something that will be happy with the clay. What about a geum or potentilla ( either type ) ?

You'll be regretting asking now..........

Kr1stina Sun 06-Nov-16 14:04:40

Sorry I wasn't clear - the lavender will HATE all that manure you have just dig in :-(

NotAnEMERGENCY Sun 06-Nov-16 16:27:09

Thanks, Kr1stina. I'll definitely bear your suggestions in mind when I get round to thinking about planting in spring.

shovetheholly Sun 06-Nov-16 16:31:24

The other thing you could try is to add quite a lot of grit to the holes of the things that like freely-drained soil. This often does enough to help - you can make environments that are really quite localised for a lot of plants.

Viburnum Eve Price is going to love your conditions!

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