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Help and advice on growing on plug plants please

(30 Posts)
sizeofalentil Sun 26-Feb-17 21:42:07

I bought a LOAD of plugs plants - geraniums, cosmos and lots of hanging basket plants. I wouldn't have bothered but they were such a bargain that even if I kill 2/3 they are still good value for money.

However, am now regretting my decision as I really can't be bothered to grow them on.

Could I plant them in to their final positions in the garden and just cover with a glass cold frame? Or pot into large pots and leave in an unheated greenhouse?

Or am I going to have to tenderly care for, nurture and breastfeed* these tiny babies for at least 5 weeks?

*Ok, maybe not breastfeed

shovetheholly Mon 27-Feb-17 07:38:22

Gosh, it is really quite early to be getting anything tender! The trouble is, something like cosmos is really quite sensitive to frost, and will start to die under about 5 degrees. I wouldn't like to risk it in cold, wet soil either.

Unless you're somewhere lovely and warm like the coastal south west, your best bet is probably to pot them on and keep them frost-free - sorry. I wouldn't normally put them out until May, really.

JeNeSuisPasVotreMiel Mon 27-Feb-17 07:46:54

You can't plant them out now, they will die.

You can easily get away with only potting them on once. Pop them into those square sided small pots with a scoop of compost.

Mine currently live in the greenhouse where they will get watered once a week.

That's all you need to do until late April when you can have the satisfaction of planting out masses of plants that hardly cost you anything.

MrsBertBibby Mon 27-Feb-17 08:05:11

I got some last year, and kepT them in our (glazed) porch, which worked.

It's got a bit out of hand now.

AstrantiaMajor Mon 27-Feb-17 09:06:55

I know how easy it is to get seduced by these adverts, then be overwhelmed by the work involved. Rather than pot them on individually I would buy some larger plastic pots and put lots of them in together. One species in each pot. They won't mind being a bit crowded as this will encourage them to make deeper roots. Put a cane, or canes in the pot and make a mini greenhouse using clear polythene. Something like a dry cleaning bag. . Then tie it round the pot to make a wigwam. Pierce holes for ventilation. Keep it damp but not water logged and in a month
They will be ready to go into the garden.
if you lIve in a sheltered warm area you can just stand the pots in a dry sheltered area. Beware of slugs, and snails I would put a few slug pellets in the pots otherwise you will lose everything. Same goes when you initially plant them out.

sizeofalentil Mon 27-Feb-17 10:07:51

Thank you all! I knew you'd talk sense in to me. Thank you for all the advice on potting on etc. It is so overwhelming!

I am just being lazy tbh… I have time and equipment it's just after (ordering a load of plants while drinking wine…) I've lost half my enthusiasm now the first half of my order has arrived.

Should have said - am still waiting on the plugs. They won't arrive until the last week of March. But I am already anticipating my apathy towards them…

Last year I did the opposite - I planted 200 tomato seeds, and they all grew. We ended up with tomato plants in grow bags EVERYWHERE. I gifted over 50 to neighours etc. Then the weather was crap and we got about three tomatoes. Although some of the plants are still alive and still have toms on them.

I have a tiny, sheltered but sunny garden in a terrace house in London, to explain conditions etc.

sizeofalentil Mon 27-Feb-17 10:09:15

MrsBert - Wow! You're so organised too. I always forget to label mine and it's a lovely surprise as to what has grown.

AstrantiaMajor Mon 27-Feb-17 10:41:31

I think we have all done that. I have a small East London Garden and I do find that I can plant things straight into it much earlier than people in other parts of the country. The things that do the most damage here are slugs, snails, wet and clay soil. If they are not too small and you decide to put the hardier ones into the ground I would buy some pea gravel and use it as a mulch. It will keep the leaves away from the mud and the slug pellets will keep away the snails.

sunnyhills Mon 27-Feb-17 14:56:44

I bought some small plug plants ( lobelia ,geranium,petunia) from Aldi a few days ago and am now wondering how best to look after them .

I was wondering about using these peat free fibre pots

Any advice ?

shovetheholly Mon 27-Feb-17 15:04:52

I have used the fibre pots and not had a problem BUT I think they are less good on the whole than plastic. They tend to lose water quite quickly. which means you really have to watch they don't dry out - it can literally happen between a morning soaking and the evening if they are in sun. I tend to use them for things that don't like their roots being disturbed, e.g. rootcrops from seed, because I can plant the whole pot at my allotment.

sunnyhills Mon 27-Feb-17 15:05:41

To give an idea of size there were 15 geranium plants in a little plastic greenhouse type box about 15cm by 10cm .

bookbook Mon 27-Feb-17 15:07:29

Agree with *shove8 - very early so would need potting up. I can see loads have replied with lots of advice !
I have used those pots sunnyhill for potting up veg seedlings, so you don't disturb the roots when planting out. They do have a tendency to either dry out , or keep very wet . I ended up spending a lot of time 'checking' , and they also had a horrid temptation to dig themselves up when planted out. But that may just be me smile

bookbook Mon 27-Feb-17 15:07:58

hah! x-post with shove !

sunnyhills Mon 27-Feb-17 15:11:40

Ok that's really helpful to know ..*now ,going on what I've said about 15 plants in a little box .....should I pot them on one plant per pot .And pot of what size ?

I would need to buy teeny pots ,but I do already have smallish pots maybe 7cm across .Could I put 2 or 3 plants in each pot ?

Should I pot the larger plants ( geraniums and petunias ) one per pot and the lobelia say 3 per pot .?

* I know this a little tricky .....

shovetheholly Mon 27-Feb-17 15:16:15

<highfives book> At least we agreed with each other!! grin

Personally I would buy stick one plant in each pot, and I'd probably use 9cm. This is largely because I am too lazy to pot on multiple times if I can get away with once or twice grin

sunnyhills Mon 27-Feb-17 15:18:59

Sorry,I'm not concentrating .Lengthy root filling this morning is my excuse blush .
I see ( and have already read for heavens sake ! ) Astrantia's advice re potting a number in one pot .Plus little tent .

bookbook Mon 27-Feb-17 15:19:17

I bought some tiny plug plants last year from Aldi - just hanging basket selections ( they did amazingly well btw) - I potted them up separately into little 8 cm pots , then again into bigger ones as they grew . But I have the greenhouse and the pots already ....

bookbook Mon 27-Feb-17 15:20:33

and again grin

shovetheholly Mon 27-Feb-17 15:27:52

grin at book!

I think the keyword in Astrantia's post was 'larger' as in 'several larger pots'. I'm guessing she meant something bigger than 7-9cm! You could pot several into a larger pot - something shallow but wide - or you could pot them on into smaller, narrower individual pots. In either case, you might have to pot on one more time, depending on how well they grow/when you put them out!

sunnyhills Mon 27-Feb-17 16:33:30

Thanks Holly for taking time to explain . I get a bit nervous about potting things and the worry of using something too large .Over potting .But I'm guessing that's more relevant to established plants ?

I have heavy clay and I always think to myself "how can overpotting make roots rot any more than sitting in my clay ground ? " but I sort of get it .

shovetheholly Mon 27-Feb-17 16:46:39

Well, you are right really! Overpotting is really just the same problem as the roots rotting in your heavy, wet clay. The issue isn't so much the extra volume as the fact that the compost/soil in the pot sits there in a really wet state and reduces the air to the roots. The likelihood of it can be reduced a LOT if you add perlite to the growing medium (or grit, in the case of something that likes lots of drainage) and use potting on compost not overly fine stuff.

I have heavy clay too, so I feel your pain. I've added loads and loads of grit over the years, but it's still pretty claggy this time of year!

sunnyhills Mon 27-Feb-17 17:11:10

Thanks Holly .Aldi have perlite in this Thursday ,and a little plastic greenhouse which I may buy .because it would be a saving really .

shovetheholly Mon 27-Feb-17 17:35:47

"which I may buy .because it would be a saving really"

This is fine gardening logic, you clearly belong in this forum and must never leave. It's not real money if it's spent on plants and their care. grin

bookbook Mon 27-Feb-17 17:43:32

definitely saving money smile - just think of everything you can put in there !

sizeofalentil Tue 28-Feb-17 13:18:43

Re: biodegradable pots. They are more hassle than they are worth. Mind dried out last year and killed all my seedlings sad

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