Small Perennials in Garden Centre

MayLaneMayLane Posts: 129

Is it worth buying the small perennials I saw in the garden centre today?  They were outside but is it too soon to buy them? About two inches tall. 


  • Short answer: No

    Slightly longer answer: No they will die in the frost, you could put them in a heated greenhouse but they will still be in stock at the same price in two months time.  Dobbies did this last year as well.  Sell them early, don’t mark them as for greenhouse and then sell them again when the first lot die. 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,918

    Only if they are cheaper than usual and you have a cold frame. I've kept young perennials over winter in a cold frame, if they are hardy perennials they don't need a heated greenhouse. I pot them on first to give them a bit more insulation. Another thing I did before I had a cold frame was to bury the pots in the veg garden to keep the roots warmer. Hardy perennials live in the ground outside all year round so should be OK, but if suppliers are selling them now they might have brought them on in a greenhouse so they will be more tender.

  • MayLaneMayLane Posts: 129

    I'll wait then. I planted a fair bit in the autumn and now can't remember where I planted things so I guess I should wait to see what comes up anyway and plug gaps with my seeds. 

  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,400

    I usually buy them at this time of year or in October, if they are outside at the GC they should be fine - most they sell are hardy to the UK. Pot them on, it's a cost effective way of having plants for next year 

  • MayLaneMayLane Posts: 129
    Do you think it is worth buying them yet and do you think they are likely to flower this year?  I am still waiting for my foxglove and honesty to flower which I grew from seed in 2016. 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 14,220
    Waitrose have "4 for £10" on hardly perennials. Nothing fancy, lupins, hollyhocks, foxgloves, Oriental poppies I noticed. 
    They're kept outside overnight and seem fine the next day so I see no reason why they wouldn't be equally fine tucked in a sheltered spot in the garden.
  • Firefly∆Firefly∆ Posts: 312
    Do small foxglove plugs get munched by slugs and snails often? I've kept mine inside so far because I am inundated by the darling beasts and don't want my recently bought silver beauties to disappear overnight if planted out.

  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,400
    Agree with Hosta, it isn't too late. I'll be ordering more for click & collect from a local GC at the end of March. 

    They don't seem number 1 target Firefly but I have had weaker ones nibbled. They'd much rather go after the early delphinium or lupin shoots here. 
  • MayLaneMayLane Posts: 129
    If my foxglove finally flower this year do I have to plant seeds this year for a display next year? 
  • PerkiPerki Posts: 1,096
    edited 12 March
    It worth buying small plants in 9cm /1 litre if you need a lot of plants or your budgeting, I would pot them on when they fill the pot into 1.5 - 2 litre pot then either pot on again pend what it is how susceptible it is to pests, or plant out into the garden. Same with plug plants just keep potting on until they big enough to plant out. I buy larger plants now cause the garden relatively full and I like the instant impact. 

    Slug will go for foxgloves but not a favourite they wont touch a larger plant, aphids are more likely, sow your foxgloves around late May - June for flowers next year.
  • hollie hockhollie hock Posts: 3,293
    Small perennials can be good value if you don't want to wait and grow them from seed, as others have said just pot them on as they get bigger. If you want a continuous show of foxgloves then sow 2 successive years, same goes for other biennials like Honesty.

    Both are terrific self seeders so they will do some of the work for you.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,111
    May Lane, you will have to sow Foxglove seeds this year if you want flowers next year. The bigger the plants are by September, the better the flowers will be next year.
     Regarding small perennials, I agree with Perki, buy now, pot on, grow in a cold frame, and plant out a much larger plant.  I find little plants get lost  amongst larger plants that are rapidly growing and spreading.
    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 2,511
    I bought a shedload(100++) of small (9cm pots) perennials last year. Grew them on in an unheated greenhouse, potted them on to 1 litre pots, then planted them out mid June. They did really well last year but I am expecting bigger and better things from them this year. 
    I only like white foxgloves in my garden so any pink ones that arrive get turfed out. I sow a little seed of the white ones every year just to help them along. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • MayLaneMayLane Posts: 129
    I sowed white fox glove but rather like the peach ones I have seen in the garden centre. 

    It is a new build garden and I'm eager for impact so I think I'll use garden vouchers to buy bigger perennials and some seeds too. 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 1,305
    You can buy three of the same plant if you don't mind spending a bit more and you will get a bigger impact quicker. Block planting of 3 plants spaced around 5-6 inches apart in a triangle will likely create more instant colour by June/July.

    Depending on which plants you choose, some will need to be kept against a warm wall or inside an unheated greenhouse till the soil is much more drier and warmer. It doesn't matter whether you buy now or later, it's more about your local conditions in your garden. There will be a cold spell coming this weekend, particularly in the South East.
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