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Right time to plant pansies and primulas outside



  • Hi Fairygirl, I am in Durham, philippa smith2 at the minute they are in a windowsill that gets sun all day (when we have sun), it is pretty warm there, I see no signs of roots coming out, I just keep them moist. I do not have a cold frame or anything to protect them from pests. I cannot use pellets because it is toxic for pets. I think I am going to put them in and out for a few days and have the courage to put out my babies, Pic was from pansies, I also have primulas, I just thought they were so tiny to have a chance outside. Are they growing ok? It is just not knowing, I have the same prob with sweetpeas, some say we have to start seeds in October, others say it is December, others January.... I have no idea!
  • I can appreciate your predicament - you can but try and see what happens I suppose.  I suspect your biggest problem will be trying to harden them off before actually planting them out permanently. Although both are hardy, the fact that they are very small and currently enjoying a warm windowsill will mean they won't thank you for suddenly shoving them out in the cold.
    Strictly speaking, you wouldn't be purchasing plugs of that size at this time of year without the means to protect them before planting out in Spring.  Hind sight is wonderful ( but not particularly helpful !)
    As for the Sweet Pea dilemma, yes sowing in September/October can be a good way of getting strong seedlings to plant out in Spring.  However, that's only applicable if, once germinated, you are able to provide them with good light and protection from the worst of the winter weather - usually in a old Frame or GH.  Quite often, you can also sow in April/May and still get good results.
    Sorry if all the above sounds a bit negative - not meant to put you off at all - even experienced gardeners still make errors.
    Best of luck :)

  • Thank you philippa smith2 I made the mistake of buying these plugs from Thompson and Morgan to plant out by the end of October, but when they arrived they were really, really tiny and had instructions to put them in pots and plant out by the end of the month. I think I am going to keep them inside until I can see significant size and root and keep them in the conservatory. Thanks for the help :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,362
    Glad to see @philippa smith2has helped you. 
    I agree with her that this is often the problem with these companies. It's not a great time of year to be receiving tiny plug plants. 
    Re the sweet peas - don't worry about them too much. You can sow at this time of  year, but they will need a bit of attention, and just protection from the roughest weather. However, you will also need to keep pinching out to keep them bushy, as they will tend to get a bit lanky. You also don't want to be using a rich compost as that compounds the problem - creating soft growth. 
    You can achieve perfectly good results by waiting until spring - as you're in the north, it'll pay to wait until about April for sowing. That way - you can sow in pots [I do about 3 in a 3 or 4 inch pot] and just keep them tucked in beside a wall or in a sheltered spot, watering as needed. You can also do them directly into the ground, or directly into a final pot, or even do both a few weeks apart, to give you a succession of flowers  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Fairygirl, thank you, really, I was starting to think about enough space to accommodate more tiny plants! I am experimenting with seeds to see if I am lucky to have some extra plants :) Now, tricky situation: I have just discovered that 2 forgotten courgette seeds decided to show up and they are growing in a pot indoors. I have never heard about Winter courgettes roasting their feet in the warmth inside. Shall I dispose of them? (hate to kill anything, really, I am stupid).
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 65,501
    The courgettes won’t come to anything. They need higher light levels ad well as warmer temperatures than we’ll get at this time of year onwards. I’d tip them onto the compost heap ... that way you’re not really ‘killing’ ... they’re simply taking their place in the great regenerative cycle of life 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,362
    @SandraA- as @Dovefromabove says - the courgettes are best consigned to history, and the compost bin if you have one. 
    Don't worry - we've all done a similar thing, and it's hard to chuck out something you've grown.
    Come back in March or so, and you'll get help with the sweet peas too. Get a feel for your climate and conditions, so that you can decide on the best method for you, and the timing.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thank you Fairygirl and @Dovefromabove Durham weather is a troublemaker, I had my pear blossoms killed 2 years in a role because we had freakish snow storms after days with warm temperatures. I am just a ninny! :smiley:
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,362
    Not at all @SandraA. It's one of the reasons I gave up on Camellias. You wait all that time to enjoy the beautiful blooms, and just at the pertinent moment - a spell of hideous weather removes them  :D
    You eventually learn to work with what's viable for you and your conditions, and also the size of garden you have. It can be easier with a large garden, as you have more choices available for all sort of plants,  but in a small space, plants have to earn their keep.
    Such is gardening  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thank you Fairygirl, I have been moving a lot and I am renting a house with a small and neglected garden. Did not help the fact that the 1st year I couldn't do much because I had my kidney removed, and my primary concern was to build some habitats to protect wildlife through the Winter, I had some frogs during the Summer, and I am slowly making my way to clean dead wood, taking advantage of the valuable leaf mould and I am going for flower seeds to have loads of colour, butterflies and ladybugs. 
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