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Plug plants

Hi, just wondering if anybody is having any luck receiving their plug plant orders this spring? I placed an order with Suttons in mid-March and was promised delivery by mid April, was then informed that there are delays and they wont be able to deliver until end of May/early June. I also ordered some plug plants from Thompson Morgan as they promised delivery within 72h, but now my order there is showing as delayed as well. All the plants were "in stock" at the time of ordering and are just your bog standard petunias, busy lizzies, lobelias, fuchsias, begonias, so nothing fancy or exotic. I don't believe the cold spring would play a part as I believe all companies use heated greenhouses and cold springs have never caused delays in previous years.

Each spring I order lots of hanging basket plug plants as it's the easiest and cheapest way to get lots of summer colour in my numerous hanging baskets and pots. I usually order in March and have always received orders in March/April and planted them on in my greenhouse until they are garden ready in late May/early June. This year I wont receive the plug plants until late May it seems, so they wont have time to grow in size by June when I am hoping to have my hanging baskets ready. 

Just wondering if anyone else has had problems with their orders this year or am I just being unlucky? Even last year with covid causing delays I managed to get my plug plants delivered sooner than this year. To my disappointment this year I'm noticing that delivery times for plants shown online are completely false.


  • didywdidyw Posts: 2,914
    I am waiting on some calibrachoa from Sarah Raven which have not yet arrived.  I am assuming that all bedding plants have been held back by the very cold nights we have had throughout April and they are not as forward as they need to be for despatch. I'm not too fussed as there are still frost risks and I'd rather they were kept safe at the nursery than my having to worry about looking after them until I'm ready to plant them out.
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 2,943
    I don't buy plug plants but I do receive almost daily emails from Suttons offering just about everything from Dahlias to Geraniums to Fuchsias - usually stating either Clearance or Last Minute Offers.
    Not sure what's going on with Suttons - they used to be a reputable supplier years ago but I don't think I would consider them as such these days.
  • cats_and_dogscats_and_dogs Posts: 71
    edited May 2021
    @didyw - thanks for your reply and sorry to hear you are still waiting for your order. The plug plants are grown in heated greenhouses, so the weather shouldn't have anything to do with the delays, it hasn't in previous years. The small plug plants I ordered aren't big enough to be planted straight out and need to be planted on first, so there isn't much point receiving tiny plug plants in June as they take a good month to grow to garden ready size. Maybe you have ordered larger sized plants that are ready to plant out as you state you are happy to have the nursery look after them until ready to plant out, this wont be possible with plug plants I ordered as they are tiny and delayed delivery will not mean I am going to get bigger plants. I have a greenhouse where I usually grow my plugs until they are garden ready size.

    @philippasmith2 Yes, they seem to have gone downhill. It is frustrating to receive email after email stating offer this and clearance that, basically advertising the same plants I have ordered after they have just emailed me to tell me that my delivery has been delayed due to no stock. 

    I just wish the suppliers were a bit more honest about the delivery times and wouldn't advertise everything as "in stock and ready for despatch" when that clearly isn't the case. It's really putting me off mail ordering plants. Never seemed to be a problem before, but looks like there are some supply issues going on- maybe brexit or covid is having an impact. Maybe more people are gardening and ordering plants via mail and they have had an unprecedented number of orders. 

  • KiliKili Posts: 1,043
    edited May 2021
    cats_and_dogs you don't seem to be aware Suttons (and Dobies) have now been bought out by T&M. Ordering from either of these companies means you are in effect ordering from T&M.

    I ordered from Dobies again this year and wont be doing so again as I'm sure the stock came from T&M and not direct from Dobies. 50 of the 100 plug plants I ordered where DOA and had to be dumped. As the total cost of these super plugs ( very small) was only £7.95 no great loss. I sow hundreds of my own bedding anyway so I don't have to worry, but I'm afraid these particular online suppliers from my recent experience can no longer be relied upon.

    T&M appear to have integrated there chaotic systems into both Suttons and Dobies as far as I can see. Email Dobies and you get a reply from Suttons.

    I would dump all 3 of them now and seek out an alternative supplier for next year if I were you.

    I emailed Dobies to ask where the last of my order was and got a reply saying " it can take up to 9 days for them to reply " Welcome to the s**t world of T&M

    'The power of accurate observation .... is commonly called cynicism by those that have not got it.

    George Bernard Shaw'

  • cats_and_dogscats_and_dogs Posts: 71
    edited May 2021
    @Kili thanks, that's interesting and good to know, I wasn't aware of these acquisitions and that explains a lot! I will definitely have to re-think where to order plants from in the future!

    Has anyone ordered from J.Parkers recently and received their order in time? I ordered some tulip bulbs from them a few years back and they were not good quality, so have not used them again, but maybe they are better when it comes to plants?
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,427
    No problems here,but I order really early, months ago. I normally plant my hanging baskets Easter weekend,but Easter was early this year,I had petunias, verbena, lobelia,36 of each,but  it's been so cold all my own seedlings are still indoor,so I am swamped, driving me nuts. Next year I'm going to wait a bit longer,get small plants,not plugs, because over 100 plugs alone takes up so much room
  • CrazybeeladyCrazybeelady Posts: 650
    I have ordered from J Parker's fairly recently without issue. I'm trying to think what I actually bought! Think it was Verbena Bonariensis. They arrived fairly quickly, not plugs though. There are a lot of differing opinions on here of J Parker's but I think they're alright. 
  • harmonyharmony Posts: 370
    I ordered garden ready pansies September last year and received them middle of October all very healthy and packed well. 
  • BraidmanBraidman Posts: 269
    Re J Parkers, I order for myself and members of the gardening club from JParkers wholesale, though not this season as we have not had any meetings since last season!

    Under threat of a fate worse than death from the lovely mature ladies, I am not allowed to order plants or shrubs as they are usually crap, but we never have any problem with bulbs, corms etc Spring or Autumn planting!

    Two years ago, I ordered for myself at the same time as above 25 hosta plants  and with no carriage to pay,as they were cheap that way, they arrived fairly dried out with lots of long stringy roots and a single small bud on each, I was not impressed with them.  I followed their instructions about soaking and fair to say they all survived, though they are not very big plants at the moment!

    Hope this helps!
  • I ordered 2 x 45 lots of begonia plants on Sutton’s special offer in late March. I received them in mid April, very tiny plugs, but all alive. They transplanted easily and are now doing well in my cold greenhouse. Each tray of 45 actually had 50, and all were viable.
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