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Perennial Plug Plants

FizzleFizzle Posts: 7
I am redeveloping my garden and wondered if I can save money and get ahead by buying some perennials plugs now to pot up and grow on in my greenhouse. 
Will these actually grow in the frost free conditions under glass, ready to plant out in March?
Your help would be appreciated as I can’t find a definitive answer online, even from the growers.


  • A bit early unless your greenhouse is heated I would say. 

    I bought a load of plug plants to grow on last year but the failure rate was quite high. 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,944
    edited January 2022
    I would hold on and wait, personally .
    You would be spending time and worry on looking after even the hardiest of perennials, and l think Lincolnshire can be pretty chilly.

    If you went to a grower such as Brookside * ,you can select a delivery week for later in the year.

    *Just to say l have no connection to this nursery other than as a satisfied customer. Other growers are available  :)

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,644
    I've done that, potted them on and put in the cold greenhouse, but in the spring I put them in a cold frame, potted on as necessary then planted them out the following spring. Plug plants are small and, although hardy, they are bait for slugs and snails -which they are less susceptible to when they are bigger.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,412
    They won't grow much if at all between now and March. If you want to save money, bare root perennials might be worth a look. I wouldn't bother with perennial plug plants as a general rule. If you plant a 'garden ready' sized plant it will usually grow enough to be divided the following season, and that is a good way of building up stocks without the need for potting on and babying plants in greenhouses etc.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,982
    Depends on what the plants are, and where you are.  :)
    Without somewhere heated - ie inside your house, or in a heated greenhouse, many plants wouldn't survive here as plugs. In a milder area, that would be much easier.
    You then need the room to pot them on until temps and conditions outside are suitable.
    It's also about their size when you finally plant them out as @Busy-Lizzie says. 
    The only plugs I've bought are larger ones of pelargoniums and foxgloves, and I didn't get them until much later in spring. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • thevictorianthevictorian Posts: 1,048
    I agree with the others but it also depends on how big the plug plants are. We got a t&m perennial plug offer through last year and when they turned up you needed a magnifying glass and tweezers to find the plants. If they are that small it really isn't worth it this time of year.
  • I tried a T&M order one year. Faff! Never felt the urge since.  Bigger plants bought later are much better IMO.
  • FizzleFizzle Posts: 7
    Thank you for all your thoughts. I will give the plug plants a miss I think and hang on until spring to get some larger specimens!
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,212
    Bare root perennials are definitely worth a look.  I got quite a few from Farmer Gracy last year, and they were quite a reasonable size when supplied in early spring; I potted them up and planted them out later.  Liatris spicata, Achillea 'The Pearl' and Iris sibirica were particularly vigorous and made an impact straight away (I bought 3 of some of them).  Managed to get them in the sale, otherwise they can be a bit pricey.
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • In Feb 2021 I ordered 72 perennial plugs from T&M, arrived March, grew on in he greenhouse, 100% survival rate -I was a bit surprised to be honest.....
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