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planting in the cold

Having started a community garden I bought 140 plant plugs, perennials, they are due to arrive today just when the weather has gone cold again, I have no greenhouse so I am hoping they will be tough enough to plant out, or should I keep them in a sheltered spot till it warms up a bit? North East England, temperature, according to forecast, about 5 today but getting a little  warmer from tomorrow. 


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,597
    Definitely keep them indoors. 
    They may be hardy perennials but they are small, it's freezing, you're in the North East.
    After this cold spell passes l would keep them up against the house wall to acclimatise. 
    Normally l'd suggest potting them up and growing them on a bit.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,230
    I agree with @AnniD. If you have some fleece or similar, it would also be worth covering them unless you can split them up and keep them inside somewhere - various windowsills etc. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 BirminghamPosts: 736
    Plug plants are usually far too small to plant out, ideally you pot them on until they are decent sized plants (minimum 9cm pot, best 1-2litre). They don’t necessarily need a greenhouse but will need somewhere sheltered. Against a house wall is better than nothing.

    What size plugs are they and which perennials?
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,092
    I agree, pot them up and grow them on for a couple of months at least, if you can find somewhere to keep them. I've never bought perennial plugs but I grow some from seed/root cuttings and I don't plant them out until they're filling a 3 inch pot at least. Generally some from a batch will be planted from 3" pots and some potted on to maybe 5" (insurance, or given away if the first lot do OK and I don't need them). No greenhouse, they just stand outside once they're past the seedling stage, often on the shelving from an old blowaway that lost its cover long ago.
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,449
    edited 31 March
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,021
    It's early to be keeping most small plants outside. I would keep them inside if you can - in a spare room or porch, if you have one.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,092
    It's early to put them out without gradual hardening off if they've been under cover all winter, but hardy perennials are fine grown hard from the off in less-cold areas. Just to illustrate, here are last autumn's sowings. Some have been potted on to 3", some not yet. They've been there since they were pricked out last September/October into module trays like the one at the front (sown indoors on a windowsill at the beginning of September). The ones in the front are Monarda, the reddish colour on the new growth is normal, not from being too cold. The grown-up ones in the ground are at about the same stage.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,230
    I keep most of my small plants/cuttings outside all year round here. As @JennyJ says, when they're acclimatised right from the start, it's very different from taking a cutting or sowing seed, and having them in a protected environment for selling/growing on during late winter/early spring.
    If I buy in any small plants in autumn, they're given very basic protection according to the weather - more if the plant would need it, until they're properly acclimatised. Then they're left outside, tucked against a wall or among other plants.

    Small plugs are grown undercover from the start, so it's a totally different process for getting them outdoors.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,092
    I think the best advice to @dave56armstrong is to pot them up if possible and harden them off as gradually as the available facilities allow. If there's no room indoors eg on windowsills in cool rooms (they don't need additional heat, just some protection), then outside in a sheltered place, against a wall, fence, hedge etc, and cover at mights until this cold snap ends. Horticultural fleece, old net curtains or other light fabric, sheets of newspaper etc, whatever's available. As they are for a community garden, maybe there are other people who could help.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,230
    I think that's what we reckoned earlier @JennyJ, and yes- maybe other people could help rather than @dave56armstrong dealing with it all!
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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