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Should I keep potting on annuals in my greenhouse?

I've grown quite a lot of sweet peas and poppies which were sowed in autumn and kept in my greenhouse. I potted them on to 1 litre pots a while back but they're still growing and some of the poppies in particular are looking like they might need to be potted on again. Should I do this, or would I be ok / should I leave them in their current 1 litre pots until I plant them out in the spring??


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954
    If I sow sweet peas in autumn [which is rare] they stay in their pots until mid/late April when they get planted in their final pots. Depth is what they need. I usually sow about 3 in a deep 3 inch pot. It must be very mild/warm where you are if you have some in 1 litre pots and they're filling that. If they aren't filling them, I'd leave them alone, apart from pinching them out to keep them bushy  :)

    I don't often grow poppies, and when I do they're sown in spring, but I'd think they'd be best left alone too. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks Fairygirl - aside from the cold snap when I wrapped them all in fleece it has been very mild down here in Essex! The sweet peas don't look in any risk of becoming pot bound but the poppies do look like they could do with potting on. Perhaps I'll give it until the mid-end of Jan and see how they are... if it turns cold they might pause for a bit anyway!

    I enjoy the process of potting on but as I have about 50 poppies alone, space is an issue  :D
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954
    I'm not sure poppies like being moved too much, but someone more experienced with them will be able to advise on that  :)
    I actually sowed some sweet peas this autumn- during September when I'd collected lots of one type, and had tons to spare. They're still under basic cover in the 3 inch pots they were sown in  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • I'm aware on Californian Poppies (have only ever sowed those direct) but I think (??) opium poppies are OK - I didn't have any problems last year with the spring sowing but time will tell!!

    Interesting on the sweet peas - mine are now in 1 litre square pots but not outgrown them yet. 

    Every year in May/June I tell myself I'm not going to sow much from seed the next year as it's too much hard work... fast forward to December and 12 packets of seeds from Chiltern Seeds have just arrived on my door step  :D

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954
    Yes - the little Californian or cambrica poppies are always best sown direct, which is why I do them in late spring/early summer. They wouldn't survive the winter here at all. I think most poppies are best sown direct.
    I rarely do autumn sweet peas @gilla.walmsley. The spring sown ones catch up because autumn sown ones just sit there doing nothing as it isn't really warm enough until late May/early June for them to grow. We've had a couple of milder winters and springs in recent years though, so it might be worth doing some   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 814
    Early multiflora sweet peas are better for an autumn sowing and they will flower earlier in the spring. I hear from experienced growers that Spencer types and later flowering ones did not fair so well in last year's heat so they are opting to only grow early multifloras. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954
    I grow particular colours, so I often try new ones. All do well here as it's wetter than many areas, but autumn sowing is rarely worthwhile as I've often said. Even in last year's non winter and early spring here, they still didn't get going until at least mid May/early June, even the ones I had in the ground, so flowering is much later.

    Climate and location are major factors with sweet peas IMO.  Despite info always saying full sun, many perform better in shadier, cooler sites, as they don't dry out so readily.
    I can see info on lots of plants needing to be changed as many parts of the UK become intolerably hot for long periods. Some plants won't do as well, or won't thrive as early or for as long as they've done in the past.  
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • @Fairygirl I would agree - last year in hot summer here in Essex my sweet peas had a very short season in full sun and (I think) would have definitely preferred some shade (not easy in my garden  :D ). I've been reading a bit about the changing needs of plants due to the weather too - I saw David Austin have retired some of their most well known roses because of it. Problem is I am fond of growing annuals and I am yet to come across a decent list of drought tolerant annuals that I'm actually keen on!

    This year I'm growing a mix of Spencer and Grandiflora sweet peas - Royal Crimson, Royal White, Beaujolais and Charlie's Angel. I'm also growing good old Matucana and I did have some Lord Nelson but the old fashioned types didn't fare so well after the cold snap here in November. @rachelQrtJHBjb I'll be interested to see if the multiflora ones do better! I always try new colours/things every year too @Fairygirl - I really enjoy the whole process of growing things. I'd like to try growing some perennials from seed - I did successfully manage some Mrs Bradshaw geums and a wild salvia a few years ago, but they didn't look as great/healthy as if I'd have bought them  :/ 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954
    It's definitely a problem @gilla.walmsley. We're looking at a variation of it here, but in the opposite direction. I can normally plant damp/wet loving plants quite densely in a border, along with shrubs and trees, but if we're to get longer dry spells, then that becomes a lot harder. I had to water Acteas last year as they were drooping quite badly. Never had to do that in the past, and I've grow them [easily] in every garden I've had.
    Beaujolais is very reliable, and I grow it in pots no problem, but they still need plenty of water. Easier in the ground, but then it's timing because of the slugs!
    In the past, I've grown the white you mention, and R. Crimson, but I wasn't keen on the latter's colour. They both did quite well though. One of the original [or the original] peas, Matucana, and the smaller Cupani [ a favourite of mine] are good doers.
    I had a pot of whites last year [Mrs Collier] that I moved back about ten feet, and over beside my shed, as they were definitely struggling, despite being in a site that wasn't full sun, especially in the middle of the day.  They revived a bit, but would probably have done better being there from the start.  We didn't have anything like the temps and conditions in the south, but it just shows how tricky it can be. 
    It all comes down to experimenting as much as possible. All part of the fun  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • The watering in my garden is SO time consuming, not to mention bad for the environment (luckily and somewhat amazingly no hosepipe ban yet). I hate to admit it but it really was almost every day in the summer - because my soil is stoney and I have no shade it doesn't retain moisture at all. I hope to be able to gradually improve it with mulches and as the trees grow. 

    I suspect I'm not going to be keen on the Crimson colour either  :D  - I'm more into blues and pastels - but thought I'd give it a shot! Are there any other favourite sweet peas you've tried that you like / would recommend?
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