When would be the best time to buy hostas, saxifraga, brunnera, dicentra and helleborus?
PS: I assume this is the right section to post this question?
autumn is good for planting,any time now. Plants can get established before the winter.
The general wisdom is that autumn planting allows plants to establish a good root system over winter because in autumn the soil is warm enough and moist enough to encurage this and, with most plants going dormant above gorund, there isn't a lot happening to stress the roots as they grow.
Plants that get established in autumn and over winter do not usually need any watering in teh new season. Spring planted plants have to cope with establishing roots while supporting a spurt of energy and growth above ground so can get stressed and will require careful monitoring for watering and feeding.
However, in my own garden I have learned to plant all except the hardiest shrubs and trees in spring as I can lose new plants to hard winters. Normal British winters should be OK unless you're in a very exposed area. If you're worried about marginally hardy plants, pot them on into bigger pots and keep them under frost free shelter for winter then plant out in spring.
Thank you everyone for the advice. So generally the consensus is to buy around this time and plant the hardy ones now and keep the less hardy in pots until spring.
I know that some plants are slow growers so the bigger you buy the better (generally). Is this the case with the above plants? Especially with hostas, are they slow growers? What I am trying to find out is if I need to buy them in 2l pots (which are more expensive) or could I buy them in the smaller size pots and they would quickly grow to a good size?
Verdun should point out that he gardens in the south west and has a very mild climate compared to the rest of the UK.
What works for him won't do inland or in frost pockets or in exposed areas where it's colder and winters are longer and harder.
I prefer to buy well potted hostas and roses and many other plants in spring which means the grower does the over winter care and takes the risks of losses rather than me and my purse. Then again, my winters are severe and even established plants can get clobbered in a bad one.
I live in Macclesfield, Cheshire and the winters here tend to vary year on year. I have to say that so far I have never lost any plants apart from a Mimosa young tree (acacia dealbata) which i made the mistake of leaving out in winter. Then again as they say, never say never.
I have to explain that my hostas will be planted in good size terracota pots in the front garden. The front garden is quite sheltered from winds especially on south and east sides and in summer enjoys the afternoon sun from 2-3pm onwards.
Verdun, are there any online sellers of hostas that you would recommend please (perhaps via PM if the forum rules dont allow posting them here)?