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When to plant out...

Hi all,

I got a bit excited by a sale at my local garden centre yesterday, and ended up buying some plants for a border which I had planned to renew in Spring.

When I got home and saw the remnants of snow still in the garden I realised that I have probably bought them at the wrong time of year!

What is the best thing to do with these plants? Should I risk planting them out now, or would it be better to leave them in their pots in a sheltered spot until Spring?



PS - the plants are an evergreen Berberis, evergreen Azalea, Rose, Skimmia and Clematis. 



  • GardenmaidenGardenmaiden Posts: 1,126

    Hi I would keep them in their pots in a sheltered spot and plant out when the snow has gone and the soil has warmed up.

  • LynLyn Posts: 23,083

    I thought the best time to plant the roses was in the winter, while they are in their dormant state, they will be shooting in a month or so's time.

    Dig a large hole, put some organic compost, mulch etc down the hole, plant and then sprinkle some bone meal around the rose, not touching his stem, dont put the bone meal down the hole, the roots will be content with that and not want to reach out. 

    Azalea, I like to keep in pots anyway, Berberis, I bought a lot of bare root plants to put around the oil tank, planted them in January. Clematis I would leave till Spring, Skimmia are very hardy, I would say plant it out.

    Dont do any of it though if your ground is frozen solid as you will get air pockets around the roots.

    The plants will be warmer in the ground as pots can freeze more easily.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thanks all for your advice.

    The snow disappeared quite quickly - the ground is definitely not frozen, but is quite sodden (although the weather forecast here in Brum is for freezing overnight temperatures for the next few days)

    I will follow your advice and plant them all out (apart from the Clematis) - although I might wait until next week when the overnight frosts have hopefully passed.

    I assume the clematis will be quite happy in its pot for another couple of months (it looks quite healthy at the mo).

    Verdun - yes they were outside at the garden centre, and I was careful to only pick the healthy looking ones. Also - they are all in pots - none were bare rooted, if that makes a difference.

    Lyn - I am interested in your comment about not putting bone meal in the rose planting hole. I have, over the last few years, mixed a handful of bone meal in with the compost when planting new shrubs. Is this wrong?

    Thanks again,


  • There is a saying that any container grown plant can be planted at any time of the year But it is not a good idea to plant anything when the soil is frosted.

    It will no matter if there are new shoots on anything when you plant them. As above, put them in an outdoor, sheltered place and plant from Feb.onwards. I would never plant out in hot,dry weather conditions as it is such hard work to keep the plants adequately watered and shaded from blistering sun. There is a planting medium specifically for putting into planting holes to encourage root growth, especially roses but I cannot remember what it is called, only that it is rather expensive.

  • lmwlmw Posts: 9

    It's called rootgrow, the technical name being mycorrrizial fungi. I use it on my roses, and other expensive items and find that they take a lot better since I started doing so. Don't worry so much about it with annuals. Results may vary, but all the big rose nurseries (in this country at least) recommend it, some of them to the extent of shipping their roses with a packet included in the price.

    If you do use rootgrow, don't mix fertiliser, or bonemeal in the hole, topdress with it later - it does say that in the instructions, but it's in the small print!

    The advice used to be to add bonemeal to improve uptake of phosphorus, it being an element notoriously difficult to boost levels of in the soil, but apparently it doesn't increase uptake anything like as much as it theoretically should, and as Lynn suggested above, current thinking is more along the lines of 'if you make the planting hole too cushty, the roots will be too wimpy to venture out into the wider soil.' It has a certain logic to it!


  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ...mycorrhizal almost totally unnecessary product, made for nervous gardeners - usually ladies - to part with a little extra cash.... no surprise, they all recommend it...

    ...almost, because it has a use if replanting where another rose had been growing, and for own root roses... otherwise just think how many millions of roses have been planted all over the world, down the millennia... without the stuff.... virtually every rose you ever see will have been planted without it.... 

    ...for most reasonable British soils... your rose will find its own way...remember, it's a wild rose rootstock you're mollycoddling.... for those other plants... I would just get them in the ground... they're all hardy and container grown... the Azalea and Skimmia would benefit from neutral to acid conditions...

  • Mrs GMrs G Posts: 336

    I read an article all about this fungi because I'd been using it for hedge whips and various bare root fruit trees.  It said if your soil health is so poor that you need to add them then actually it''s not going to help adding them because the conditions aren't right for them to survive.  In healthy soils there are already these fungi present and the best way you can actually encourage them at a fraction of the cost is by mulching with chipped bark. Also interesting to note was that they do better in impoverished soils so if you add fertiliser you are taking away the necessity for the beneficial relationship between the fungi and roots to develop. Seems we are worrying too much.  Just make sure to fork the planting hole properly at the bottom and sides.  It has been suggested that a square hole is better than round as round mirrors the confines of the pot so may encourage the roots to follow that pattern.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358

    I've never used the micro fungi but then I'm very cynical. Never had a problem getting plants to establish but any new areas I plant into have compost and B, F and B added and mixed into the soil as it's heavy clay. I think if you prepare the ground before planting anything, they stand a good chance of doing well. 

    I've never used Bonemeal alone either Verd, always B,F&B.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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