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plug plants

HI folks , I am tempted by an offer of perennial plugs 72 for £9.99 , and I do love a bargain and the thought of less work! Should  I go ahead as they will arrive in March ,will they survive the cold ? Will they flower this year? Do I put them in the garden straight away  Thanks for looking . 

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  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    No, you do not put them in the garden straight away - though doubtless the company would love you to do that, so that you can buy them all over again April - May, when they should be sold.  You will need to keep them warm, repot them into slightly larger pots, then again later on,  water and coddle them for several weeks before you can even think about outdoors for such little babies.  I've not even sown my seeds yet, never mind have plug plants ready to pot on.

    I'm sorry, but I really think this is just a cynical ploy on the part of the vendors to get your money out of you twice!!

    If you have a greenhouse, or huge warm light windowsills, and time to deal with lots of baby plants, then go ahead - if they all do well it will have been a bargain indeed. 

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,189

    I love a bargin too but if it's too good to be true it usually is. You'll find they come as the tinniest of plants which will need potting up ASAP.

    You won't be able to plant out until the last of the frost, possibly April at the earliest  so they would need potting up again...if you have the room, go ahead...but I wouldn't advise it...       

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,556

    Booker, if these had been annuals I would wholeheartily agree with you, but the OP is talking about perennials, totally different in my opinion.

    This is the ideal time for perennial plugs, while they are still in their dormant state, you will need to pot them up though, put in 4inch pots and keep them inside cold greenhouse, cold windowsill, cold frame etc, dont keep them anywhere warm as no doubt they have been grown outside. 

    Plant them out in April or start of May, You may get flower buds on them this year but if they are not big plants, I pick them off as they cant grow strong roots whilst feeding flower.

    Add a bit of bone meal or chicken pellets, just around the ground after planting.

    So, to sum up, if you lose 30% you are still quids in, here speaks someone who only ever buys cheap bare roots or plugs, usually from J.Parkers sales. 

    Good luck with them, to me, its lovely to nurture little plants that you have actually grow rather than buy a big plant and plonk it in the ground, a bit of patience now and yoh will be rewarded.

     

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Lyn, I did note they were perennialsl, but I still feel it is far too early (here) to be thinking about little plugs outdoors.  I've also see many for sale, which certainly have not been grown outside (if I thought that, I'd think slightly better of it).   I did see the offer of which she spoke, and I did think, and still do, that as Zoomer says, if it looks too good to be true, it surely is.   Would be happy to be proved wrong……. Lets hope however, that Bizzy is lucky.  Maybe you could let us know how you get on Bizzybee?

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,556

    Each to his own!

    Can only speak from this hard up gardeners point of view, maybe I have more patience when needs must.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thanks for all your contributions, I think I will start my own plugs from seed next week! image

  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452

    I have been looking for some plug plants too but wasn't sure where to start. As Parkers was mentioned above, I have just had a look at their website. I quite like the look of the long summer border collection but can't find anywhere on their website that says what size the plants will be when they send them out. This is what I was looking at http://www.jparkers.co.uk/30-long-summer-border-plants. Does anyone know what to expect? I don't mind doing some potting on but I don't want really tiny mini plugs.

  • Well said Verdun, I did the cheap plugs last spring (what a noob I was) and 40% of them were really weak. In fact, less than 30% of them are in the ground now- the rest are still growing on in the greenhouse! I would definitely recommend buying bigger plants of something you really want. Something like a really nice geranium (cranesbill) or phlox can be divided fairly soon anyway.
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    The plugs on offer now are raised in heated GH's under artificial light which inevitably gives you relatively weak plants with small root systems, and weak top growth, which when delivered need the same conditions as they have been grown in to thrive. As most of us can't afford to provide these conditions, these plants will take longer to establish and longer to grow decent root systems, that's if they survive the shock of being bunged in the post and not hardened off properly, which many don't.  JParkers are one of the worst offenders when it comes to this practice, and you take a gamble when you order. I'd never recommend taking them up on this offer.

    If they started to raise these plants in September the previous year then it would be worth it, but they don't start till December.

    Their bulbs are very good value for money, but not the plug perennials. 

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