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Why are all my plants doing badly?


I am new to gardening, and have about half an acre of field which we are trying to make into a garden. I've been buying some plants but have been keeping them inside as the beds aren't all ready yet. They do quite well at first but then they get sadder and sadder and fall over and die. I don't know if I'm watering them too much, or not enough? How do you tell? I thought they might be getting too big for their pots so I moved some into a big trough and put them outside. We promptly had our first frost in around 3 years (Welsh coast) and they all fell over. So there's now a big trough in the kitchen full of sad flowers. Some are recovering but some still look like they've run a marathon. Am I trying too hard????

I've also bought some primulas and some polyanthus, yesterday. The beds aren't ready yet; will they be ok in their pots inside for a bit? And how often should I water them?

LAST one - I put lots of bulbs in last year. They got waterlogged so I don't have high hopes. I ran out of space so have loads left. Can I plant them now? Or will they last until next year? Or are they wasted? I hope not!

Thanks in advance for any help image


  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,160

    Other than primula and auricula, what plants have you got inside. Most hardy plants don't like being inside.

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,470

    Generally speaking, plants which belong outside are happiest outside. If you can put them there, even in the wrong place, they'll do better there than in a hot, dry house. 

    Watering depends on what you are watering. Again, generally speaking, if you push your dry fingertips flat onto the top of the compost and they have some bits of compost sticking to them when you lift your fingers the compost is damp enough. If your fingers come away clean with no compost sticking to them then it's a bit too dry. Water enough to wet the compost but not enough to leave a puddle under the pot.

    Plant your bulbs now.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,119

    Hi Jenny. Your enthusiasm is great but you need to slow down! Very few plants will be happy in your kitchen and it is too cold to put them out. Try to find a cool, bright place and water them when the top soil starts to dry out. In the meantime, have a really slow, careful look at your field/garden and find out:

    1 ) what sort of soil do you have, where are the sunniest or shady areas, are there dry or boggy parts.

    2) where does the wind come from - is it strong and salty - are there sheltered areas.

    3) what plants suit these conditions and which you like.

    Then, and I know this is boring, dig ONE bed. If it is a field it will need deep digging and muck and possibly grit. Now you can plant it! Just watch your plants loving it and putting their roots down. The work you have done will teach you loads about the next beds and about how much you can and want to do.

    Good luck - enjoy!

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,194

    I agree.   Finish preparing your beds - digging, clearing weed roots, composting, improving drainage etc - and only then buy the plants you want to introduce.   Soak each pot in a bucket of water till no more air bubbles appear then allow excess water to drip off and then, if you can see the roots going round and round the pot, tease them out a bit with your fingers, plant to the same depth it was in the pot (except clematis which need to be deeper) and water in.

    Plants for growing outside that have to wait to be planted need to be kept in a sheltered corner outside rather than indoors where it's too warm/dry/draughty.   

    Leftover bulbs need planting now.  Put them in pots if needs be and plant out when your beds are ready.   As it's late, they may not flower this year but at least they will grow leaves which will feed the bulb to provide next year's flowers.

    Preparation and patience are essential gardener's traits.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Have a chat with neighbours nearby about what grows in their garden and what doesn't - it gives a good idea of local soil and conditions. I could never remember what every plant likes and dislikes so I've gradually made an card index box with a card for every plant I have (or hope to have).

  • I agree with above comments- perhaps you should have waited till your beds were ready! it is so frustrating when plants die before you get them in  i have a lot of trouble with seedlings dying off in my greenhouse, especially aubergines, tomatoes and peppers. I cleaned the greenhouse and put a sulphur candle in but still my aubergines started to die off- i rushed them into the kitchen, 1 has died but the others look ok and i moved the tomatoes into the kitchen as well and they are ok. seeds are expensive now, i only got 8 seeds in my tomato packet!
     i read somewhere that sprinkling ground cinnamon round seedlings stops them damping off so i am trying that.

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