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Groups of plants

oooftoooft Posts: 191

Hello there. This is my first post as i can usually find the answers to my questions whilst lurking in the background.  I'm a fairly new gardener and have received an order of perennial plug plants and potted them up and will probably pot them on again for planting out in July. I ordered two packs as i didnt think they would be much cop but they look really healthy so now i'm wondering if i've bought too many. So, my question: when i look at the description it gives height and spread of each plant, like digitalis height 50cm, spread 40cm. Do i have to plant each individual plant that far apart or do i just pay attention to the spread of the type and plant them in groups closer together?

Also as we are having nice weather can i leave the new plants outside in the sunshine during the day or are they still too wee for that?

Thanks in advance for advice given



  • Guernsey Donkey2Guernsey Donkey2 Posts: 6,713

    Personally I don't spread my plants out as much as is suggested on labels - it depends whether you want spaces between your plants which makes it easier to weed between them or closer together to give a more dense look to your planting ooft. If, once the plants have filled out a bit after a year or two I find that they are too close then I would move some of them, or thin out the weakest plants, but do this in the autumn or spring - not when they are actively growing or flowering and not when it is cold and frosty either.

    I would put my strong plug or seedling plants outside in the day time on warmer days, in fact unless it is really cold I would put them out almost every day, but keep them out of strong winds or burning sunshine.  They will need watering every day or other day, plug plants normally grow quite rapidly and as they are usually in quite small pots they need a good supply of water.

    Good luck with them, and enjoy.

  • oooftoooft Posts: 191

    That's very helpful, thanks GD2

  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,087

    I would plant them out as per their individual plant widths or allow 100mm (4")  either side. The closer they are together the less chance that weeds will be a major problem. I would pot on the plugs when they are readyand introduce them out in to the open when it's warm and bring them in to a protective area at night ie Grenhouse or indoors. As already said they will rapidly grow and by July should be ready to be planted out 

  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,361

    If they are hardy perennials, they can go in pots outside, somewhere sheltered.

    Keep potting them on, until they are sizeable plants and the plant out.

    They do not need to be molycoddled.

    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • oooftoooft Posts: 191

    HI Steve, do you mean when i take them out of their second pot I should plant them 10cm apart? The width of the plant at time of planting rather than it's predicted spread? Cheers

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,457

    I like to pack my plants in with the view that I prefer to be pulling excess out than having to fill in.

    However in winter it's a different matter - you need a nice structure of evergreens / winter interest to make the riot of summer worthwhile.

    Just my opinion and way of working.

    Don't forget that if the label says it spreads 20cm then you can plant something 10cm away from it because the spread is both sides.

    Unless of course the thing you are planting has a 3m spread!! :)  

    I always plant a tad too close but people seem to like the result.

  • oooftoooft Posts: 191

    Everyone is so helpful. Thank you. Ive attached a pic of the bed i've  pimagerepared. I wasnt aiming for a pic of the bed at the time so it's in the background. I think there was a greenhouse there before. I riddled away all the rubble, added tons of compost and mixed the soil back in and then covered it all in mulch

    Here is a list of my plants, i have 12 of each. I know the lavender will still be around during the winter and i'm guessing everything else will vanish? If so can i have some suggestions for small shrubs or something else i can put in there for winter.

    Lavender 'Hidcote

    Digitalis 'Dalmation Mixed).Erigeron 'Stallone'

    Echinacea 'Pink Parasol

    Verbena Bonariensis

    Scabiosa 'Blue Jeans' 

    Aquilegia 'Swan' Mixed 

    Geum 'Blazing Sunset' 

    Carnation 'Ever-blooming Mixed' (Hardy)

    Armeria 'Mixed' 

    Delphinium 'Pacific Giants' 

    .Coreopsis 'Early Sunrise' - 

    Thanks for all your suggestions

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    You have 12 plants each of 12 varieties? That is 144 plants? Rule of thumb when planting perennials is 5 plants to the square metre, If we knock out the foxgloves and the verbena as they can be just popped in anywhere, that leaves 8 varieties to be planted roughly at 5 per sq metre, Armeria and carnation - I f these are the little low growing ones - can be planted at 9 per sq m.

    8 x 12  =96 plants @ 5 per sq m = 19 q metres

    2 x 12 = 24 plants @ 9 per sq m = 3 sq metres

    total 22 sq metres 

    Methinks your bed is not half big enough!!

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
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  • oooftoooft Posts: 191

    I did not know the 5 per metre rule. I've just been out and measured the bed and it's 9.4 square metres so about 47 plants would fill it. I do seem to have bought rather a lot! I bought plug plants years ago and half of them were dead when they arrived so i bought twice what i thought i would need. I guess technology has moved on in 20 years and the packaging and delivery is better now. Also they were cheap, £16 for all those plants.I could only buy 3 at my local garden centre for that. There are beds in the back garden where i can put some and there's a front garden too.

    I just moved here at christmas and am seeing things popping up all over the place. The garden was well loved at some point but the last owner who had it neglected it somewhat so i'm guessing some plants have been lost in the last two years. By the time my plugs are ready for planting out i'll have a better idea what's out there and can pop some out front.

    Plants make lovely gifts so i'll give the excess to my new neighbours and friends and family after i've claimed the strongest ones for myself as Chrissie B suggests and i'll squish in the wee ones as Hogweed suggests.

    Any ideas for winter? I have 10 hellebores that i bought for a wee bed under the eaves of the house because i think they like shade. Should i put them in the shade or incorporate them into my big bed which gets lots of sun?

    I put two white hydrangeas in tubs where they did well for a week. Then the leaves started to turn a metallic colour and the flowers browned on the edges.The internet suggested i wasnt watering them correctly so i changed my technique. I'd been out spray painting in the garden just before this event so i wonder if that was the cause. That was about 3 weeks ago and they dont look much happier. Should i put them in the beds and find something else for the tubs? 

    Last edited: 21 May 2017 10:45:45

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