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when is the usual time to plant window boxes - I have grown hundreds of plants from seed (by accident! I was expecting some of them to die!) and now want them off all my window ledges inside my flat but don't know whether I'd lose the lot to cold and frost

is it too early? when is the usual time?


I would hold off for another month if I was you - then if we get a late frost you could cover the windowboxes with some fleece

Pam x

thanks Pam - I was afraid you'd say that! I want my window ledges back! Also they are all looking a bit tired of being crammed on there together in tiny pots and I'm getting the odd little blackfly which isnt good and the odd yellow leaf

But there's no point just chucking them out in the window boxes and hoping for the best after nursing them since January so I will wait

but apart from the fact that they're struggling now - they are really starting to out stay their welcome inside the flat


It depends on where you are and how high up is your flat.  The usual advice is not to put out anything tender before frosts end in about mid May but if your window sills face south and are high enough to be clear of ground frosts you may be OK to do it a week or two earlier. On the other hand, if you're in an exposed or windy site, best to wait.

If you have more plants than you need, you could try potting on the best seedlings into the window boxes but keep them indoors for now.  Keep a few spares just in case and pot them into small pots to grow on and then give away the remaining seedlings or just put them on the compost heap.

thanks obelixx

I'm more greenfingered than I thought! Everything has survived - I have about 90 marigolds!!

of course they could all keel over once they're planted out or get infections from being inside all crammed together etc.etc.- they are starting to look exhausted so I won't speak too soon - I will give anything away but intend to fill my balconies to the brim first

I'm 3 flights up so I think its a bit too blowy and cold even in the sheltered parts of the balcony floors so I'll wait


Alina W

If you sowed in January, have you fed the seedlings since? Compost generally runs out of nutrients after about 6 weeks, so if they've not been fed they're going to be hungry.

If you have 'spare' plants you could always join up with this lot and do some guerrilla gardening !!!

thats good to know Alina I didnt know that - shall I give them some liquid seaweed? what do you feed yours?

Margot - I have loads of gardening friends who will be able to find a spot for a few marigolds! there always seems to be room


Maybe you could try as Obelixx says, then pop the windowboxes outside during the day, if it's fine/possible, and lug them back in for the evening or cover them with fleece or similar.

If you're growing marigolds, they're pretty tough, but keeping them inside isn't going to help them get used to the big wide world outside

what shall i feed them with?


If you can run to it, and there's room on the balcony, the seedhouses with plastic covers are a good stop-gap between indoors and outdoors.  I have a load of stuff out in them at the moment, with a bit of fleece on particularly chilly nights; it frees up the windowsills!

Green Magpie

Things like marigolds, nasturtiums and sweet peas are quite tough and should be OK out of doors if they're hardened off over a few days. Other things like fuchsias are more tender. I think you could put quite a bit out in window boxes now - if you have plenty of seedlings, you can keep some spares indoors as a back-up. If there's a frost on the way, have some fleece or bubble wrap ready to throw over them at nights until this cold weather is over.

I'm in the same boat, Grai.  Last year I left everything too late and this year I think I started too early so I have plants that have been potted on with a view to going outside but we are still getting night frosts and have had 10/11 days of non-stop heavy rain.  I thought the needle had fallen off my barometer the other night as it went so low it was off the scale!  I'm in North London/Essex and I'm too afraid to put my little darlings outside!  I might try a few and see how they get on, I have sown far too many so I can afford to lose a few.  Wish me luck! 

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