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Hi all, 

I have ordered a set of mixed perennials from Thompson & Morgan and they arrived this morning, Each seedling is in a very tiny plug. Please can someone advise me (in detail!) what to do next? There is an information leaflet, but as a beginner gardener, I have some uncertainties. 

It says to plant them up into 9cm pots - is that one per seedling, or do I put a few seedlings into one pot? Then how long do I let them grow indoors before I start hardening them off, and when is the latest I should be actually planting them in the ground? And finally, will they all not just die over winter?! Thanks for any help.

Hi

Firstly, get a cup of tea and stop panicking!

It dont matter what size pot or how many you plant into each, as long as they arent squashed right on top of each other they will be fine

This is my method, you will be given different advice too, try it all find what works for you.

Buy compost and horti grit (fine grit, the stuff they give pidgeons will do at a push), fill a plant pot with soil, make a hole (a pencil works best) put the tiny plant in and gently push the soil around it to where the roots meet the stem, once you have put as many as you want in a pot, top it with a bit of grit, just enough to cover the surface of the soil, this looks nice and is supposed to help stop baby plants rotting from getting too wet, sit your pots in a tray of water, or water gently from above.

No need to keep them indoors, but they will need a sheltered spot, a coldframe woyld be ideal, if not, put them against the wall of the house, that will give them a bit of shelter

Good luck, please post how you get on
Amy Lathwell

Good tips - as I, too would be clueless!

good advice from Munzle! let them settle into their  pots and once they look like they are growing strongly (new shoots) and filling the pots you should be able to plant them out. If you pot them up in small pots you might also see roots growing through the holes in the bottom. As it sounds like you have quite a mixture, you might be able to plant out some earlier than others.  I would aim to get them in the round before the end of October - the soil should still be quite warm even if we are shivering - depends where you are. They will continue to grow for a while, and then once winter is upon us, they might disappear entirely, or will at the very least look very tatty, but don't worry they will pop up and start growing strongly in Spring. So make sure you have something to remind you where you planted them! Try and avoid walking on the ground once you have planted them. If you're planting bulbs too, probably put them in at the same time or around the perennials whilst you can still see them. Good luck!

nutcutlet

If I'd bought these I'd have them outside for now, but in a coldframe or cold GH when the weather turns really wintery. Apart from that I'd do as bekkie suggests

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I don't have a coldframe or a greenhouse. Perhaps I should ask the neighbour to borrow theirs? All good advice - thank you

Hi Munzle

Nut and Bekkie have probably given you the best advice. You just need to put them somewhere sheltered - against a wall is fine. Just somewhere they won't be subject to the worst of the weather. Don't worry too much. I have a small, PVC greenhouse which will be full of tender plants over winter and I intend to use the butler's sink in my garden as a cold frame - I will just chuck some horticultural fleece over it if we have arctic blasts forecast (you can pick this up in pound stores, BTW). We should have some nice, warm weather over the next few weeks and I am sure your plants will get off to a good start. Also, you will probably lose some -  often for no apparent reason. That's just nature. They'll probably be fine in pots over winter. I just like to get mine in the ground as soon as poss because I am lazy. If they look like they need a bit more TLC, keep them protected in pots.

I agree with nut and would not risk planting them in the ground this year as we don't know what sort of winter we could get.  I speak from experience, as a novice gardener several years back, without the invaluable advice from this site, and in my enthusiasm to get going, planted them into the soil at the end of October.  Every plant disappeared without trace and it wasn't a particularly bad winter.

Okay, it sounds like I'm going to have to find them somewhere to live over the winter. First I've got to get them all planted up though - trip to garden centre tomorrow

You can get 20 8cm pots from the 99p store.

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