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