What do you do with bedding plants?
It depends entirely what size bedding plants you buy.
is always a decision between cost and effort.
Smaller bedding plants are cheaper, so you can have more, but need
to be grown on.
There are intermediate stages that need some growing on before putting
Garden ready plants are the most expensive and can be just put straight
out into the beds and borders in your garden. They take least effort.
The smaller the plants the earlier they are sent out. As many are not
frost hardy you need somewhere sheltered from frost to grow them on.
A greenhouse is ideal, or a conservatory or a cold frame will do.
Plug plants are 4-8cm in height from the root of the plant to the top
of the stem
Garden Ready plants are 6-10cm in height from the root of the plant
to the top of the stem.
Super garden ready are 7-11cm in height from the root of the plant
to the top of the stem.
Jumbo ready plants are 8-12cm in height from the root of the plant
to the top of the stem
What to do with your plants?
When your bedding plants arrive you need to follow
a few simple instructions.
1. Keep them in their trays indoors. Find a well lit but draught free
space for 24 hours.
2. Check to see if the compost is a dry. If it is then stand the tray
in shallow water.
If you don't have a tray big enough (and growbag trays from the greenhouse
are really useful for this) then gently spray water lightly over the
tray but allow the leaves to dry - so have a window open perhaps.
3. When the compost is damp drain off any excess water so they are
not sat with wet roots.
4. Any loose compost or tired leaves from their travel can be discarded.
It doesn't affect the plants. If leaves are snapped partly off then
remove them entirely.
5. For garden ready or super jumbo stage skip straight to the planting
out section. Growing on is optional!
The Growing on stage
1. You need to water the plants a couple of hours before potting them
on. This is something you should do with all plants you are transplanting
whether from a pot to a bigger pot or to the garden.
2. Remove the plants from the tray carefully. You might need help gently
squeezing the tray or pushing up from underneath using something like
a pencil or a finger. Be careful though as to not damage the roots.
3. Move the plants one by one into new pots or seed trays filled with
good purpose multi purpose compost. If you put them into new pots then
they should be an inch or so bigger than the ones they are in currently.
You can pot them into 3 inch pots if you have these. If you have trays
to hold them together it makes it easier moving them around and for
when you carry them out to the garden.
You can use trays of soil but leave plenty of space around them so the
roots don't get too tangled up as you'll need to separate them out when
you plant them out.
4. Once the plants are in their new pots or trays you need to water
Water carefully at this stage. In cooler weather you do not want to
over water the plants as they can get easily damaged by the cold or
start to rot. Drain them and remove excess water from trays. You do
not need to water every day and infact can probably safely leave it
for about a week. If the compost gets too dry it can be harder to water
but the plants should be ok.
5. Keep the potted up plants in a warm well-lit area although avoid
direct sunlight. A conservatory or night heated greenhouse is a good
place. If it's cold during the day you can cover them with a piece of
fleece material and make sure they are heated at night to avoid the
frost damaging them.
6. Use a good quality liquid fertiliser after 2-3 weeks. Seaweed fertiliser
is easy to store in the house and simple to dilute. Do not be tempted
to use at a higher strength than recommended.
7. Important - keep them frost free! They will be seriously damaged
by frost - and can be killed. It will certainly restrict their growth.
Planting out your bedding plants
1. Once the risk of frost has passed your half-hardy bedding plants
can be planted outside. Hardy plants can be planted out earlier.
2. Make sure you harden off your plants prior to planting out
You do this by taking them out every day and bringing them in at night
for at least a week and preferably more. Don't be frighted to delay
putting them out if the weather is very bad. They don't grow well in
cold weather and it's always a shock to their systems so they will do
better holding off for a day or two.
3. Again follow the golden rule of watering your plants a couple of
hours before you plant them out.
4. Plant firmly at the appropriate distance apart. Normally this is
between 9-12 inche dependent on the plant. Planting too close together
means they don't have enough space, light and water around them to grow
Hanging baskets can have more plants planted closer together but this
is because you prepare the soil especially well and feed weekly to get
5. Water the plants every day for about a week and then only during
dry periods or when it's very hot. Don't water them in sunshine though
as this might scald the leaves and damage the plants. Also water will
evaporate quicker during the heat of the day so wait until the cooler
evening to water your garden.
6. If the weather is crazy and we get a frost forecast after the normal
date then don't be afraid to cover them up with a sheet of agricultural
fleece. Any June frost is unlikely to be really hard (Famous last words
I know) so a fleece covering should really make the difference.