At Van Meuwen we supply two main sizes of plug plant: The standard plug plant can usually be planted straight out into hanging baskets, Flower Pouches™ or patio containers (as long as weather conditions are suitable) or can be grown on in pots or trays before planting out into your garden borders. Our plug tray plants (24, 48 or 72 per pack) are a little smaller and will require growing on before they can be planted out in your garden borders or containers - however, you get lots more plants for your money and so this can be a very cost effective way of buying plants.
You can find more information about the sizes of our plants on our How we send your plants page.
When you receive your plants, open the packaging immediately and stand them upright (don't worry if some compost has become loose during transit). If your plugs seem dry, soak them in water for half an hour and then let any excess water drain away. Keep them in a cool, bright and well ventilated place until you are ready to pot them up - ideally you should pot on your plants as soon as possible after receiving them to ensure the best results! See our video below for step by step instructions.
Our larger plugs can be potted on or planted straight away into containers, flower pouches or baskets (However, they will still need to be hardened off - see "Planting out" below for details). Just before you start potting on, stand your plug plants in water to soften the compost. Fill your pots or trays with multipurpose compost, then make a hole slightly larger than the plug plant, place the plug in and gently firm the compost around the roots. Ideally, use 7-9cm pots or space 8-10cm apart in trays. If you are planting your plug plants straight into hanging baskets or patio containers it is a good idea to incorporate a suitable slow release plant fertiliser such as our Push, Feed 'n' Forget Fertiliser Tablets to your compost. Before placing any plug plants outside it is important to check whether they are hardy (refer to cultural instructions), otherwise they will need to be kept somewhere frost-free until all risk of frost has passed.
Ideally plug tray plants should be potted up as soon as you receive them. If there is a delay, keep them in a cool, bright and well ventilated place. When you are ready to pot on your plants, soak the plug tray in water to soften the compost. Holding the plants by the leaves (not the stems), gently ease the plugs out of their tray. If plugs are difficult to remove, push a pencil tip through the holes in the base of the tray to remove them.
Plant the plug tray plants individually into 5-7cm pots or trays of multi-purpose compost, if you are using trays - allow 5-7cm spacing between plants to allow for growth. Simply make a hole in the compost slightly larger than the plug and place the plug in, gently firming the compost around the roots. Stand your newly potted plants in a tray of water for 10 minutes until the compost is moist on the surface and then allow any excess water to drain away. Place your plants in a frost-free greenhouse, conservatory or on a cool, bright windowsill. Growing your plants in cool conditions will encourage sturdy, strong growth - too much warmth will encourage weak and leggy growth.
When plants are well grown, acclimatise them (harden off) to the lower outdoor temperatures for at least a week before planting outdoors. This simply means placing your plants outside during the day and bringing them undercover at night (or covering with fleece). It's best not to leave your plants outside if temperatures are likely to fall below 5°C (41°F). Only plant out half-hardy or tender plants permanently once all risk of frost has passed.
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