AIM – To grow on plug plants purchased at a garden centre into full size plants to create a stunning hanging basket
During spring, the garden centres are full of plug plants to buy. They come in a wide range of choices from individual plants you can choose and also ready grouped collections.
We decided to try the tropical collection for hanging baskets. The plants although strong and healthy, are too small to be planted directly into their final positions. It is also a bit cold for these tender plants that often originate from warmer climates.
The first thing to do is to transplant the little plants into slightly bigger containers. This provides them fresh compost with room to grow more roots. We put ours into the 8cm biodegradable paper pots. Not only are these the perfect size for the job, it also makes it easier to pop them into their final growing positions as there is no fiddling around with changing pots like with plastic ones. The roots grow through paper pots so there is less shock to the plant when transplanting. Once in the ground, the paper pots will compost to become part of the soil leaving no trace!
Once the plants have been put into the paper pots, its a good idea to keep them inside for a while and the kitchen windowsill provided the perfect place. We placed the pots into recycled food trays to make watering easier. Its fun to watch the roots beginning to grow through the sides of the pots!
When the plants have grown a little bigger and the risk of frost has passed (usually mid May), the plants can be placed outside to get used to being out in the elements (called hardening off). If possible it is best to put them out during the day and bring them in again at night although this may not be possible and we have never had a problem with just putting them outside and leaving them.
The plants are now big and strong and you can easily see that it is time for them to go into their final home. Just look at the roots!!
The pots were planted into the basket with the plants still in them. You can just about see the rim of a paper pot in the basket. This will disappear very quickly.
Wow! Within on a few weeks, the flowers are in full bloom and the basket looks fabulous!