Posts Tagged ‘young plant’

Seeds or plugs? Part one

January 31st, 2020 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Geranium 'Paladium Mixed' grown from plugs is better value and easier than starting with seed.

There are two main reasons for buying plugs of annuals and patio plants that you could also raise from seed.

  1. Some seeds need sowing in winter to start flowering in early summer and you don’t have the facilities.
  2. The varieties available as plugs are better than the ones available as seed.

So this week I’ll discuss the first group and next week I’ll discuss the second…

Plants that need a long growing season to develop from seed sowing to flowering must be sown in January or February to give them enough time. If they don’t start flowering till August, half the summer is gone.

The problem is that in winter the days are short, temperatures and light levels are low and germinating and growing on seedlings on the windowsill, or even in the conservatory, is a lot trickier than bringing them on in a heated propagator in a greenhouse. And if they fail, it may be too late to order replacement plugs.

So if you can find varieties that do what you need them to do, I’d recommend buying begonias as plugs, calibrachoas as plugs and geraniums (zonal pelargoniums) as plugs. That way the nursery looks after the trickiest phase of their development – from germination to establishment as flourishing seedlings – so you don’t have to. You can take over for the easy part and it’s still more economical than buying garden-ready plants from the garden centre.

How about this: ten seeds of a mix of zonal pelargoniums will cost you £3.60. Four packets will cost you £14.40. Forty plugs of a better variety will cost you £13.95! And the cheaper plugs are already healthy seedlings! You see my point…

Victorian delights

August 31st, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Primula 'Victoriana'

Laced polyanthus were one of the horticultural treasures of Victorian Britain. Originally in shades of deepest red and chocolate brown, each petal edged in gold, these treasures are available from specialists but good quality plants have been hard to come by.

‘Victoriana’ is a mix of rich to bright red shades, plus what used to be called Hollywood cerise, that combines that captivating colouring, consistent laced edging with prolific flowering, a neat growth and a reliable perennial habit.

Developed by a specialist plant breeder in Norfolk, production of seed of ‘Victoriana’ has now been discontinued so this may be your last chance to order these delightful little plants.

Reaching about 30cm high, with neat rich green foliage, set the plants at the front of a sunny border or, better still, in a container where the plants are raised closer to the eye the better to appreciate their pretty markings.

Expect flowers from February to May, I also like to pot up a few plants and keep them in a cold greenhouse or porch for an early display that’s protected from the weather. The stems of ‘Victoriana’ can also be cut for pretty little spring posies, a delightful spring treat.