July 20, 2024

Plug plants are a wonderful option to fill your yard with plants, flowers, fruit, and vegetables if you want to save money but lack the time or room to sow seeds. Our plug plants, which are grown under carefully monitored circumstances by a skilled team of gardeners, are a well-liked method to kickstart your growing season.

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Check out our whole selection of bedding plants if you’re searching for a simple way to add some color to your beds and borders this season. Want to cultivate your own food? There is a vegetable plant in our assortment to fit any size garden.

What exactly is a plug plant?

Little rooted seedlings known as plug plants are grown in trays of separate cells. Usually available in packets of six to seventy-two plants, they may be purchased for as low as 10p apiece. Plug plants are a simple method to add color and texture to your landscape since they are raised in a controlled environment with just the correct quantity of light, heat, and nutrients.

While our largest “garden ready” plugs are supplied at the ideal time and are the perfect size for planting out, our smallest “extra value” plug plants require potting and hardening off. These days, fruit and vegetable plug plants are just as frequently seen on wish lists as bedding plants and flowers were in the past.

What advantages do plug plants offer?

Convenience is plug plants’ primary advantage. With minimal damage to the roots, these robust tiny plants may be transferred into their final growth places and have a high success rate. Additional benefits of growing from plugs include the following:

Saves a ton of time and work: Since plug plants don’t require care during the sensitive early stages of development or germination, they save a ton of time and effort.

Cost-effectiveness: Although plug plants initially cost a little bit more than seeds, they frequently end up being more economical over time. This is because they are less prone to pests and illnesses and have a greater survival rate than seeds.

handy: Plug plants are incredibly adaptable and handy. Raised beds, window boxes, hanging baskets, and pots may all be used to plant them. If you need a little pop of color or texture, you can also use them to close in any spaces left by gaps in your beds and borders.

Faster results: Compared to plants produced from seeds, plug plants often develop and produce fruit or flowers sooner since they are already established. As a result, you will be able to reap the rewards of your labors earlier and for a longer amount of time.

Better for novices: Plug plants are a simple method to get started in gardening if you’ve never done it before. They are easy to grow and require little care, and they can typically tolerate common gardening errors like overwatering or underwatering.

How plug plants are grown

In essence, plug plants are well-rooted seedlings (or occasionally cuttings) that make it possible for anybody to grow vegetables, bedding plants, and perennials without the need to start from beginning with seeds. They are far less expensive than fully-grown specimens and a fantastic choice for anyone who are short on time or don’t want to cultivate plants from seed.

Nurseries grow plug plants by planting seeds in specialized trays or modules that hold several “cells.” Once the seeds have germinated and the roots have filled the cell, the plants are sold to gardeners. Plugs are often shipped in protective plastic blister packs and are available in a variety of sizes.

Varying sizes

Using terms such as small plug, extra value plug, super plug, and giant plug, suppliers provide a variety of plug sizes. In general, plants become simpler to handle and establish faster with larger plugs. Little plugs are fragile, tricky, and need extra attention. It’s helpful to know what size plug plant you’re working with while learning how to cultivate them.

Additionally, 4cm, 4.5cm, 5cm, and 7cm measurements can be used to sell plug plants. This is the length of the plug itself, measured from top to bottom (not the length of the plant).

Later in the season, some wholesalers sell plants that are “garden ready.” These are essentially very huge plugs that don’t need to be cultivated in smaller pots; they may be planted directly into the ground or into final containers.

When they get there

When the compost appears to be becoming dry, open the box, remove the plug plants, and water it. The easiest method to do this is to place the plants in a saucer of room temperature water and let them absorb the water from the bottom. Once they get noticeably wet, set them on a dry saucer to let the extra moisture evaporate.

Potting up your baby plants as soon as possible after delivery is often advised. But if you can’t get around to it right away, don’t worry. As long as the compost doesn’t dry up and the plug plants are kept in a bright, warm location for many days, they should maintain rather well.

Asserting

Potting any plant, even the smallest plugs, in multipurpose compost pots of 7.5-9cm (3-3½ in) works perfectly. To ensure a flat surface, add enough compost to the pot, tap it to settle, and then rinse out any extra compost. Make a hole in the middle of each pot with a pencil or dibber, then insert the plug and press it firmly in place with your fingers.

It’s crucial to avoid placing plug plants in bigger pots. Because of their delayed establishment time and larger volume of compost, which retains a lot of moisture, plugs may get saturated and eventually perish. Practically speaking, bigger containers also require a lot more room.

Continuous care

When learning how to develop plug plants, one of the most crucial things to keep in mind is how to maintain them once they get established. Plants need frequent irrigation to be healthy as their roots begin to fill containers and top growth begins to emerge. I like to use an inside canister to softly drip water on the surface because moving them to a location where you can operate a sprinkler freely can be a bit of a pain.

Plants begin to slant toward the light as they become larger. Rest assured, this is a totally normal occurrence called phototropism. Turning containers over every few days is all that’s required to promote upright growth.

Certain plants will try to grow tall and leggy even when they are not naturally bushy. Avoid this by encouraging the formation of side shoots farther down by pinching back the developing tips of geraniums, petunias, and fuchsias when they are approximately 10 cm (4 in) high. Once they’ve generated two or three additional sets of leaves, repeat.

When you see that the roots of your plants are beginning to show through the drainage holes at the base of the pots, transfer them into slightly bigger pots to prevent a check on their growth. You might need to repeat this procedure many times, depending on the plant’s vigor and the time the plugs were given.

Relocating plants outside

Hardy perennials may be planted in the ground at any time of year, provided that it is neither frozen nor soggy. However, bring delicate bedding plants indoors until late May or early June, when there is no longer any risk of frost. Plants can be acclimated by “hardening off,” which involves bringing them outside during the day and back inside by early evening. For a few days, do this, and then leave it outside all night. If chilly weather is predicted, cover it with fleece.