Community Buy - Green Flower Farm forum: When you Get Your Plants
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|Airing Your Plants Out
Your plants just traveled hundreds (in some cases - thousands) of miles. It is a good idea to let them air out before you do anything with them.
1. Carefully remove them from the shipping box.Unwrap the newspaper.
2. Inspect them, to see if they are dry and if so give them a little drink.
3. Put them in a dappled shady spot (with gradual sun and water increase) until you are ready to plant them.
**This may not be a best practice for you all, but I have done Step 3 for several weeks up to a month before I actually had time to get my plants in the ground. An early morning sun locaton is IDEAL because they will be getting some sun, but never put young plants like this in the hot sun until they have adjusted. As long as they are looking healthy, add a little more sun to their exposure daily and water when needed until you can get them planted.
Your plants were watered from the roots and lightly misted before they were shipped. This should keep them moist until they arrive at your house. If they are wrapped in plastic baggies, either remove the baggie or using scissors, carefully cut the bottom off of the clear baggie only. (Don't cut into the plant wrapping). If they are in plastic cups (liners), just set the cups in a little water to water them from the roots. (Read on...)
A Best Practice for Us is: When watering our plants,
1. We place them in a shallow baby pool with about 1/2" - 1" of water in the bottom.
2. For larger plants (1-3 Gallons and larger) a little more water. Small qty of plants, it is easier just to put them in a shallow pan/container (or lid) with about 1" of water in the bottom.
3. We leave them in the water for about 30 minutes and then remove, and set in the shady/dappled shady spot increasing sun exposure daily.
4. Repeat Repeat this step until you are ready to plant. Please allow your plants to "somewhat" dry out between waterings. Too much, constant moisture will cause them to rot.
5. And lastly, we like to water from the bottom and mist the top. We've often received plugs from other coops, where the crown was rotting. This happens when plants get watered from the top and water/moisture sits there for extended periods of time. Somtimes, plants can be so fibrous with roots, and without good drainage in the plug, the water never really gets to the bottom.
Now for best performance of your plants, it is best to go by the grower recommendations. Most often, growers recommend that plants be "potted up" meaning to pot the plant up in a container, 1 size larger and tender care for them a little longer. For example, if you get a 2" plug, you would pot that up in a 3" liner/pot, then go up to a 4" pot, to a quart, and/or gallon, then to your garden spot.(This happens over the course of 4-6 weeks). Some plants are such fast growers that they can go directly from a plug to a 1G pot. (Those are the ones I really like).
Scotchie and I have often experimented with different planting methods and we have had considerable success just planting the plugs directly into the ground. Year before last, we experimented with many plants, including Salvia May Night by planting plugs directly into the ground. Almost every plug multiplied in size & number and bloomed beautifully that first summer (within months of planting). What more could we ask for out of a $1.50 perennial? We got the results we wanted without the extra work. (Sorry, but that's the way I like it We did the same thing with Heucheras and various grasses, and had great success. A tried and proven method for me when planting plugs....is to (1) follow techniques listed in the Planting paragraph below, (2) Make sure plants get adequate light and water.
Suzanne's theory is this:
If 10 plugs @ $1.50 cost = $15.00, And if that same $15.00 would get you maybe 2-3 of those same plants (although they are larger) at a Lowes/Home Depot or a nursery. And if you have a 90 % survival rate...., then at the end of the season you will have 9 plants vs. 2 plants for the same $15. (It is one of my life's mission to get more for less...sorry, it is in my blood, and I was born that way)
Most of you have your own planting practices that you have tried and proven and please feel free to make any additions here that you think will be helpful to us all. The best practice for me is to always install the plant at the same depth in the ground or container as is growing in the container you just removed it from. Additionally, if you have poor soil (which I do), I always backfill my hole with rich top soil (bought at any garden center) or any personal mix that you have had good luck with. (ie a mix of top soil and vermiculite perlite, etc). Just mix up a small bucket of what you want to backfill with and take it with you to plant. Backfilling this way will give your plants the best start, and when you water after planting, your plant/plant area will make much more efficient use of the water it does get.
Trimming will promote good root growth and leaf growth. Until your plants get larger, you may occasionally want to trim some stems near the crown. Also, if the plant shows signs of wilt when you know that it has be adequately cared for, you may want to trim stems.
And don't forget to keep a check on your plants. Make sure that they get what they need (sun/water) until they get established root systems.
Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. ~Lou Erickson
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