Mount Folly Nurseries

Gardening Tips for Early Spring

During early Spring, you will largely be growing your plants on from plugs or seeds. Here are a few tips for this time of year:

  1. Check your plug plants or seedlings every day – fluctuation in temperature and moisture can effect small plants much more than more established plants. Spring bedding plant plugs should be kept at a minimum of 12degrees C
  2. Avoid extreme fluctuations in moisture with your plug plants – avoid drenching them regularly or allowing them to dry right out – the compost should be moist to the touch at all times. If we have a sunny spell they will require more water than when it’s cloudy and cold.
  3. Avoid unnecessary disturbance of the roots when the plants are very small – don’t take them out of the plugs or poke around in the compost unless you need to.
  4. You can check the health of your plugs’ roots without disturbing the roots by feeling the foliage with the back of your hand – a healthy root ball will ensure your plant is respiring well (breathing nicely) – healthy respiration leaves the foliage feeling slightly cool. Check with the back of your hand. (this works all year round).
  5. If you are growing your plug plants on in a conservatory or green house, invest in some small hoops and pale microfleece to cover them. This does not cut out too much sunlight, and reduces the area you will need to heat. Every other day or so, take the fleece off for a couple of hours for some fresh air.
  6. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to pot up your plugs. At each stage of re-potting, you should wait until the plant has a good healthy root ball – you will start to see clean white roots start to show through the bottom of the plug trays or pots.
  7. Over-potting (putting a plant in a pot or basket that is too big for it) can give the same effect as overwatering.
  8. If a plant is overwatered regularly it will start to wilt – giving the same symptoms as under-watering! This is because the roots have begun to rot, and therefore are not transporting water to other parts of the plant. If your plant is drooping like it needs water, but the compost is very wet, stop watering it and allow it to dry out completely. If the plant is going to recover you will start to see the plant perk up.
  9. Your bedding plug plants such as surfinias, osteospermums, verbenas and million bells and many others naturally have green foliage. At any stage of the growing, if you start to see a yellow tinge on the leaves it’s because they are lacking in nutrients. This can come from lack of natural sunlight as well as lack of fertiliser, or recycling last year’s compost. Use a good quality general purpose compost, or if you are recycling pots from last year, top them up with osmacote slow release fertiliser plugs or liquid feed.
  10. Avoid having very small plugs in direct sunlight – even the winter sun can get very hot through the glass of a greenhouse or conservatory, which can make your very small plants wilt quickly.
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