Category Archives: Gardening

steps on how to become a better herb gardener

 Nothing makes a gourmet dish tastier than fresh herbs added to it. There are a variety of fresh herbs that are easy to grow including Mint, Oregano, Basil, Cilantro, Rosemary, Thyme, and many others.

1: Start with the right variety. Fresh herbs come in many varieties and can taste vastly different from one another. Read the fine print and look for the exact variety you favor best. For instance, there are two main varieties of Oregano: Mediterranean and Mexican. Mediterranean is the most common variety cooks find in their kitchen, whereas Mexican is often used in tomato dishes to add some spice. There are also many different varieties of mint. The Spearmint plant is much more potent than the Apple Mint plant. With that being said, it is very important to know your variety.

2: Water those herbs! Herbs should be watered a moderate amount every day. Some houseplants flourish with one solid watering per week, but most delicate herbs require moderate and regular watering. Many find Miracle Gro useful and helpful in the growing process. Even a diluted solution of Miracle Gro occasionally can help many herbs flourish.

3: Cutting the Plants & Picking the Herbs. In order to keep a plant healthy, a frequent trim from time to time is recommended. It is important to trim the herb just above a growing set of leaves. We would advise letting it grow 3-4” before another trim. When picking the plant, it is imperative to pick from the top leaves. The bottom leaves on a plant are the solar panels, and act as the power and strength for your herb’s growth.

In order to maintain a healthy herb, it is crucial to supply the plant with the proper nutrients. Healthy soil, water, and sunlight is all you need to ensure you have a constant supply of fresh herbs at your fingertips.

How we use them to grow our annuals

    The term ‘Beneficial Bugs’ encompasses a wide variety of insects that assist farmers and gardeners with pollination and pest control. Here at the Garden Factory we use these beneficial bugs to help grow our annuals. In keeping with modern organic and eco-friendly pest control methods, we have chosen to use certain species of beneficial bugs in our new greenhouse to prevent and manage any bug problems that may arise. The bugs that we release into the greenhouse will only survive as long as they have a food source – that being the undesirable pests. You do not need to be at all concerned about bringing a plant from our greenhouse into your home. These microscopic bugs live short durations, and feed only on the unwanted bugs. The species of bugs we use to protect our plants are listed below.

Phytoline Persimilis

Phytoline Persimilis is a well-known predator of the two-spotted spider mite. The adults and young stages of Phytoline Persimilis will feed on both the adults and eggs of the spider mite. This can help prevent those aggravating spider mites that can infest your plants.

Amblyline Cucumeris

Amblyline Cucumeris is a key treatment for the control of Western Flower Thrips. The Amblyline Cucumeris feeds on thrips larvae, eliminating them before they become a problem.

Orius Insidiosus

Orius Insidiosus, also known as Minute Pirate Bugs, are generalist predators that feed on aphids, spider mites, scale insects, insect eggs, thrips, and whiteflies, among others.

Cryptolaemus Montrouzieri

Cryptolaemus montrouzieri (Lady Beatle) adult females lay eggs in the egg sack of adult female mealybugs. Their larval stage lasts 12-17 days, during which a single larvae may consume 250 mealybugs.

The beneficial bugs play a major role in keeping your gardens safe and healthy. In the production of our annuals we slip a small biodegradable packet into the soil in which the bugs disperse. Remember these are not bad bugs and they only live off the unwanted insects, therefore once these unwanted insects are not around the beneficial bugs die off. This is one eco-friendly way for gardeners to get rid of the unwanted bugs that infest our beautiful flowers & gardens.

Nice garden design

Rain gardens benefit our environment in several ways: They increase the amount of water that filters into the ground, they help protect communities from flooding and drainage problems, they help protect streams and lakes from pollutants, and they provide a valuable habitat for birds, butterflies, and many beneficial bugs.

While rain gardens are a highly functional way to help protect water quality, they are also gardens and should be an attractive part of your yard and neighborhood. Think of the rain garden in the context of your home’s overall landscape design. Here are a few tips:

When choosing native plants for the garden, it is important to consider the height of each plant, bloom time and color, and its overall texture. Use plants that bloom at different times to create a long flowering season. Mix heights, shapes, and textures to give the garden depth and dimension. This will keep the rain garden looking interesting even when few wildflowers are in bloom.

When laying plants out, randomly clump individual species in groups of 3 to 7 plants to provide a bolder statement of color. Make sure to repeat these individual groupings to create repetition and cohesion in a planting. This will provide a more traditional formal look to the planting.

Try incorporating a diverse mixture of sedges, rushes, and grasses with your flowering species (forbs). This creates necessary root competition that will allow plants to follow their normal growth patterns and not outgrow or out-compete other species. In natural areas, a diversity of plant types not only adds beauty but also create a thick underground root matrix that keeps the entire plant community in balance. In fact, 80% of the plant mass in native prairie communities is underground. Once the rain garden has matured and your sedges, rushes and grasses have established a deep, thick root system, there will be less change in species location from year to year, and weeds will naturally decline.

Finally, consider enhancing the rain garden by using local or existing stone, ornamental fences, trails, garden benches, or additional wildflower plantings. This will help give the new garden an intentional and cohesive look and provide a feeling of neatness that the neighbors will appreciate.

5 Tips for Effective Weed Control

1. LET SLEEPING WEEDS LIE

Kill weeds at their roots but leave the soil—and dormant weed seeds—largely undisturbed. of your garden contains weed seeds, but only those in the top inch or two of soil get enough light to trigger germination. Digging and cultivating brings hidden weed seeds to the surface, so assume weed seeds are there ready to erupt, like ants from an upset anthill, every time you open a patch of ground. Dig only when you need to and immediately salve the disturbed spot with plants or mulch.

In lawns, minimize soil disturbance by using a sharp knife with a narrow blade to slice through the roots of dandelions and other lawn weeds to sever their feed source rather than digging them out. Keep in mind that weed seeds can remain dormant for a long, long time.

2. MULCH, MULCH, MULCH

Mulch benefits plants by keeping the soil cool and moist and depriving weeds of light. Organic mulches, in particular, can actually host crickets and carabid beetles, which seek out and devour thousands of weed seeds.

Some light passes through chunky mulches, and often you will discover—too late—that the mulch you used was laced with weed seeds. It’s important to replenish the mulch as needed to keep it about 2 inches deep (more than 3 inches deep can deprive soil of oxygen). In any case, you can set weeds way back by covering the soil’s surface with a light-blocking sheet of cardboard, newspaper, or biode­gradable fabric and then spreading prettier mulch over it.

If you choose to use this method on seldom-dug areas, such as the root zones of shrubs and trees, opt for tough landscape fabric for the light-blocking bottom sheet. There is a catch, however: As soon as enough organic matter accumulates on the landscape fabric, weed seeds dropped by birds or carried in on the wind will start to grow. For the bottom layer of fabric to be effective, these must be pulled before they sink their roots through and into the ground.

2. MULCH, MULCH, MULCH

Mulch benefits plants by keeping the soil cool and moist and depriving weeds of light. Organic mulches, in particular, can actually host crickets and carabid beetles, which seek out and devour thousands of weed seeds.

Some light passes through chunky mulches, and often you will discover—too late—that the mulch you used was laced with weed seeds. It’s important to replenish the mulch as needed to keep it about 2 inches deep (more than 3 inches deep can deprive soil of oxygen). In any case, you can set weeds way back by covering the soil’s surface with a light-blocking sheet of cardboard, newspaper, or biode­gradable fabric and then spreading prettier mulch over it.

If you choose to use this method on seldom-dug areas, such as the root zones of shrubs and trees, opt for tough landscape fabric for the light-blocking bottom sheet. There is a catch, however: As soon as enough organic matter accumulates on the landscape fabric, weed seeds dropped by birds or carried in on the wind will start to grow. For the bottom layer of fabric to be effective, these must be pulled before they sink their roots through and into the ground.

4. LOP OFF THEIR HEADS

When you can’t remove weeds, the next best thing is to chop off their heads. With annual weeds, dead­heading buys you a few weeks of time before the weed “seed rain” begins. Cutting back the tops of perennial weeds, like bindweed, reduces reseeding and forces them to use up food reserves and exhaust their supply of root buds, thus limiting their spread.

You will need pruning loppers to take down towers of ragweed or poke, or you can step up to a string trimmer equipped with a blade attachment to cut prickly thistles or brambles down to nubs. No matter which method you choose, chopping down weeds before they go to seed will help keep them from spreading.

5. MIND THE GAPS BETWEEN PLANTS

Close plant spacing chokes out emerging weeds by shading the soil between plants. You can prevent weed-friendly gaps from the get-go by designing with mass plantings or in drifts of closely spaced plants rather than with polka dots of widely scattered ones. You can usually shave off about 25 percent from the recommended spacing.

Most spacing recommendations, however, are based on the assumption that adjoining plants will barely touch when they reach mature size, so stick with the guidelines when working with plants that are prone to foliar diseases, such as bee balms (Monarda didymaand cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 4–9) and phloxes (Phlox paniculataand cvs., Zones 4–8).

Heart of Muslim Vacances

Timely harvest of vegetables sown or planted outside early in the growing season, and ones that generally mature rapidly or during cooler temperatures, results in the best flavor and longest harvest period.  Many of these also make good fall crops, started later in the season.

Snap asparagus spears off at ground level when they are six to ten inches tall.  Harvest over a period of six to eight weeks, as long as they are pencil thin.

If you planted beets in spring, July may be too late to harvest.  Begin harvest when beets reach one inch in diameter, with the main harvest when beets are two to three inches across.  Young beet greens are great harvested and cooked too.  Harvest fall beets before a moderate freeze (24 to 28 degrees F), or mulch heavily for continued harvest through fall.

Cool crops are ones that you started outdoors during the cool of spring, and that like cool temperatures to grow well.  They also can be planted in late summer for a fall crop.  Harvest broccoli before flowers start to open, while the individual flower parts (florets) are still tight and dark green.  Harvest cabbage when heads are solid.  If you wait too long, heads may split.  To help prevent this, and to delay harvest, a trick is to pull up on the head until you hear the upper roots snap.  When cauliflower heads (curds) are two inches across, tie outer leaves above the head with rubber bands to keep them white.  You can then harvest in a couple weeks when heads are larger.

Begin harvest of carrots when they are one to two inches thick.  Refer to packet or catalog information for your specific varieties.  Harvesting also can be used to thin carrots so some can grow larger.  Harvest spring-sown carrots before the heat of July, and late-season carrots before the ground freezes in late fall.

You can harvest leaf lettuce as soon as leaves get to the size you want.  Harvest only outer leaves, letting more grow from the inside.  Regular picking of leaves extends the harvest season, as does sowing successive crops two to three weeks apart.  Spinach can be harvested similarly, or you can harvest the whole plant. Once days get longer than 14 hours, or in heat, spinach will grow tall and bloom—called “bolting”.  For this reason it is often grown in the fall, as well as it being able to tolerate temperatures in the teens to low 20s.

For green onions, harvest when they get to the size you desire.  For dry onions, harvest them when they are between one-quarter and one inch across for table use (eating).

When garden pea pods are light green and full, but before they yellow, is the best time to harvest.  On the other hand, harvest snow peas when the seeds start to show in pods but before they fill out.

Harvest radishes when they are one-half to one inch across.  Finish harvest before the heat of July, or for fall crops before the ground freezes in late fall.

Only harvest stalks of rhubarb, not leaves, as the leaves contain oxalic acid which can be toxic.  Pick when stalks are one-half to one inch in diameter.

As soon as turnips reach one inch across you can begin their harvest.  They, too, are a good fall crop and will withstand several light freezes, as can kale.  Frost, in fact, improves the flavor of both.  If left too long, or grown poorly, turnip stems may become woody. Harvest kale when leaves are the size of your hand.

Forest Landscape Plants

Birch leafminer and borer, eastern tent caterpillars, and fall webworms are some of the common pests on trees and shrubs in landscapes.  Knowing these, and their least toxic controls, will help you to have healthier plants with the least harm to the environment.

Birch leaf miner larvae feed inside birch leaves, causing tan-colored blotches.  In severe infestations, leaves may be almost totally brown.  Gray birch and paper birch are most susceptible, with other birches much less so.  It is much easier to control adults in spring as the new leaves emerge, before adult miners lay eggs   The larvae that hatch, being inside the leaves, are much harder to control.  If this pest is severe for several years, trees can be weakened and attacked by the bronze birch borer.

The bronze birch borer is the larva of a beetle which tunnels through the bark, eventually resulting in tree death.  This happens from the borer eating and cutting off the vascular tissue— that part of the tree that conducts water and nutrients below the bark surface.  Once you see raised areas in the bark, control may be too late.  Most commonly injured are paper and white birches, with other species more resistant.  Preventing injury from birch leaf miner helps, as does keeping trees healthy, and not pruning trees during summer when adult beetles are flying about. Larvae, once inside trees, are difficult to control.

Eastern tent caterpillars are recognized by many from their white webbed “tents” in branch crotches, teaming with black caterpillars.  These insects hatch from eggs in early spring as buds open on apples, crabapples, cherries, and their relatives.  They emerge from the nests on warm days to feed on leaves, at which time they can be controlled with sprays such as insecticidal soap.  Nests can be pruned out in early summer and destroyed, as can the shiny black egg masses (about one inch long) found on twigs in winter.

Fall webworms are similar in that they make web nests, but these are on branch tips and appear in mid to late summer.  There often are several nests per plant, compared to one for tent caterpillars.  And the larvae of fall webworm feed from within their silky nest, expanding the nest down the plant as they feed.  Nests can be pruned out as for tent caterpillars.  Don’t use fire to destroy these or tent caterpillar nests, as the fire may damage the host plants.  Many different plants host this pest, including birch, lilac, crabapple, and cherry.  Since feeding is late in the season, it is more an aesthetic problem than harm to plants.

Viburnums are great landscape shrubs but unfortunately, the viburnum leaf beetle is particularly fond of some species.  Both larvae and adults can quickly defoliate plants, only leaf skeletons remaining.  Eggs hatch in late spring when the young larvae begin feeding, followed by adults in mid-summer. If you monitor plants almost daily, as a friend of mine does, you can pick off insects as they appear and you see them.  If you use pesticides, use least toxic ones such as insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or neem products so that you don’t harm beneficial insects, which feed on adult beetles.  You can learn more about this pest, and which species are most resistant to it, from Cornell University (www.hort.cornell.edu/vlb/).

Other potentially serious pests to watch for on landscape plants include the Japanese beetle, black vine weevil, and white pine weevil.  More on these and others, and their controls, can be found from the University of Massachusetts (ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets).

New Vegetables for planting in 2017

Each year the best of the new annual flowers and vegetables are judged nationwide, and the winners given the All-America Selections (AAS) designation.   To be an AAS winner, plants must show improvements over any similar existing cultivars (cultivated varieties).  This year’s vegetable winners include a mustard, onion, two sweet peppers, a pumpkin, radish, two tomatoes, and even a strawberry.

In the past, the winners were only those that were deemed worthy across most of North America.  While there are still these “national” winners, there are now regional winners as well—those performing best in a particular region.  This doesn’t mean that they won’t grow and produce acceptably in other regions too.

Japanese Red Kingdom mustard was a national winner, being an F1 hybrid (a cross of two specific parents).  It is the first mizuna type, or Japanese, mustard AAS winner, and has attractive reddish-purple leaves in addition.  It has higher yields than some other mizunas, is less likely to “bolt” (make flower stalks), has a mild flavorful taste, and the leaves make it good too as an ornamental.  It only needs three to five weeks from sowing until harvest.  Mizuna greens are used in Asian cooking, such as stir fry, or in hot dishes such as to flavor potatoes.

Bunching Warrior onion is a bunching or green scallion type, good grilled or to add texture and flavor to salads and many kinds of recipes.  It is reported to last longer, if left in the ground, than other similar onions.  This is a regional winner, needing about 60 days from sowing until harvest.  If sowing seeds indoors, figure on about a month to harvest from transplanting.

Cornito Giallo is a sweet Italian frying pepper, a cone or horn shape, and bright yellow when left to mature.  From transplanting outside, figure on about 75 days to harvesting.  It is prolific, and can have two dozen or more fruits per plant.  Judges reported this national winning pepper to have an outstanding flavor either raw, cooked, or fire-roasted.

Escamillo is another sweet frying horned-type pepper and, like the other winning pepper, is a national winner, an F1 hybrid, and bred by Johnny’s Seeds of Maine.  Its fruits, when mature, are a golden yellow.  Figure on about the same time to harvest as the other pepper, and similar uses.

Super Moon pumpkin is an F1 hybrid and regional winner.  As you might guess from its name, it is white when mature– the first white pumpkin to be an AAS winner.  Fruits can get large—up to 50 pounds—although they are usually 25 to 30 pounds.  The plant is disease resistant.  Figure on about 90 days to harvest from sowing seeds.

Sweet Baby radish, too, is an F1 hybrid and regional winner.  Fruits (roots) are an elongated egg shape (“obovate”).  On the outside they mature purplish, and on the inside mostly white with purple streaks.  Their taste is described as crispy, crunchy, and slightly spicy.  Days to harvest from sowing seeds is 40 to 45 days.  Make successive sowings every two to three weeks if you want to harvest through the season.

Candyland Red tomato is a national winner, and the only currant-type winner ever.  This type has smaller fruits than cherry tomatoes. Fruit are dark red and sweet, maturing about 95 days from sowing seeds, or about 55 days from transplanting seedling plants that you started indoors about six weeks earlier.  Fruit are only about one-half inch wide and weight about one-quarter ounce.  Vines are indeterminate (keep growing from the tips) so can reach five feet or more, and need suitable staking.  This makes them more suited to ground beds than containers.

Chef’s Choice is a green tomato, a national winner, and another F1 hybrid.  Fruit are green with subtle yellow stripes, and flavor described as citrusy.  The beefstake type fruit get 6 to 7 inches wide, and can weigh 9 to 10 ounces.  It too is indeterminate so needs staking.

Strawberry Delizz is an F1 hybrid, so is grown from seeds unlike most strawberries you buy as plant offshoots.  This is a national winner, and the first strawberry AAS winner, coming from a gourmet strawberry breeding firm in Holland.  Being compact, these strawberry plants are good in containers and hanging baskets, as well as in ground beds.  Being a day-neutral type (length of day doesn’t affect their fruiting), they’ll fruit through the season.  In the north, start plants indoors a month or more before planting outside, as they need 120 days to harvest from sowing seeds, or about 60 days from transplanting outside.

You can find more All-America Selections winners, information on them, and sources, from their website (all-americaselections.org).  If you’re unsure what to grow in your garden this season, or want to try some new crops or varieties, these are a good place to start.  Many won’t be available as plants locally, so plan to order seeds and enjoy sowing and growing them yourself.

Using A Water Channels Are Safe For Planting Plants

Deicing walks safely for plants, searching catalogs and online for new flowers and vegetables, and growing flamingo flowers indoors are some of the gardening activities for this month.

When deicing walks, use one of the granular products with a “chloride” other than from sodium—these are safer on plants.  They may cost a bit more, but you often can use less product.  Calcium chloride works best in the coldest areas (down to about 5 degrees F).  If below this temperature, don’t use any chemical product but rather sand instead for traction.  To save on cost and dilute the salt too, mix it with a large portion of coarse kitty litter.  Liquid products don’t track into buildings as granular ones often do.  Apply any material before ice and snow, if possible, for best results.

If you are clearing your driveway with a snow blower this winter, direct the snow away from plants. Otherwise, the blowing ice crystals may damage the tender bark of young trees and shrubs. This isn’t as much of a concern for plants wrapped with burlap.

A great winter pastime for gardeners is spending hours with seed and plant catalogs, or at such firms online.  Make sure if choosing fruit plants that they are suited for your region and hardiness zone.  Make sure if choosing vegetables that the varieties fit your growing season.  Catalogs generally will list how many days from sowing, or transplanting (read the fine print to find out which applies) until harvest.  If you’re in an area with cooler summers and short growing seasons, look for varieties having the fewest days to harvest.

Look for All-America Selections winning flowers and vegetables to try.  These are the best of the new seed-grown varieties, and you’ll often need to start the newest ones from seeds yourself in order to have them.  A couple of new 2016 winning vegetables are Chef’s Choice green tomato, and Candyland red tomato.  The latter is a currant-type tomato, meaning fruit are even smaller than cherry tomatoes.  Other winning vegetables to check out are Sweet Baby radish, Super Moon (of course white) pumpkin, Japanese Red Kingdom mustard, Bunching Warrior onion, and two golden-yellow frying peppers.

New flower winners for 2016 in the All-America Selections program include Brocade Cherry Night geranium, with large cherry-pink semi-double blooms; Brocade Cherry Fire also has semi-double blooms only in orange, and with tri-colored leaves; and Summer Jewel Lavender salvia is the fourth winning color in this series of upright flowering sages.

Flamingo flower often just goes by its scientific name of anthurium (say an-THUR-ee-um).  This is an easy houseplant tolerating low light, only with fewer if any flowers there.  Ideal is bright, indirect light.  Too much direct sun and the leaves may get bleached out or “burn”.  They like a moist soil, but not wet.  If in doubt, don’t water.  Generally red and heart-shaped, the flowers are a good fit for Valentine’s Day.  Actually, these “flowers” are modified leaves called “spathes”.  The “spadix” or central column has the real, but inconspicuous, flowers.

Other gardening activities for this month include bringing any potted spring bulbs that you’re forcing from cold  into warmth, cleaning bird feeders and heated bird baths, checking seed starting supplies, sharpening pruning tools, sowing begonias and onions (and their relatives) indoors, and buying some Valentine flowers for special people in your life.

VISIT TO GREENHOUSES AND GARDENING TIPS

Visiting local greenhouses and transporting holiday plants home safely, cleaning and storing hand tools, and removing snow from shrubs are some of the garden-related activities for this month.

Try to visit a local greenhouse, as the sight of so many plants all in bloom is sure to lift the spirits on a cloudy and cold day.  If you’re buying holiday plants anywhere, make sure to protect them on the way home with a paper “sleeve” or bag, especially poinsettias which are quite sensitive to cold.  Once home, keep plants away from drafts and heat sources, and don’t overwater.  Make sure if foil is around the pot that there is a hole for water to drain, and that the pot is in a saucer if on furniture.

In addition to the popular poinsettias, other holiday plants you might look for are cyclamen, azaleas, and kalanchoe (best said as “cal-AN-cho).  None of these plants, including poinsettias, like to be too wet.  Cyclamen and azaleas last better slightly cooler, while kalanchoe and poinsettias prefer slightly warmer (65 to 70 degrees F).  Amaryllis is a bulb you can buy potted, in bloom, or just as a bulb or bulb kit to give as a gift.  They are easy to grow, and should bloom within a couple months from planting, depending on variety.

Wipe hand tools clean after use and before storing them for winter. Any moist soil left on the blades can encourage rust, and dirt can dull pruner blades.  Also wipe wooden handles with linseed oil to keep them from splitting due to dryness. Before putting tools away or forgetting them for winter, sharpen the blades.  You can find files for this online and in garden stores.

Don’t walk on frozen grass, especially if you don’t have snow cover on your lawn. Without the protection of snow, grass blades are easily broken, causing dieback in your lawn that will show up next spring.  Similarly, try not to drive or park on lawns, otherwise you’ll be looking at the tire tracks long into next season.

Snowfalls can be tough on trees and shrubs by weighing down the branches, as many in northern areas find each year with heavy snowfalls. Gently brush off most of the snow with a broom or by hand. Don’t use a shovel, which can injure the branches. If there is ice buildup, it’s best to let it melt because it’s easy to break off the brittle branches if you try to remove it.  If plants are under roof eaves, protect them from falling ice and snow with tee-pee shelters.

If you have friends or family that like to garden, think of gardening gifts for holiday presents.  Books, gloves, hand tools, weather instruments, and fancy pots are some ideas to consider.  This year, instead of giving baskets with local and homemade food items, we’ll be giving decorative colorful pots filled with these.  If you can’t decide, how about a coupon for so many hours of help in the garden, or even a gift certificate to a local garden or book store?

Other garden-related activities for this month include visiting a local farm to cut a Christmas tree or to buy greens for decorating, checking holiday indoor trees daily for water needs to keep them long-lasting and safe, mulching tender perennials (if you haven’t already) once the ground is frozen, keeping bird feeders filled and heated birdbaths cleaned regularly, and checking houseplants weekly for pests. Making holiday decorations from natural materials can be as simple as adding your favorite decorations from craft stores to undecorated wreaths, roping, kissing balls, or door swags.

10 nice and healthy plants

1. Begonia

Begonias are slow and tricky to raise from seed andBegonia tubers can be expensive if you have lots of space to fill. Begonia plug plants are an easy and economical way of growing Begonias and will quickly fill your containers and baskets with colour! Smaller plug plants are best potted up and grown on but jumbo plugs or garden-ready plug plants can be planted straight into their final containers after all risk of frost has passed. Begonia plants are a fantastic addition to beds, borders, baskets, Flower Pouches® and just about any patio container you can think of! Producing a long-lasting display of bright and showy flowers, Begonia plants keep going until the first frosts.

2. Petunia

Petunias can be fiddly to raise from seed but Petunia plug plants are easy to grow on, giving a rewarding display in beds, containers, hanging baskets and Flower Pouches®. Trailing Petunia plants such as the Surfinia varieties are our most popular, but there are plenty of other unusual and eye-catching varieties available! These half-hardy annuals look spectacular spilling from hanging baskets and containers, or massed in flower beds where they will keep going all summer long until the first frosts.

3. Fuchsia

Fuchsias are an essential addition to summer hanging baskets and containers, and some varieties are hardy so can be enjoyed year after year. Fuchsia plants can be raised from cuttings but require over-wintering, taking time and space to look after. For quick results, Fuchsia plug plants are a much easier alternative and trailing Fuchsias can be planted straight into hanging baskets and containers without the need for potting up first. With trailing, climbing and upright varieties available in a mixture of colours, Fuchsias are a fantastic and easy-to-grow addition to beds, borders, hanging baskets, containers and Flower Pouches®.

4. Dianthus

Dianthus plants, also known as carnations, pinks and sweet Williams, can take a year to flower from seed so for quick and instant results try Dianthus plug plants. Once potted up, Dianthus plugs will quickly start to flower and will come back year after year! These hardy perennials and biennials are cottage garden essentials and perfect for the front of sunny borders where they add a profusion of colour and sweet fragrance. Dianthus flowers are also superb for cutting, lasting many weeks in a vase.

5. Geranium (Pelargonium)

Geranium plants are slow to grow from seed, requiring an early start and many months of nurturing to reach flowering size. As with Fuchsias, Geranium cuttings require over-wintering which takes up lots of space and time. Geranium plug plants are a much easier alternative – their strong growth will quickly fill out beds, hanging baskets and patio containers with clear, vibrant colour. With a range to choose from, including trailing, climbing, upright and unique rosebud varieties you’re sure to find a Pelargonium plant to suit your garden!

6. Pansy

Pansy plants and violas, their smaller relatives, give months of pleasure in beds, borders and containers. Winter-flowering pansies inject a welcome splash of colour when most other plants are dormant, making an invaluable addition to autumn, winter and spring container displays. Save yourself the hassle of growing pansies from seed and try growing pansy plug plants for a quick and easy display!