Plug plants have revolutionised the growing of bedding plants for both commercial and amateur gardeners. Germinating seeds of some of our favourite bedding plants can be slow, expensive and require a propagator.
At this time of year there should be plenty of baby plants in plugs at your local garden centre but I know that many also source these little plants online or mail order.
Plug plants can be split into two distinct categories with the obvious one being the seed raised bedding plants such as Antirrhinum, fibrous rooted Begonia, Busy Lizzies, Petunia, Pelargonium and even Lobelia. These tend to come as tiny plugs with each plant growing in a tiny cell. These need to be potted on into something bigger as soon as you buy them or as soon as they arrive on your doorstep. They also dry out very rapidly in the plug trays so you need to prepare a warm place to grow them on. This could be a greenhouse or polytunnel with a little heat, a conservatory or even a warm sunny windowsill. Simply transplant each plug plant into a larger cell or module tray filled with good quality potting compost and water them well.
Bigger Plug Plants
The second category and one that has far more variety options are those plants that come in larger individual plugs. These are about half the size of an egg cup. Sometimes these are grown in containers that degrade when wet and allow roots to grow through. This minimises root disturbance. Pot these larger plug plants into 9cm pots filled with the best potting compost that you can get. Water them well and these will need the same growing conditions as the seedling plugs.
After five to six weeks, the fertiliser in the potting compost will be used up and so you should begin to add liquid feed to the water. Use Miracle Gro, Phostrogen or tomato feed.
Don’t be afraid to pinch out growing shoot tips to encourage your plants to produce lots of side shoots! This is especially so with plants propagated from cuttings. Fuchsia, Surfinia Petunia, ivy leaf Geranium, Nemesia, Calibrachoa, Bacopa and trailing foliage plants such as Helichrysum will all make better plants if you do this!
More Reading about Plug Plants and Baby Plants
Our main page on these plug plants, baby plants and starter plants is here.