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Vegetable Seed

Large Plug Plants
Why to grow them and how to handle them

Fuchsia - Carmel BlueSome plants that are grown from cuttings rather than seed are sold as large plugs and can represent excellent value, they do need to be dealt with correctly almost immediately however when you receive them.

Fuchsia BeaconYou will need:

  • 3 or 3 1/2 inch plant pots, 1 for each large plug plant
  • Multi purpose compost
  • Plant labels if required
cuttings as they arrive in the posta healthy Fuchsia cutting with roots poking through the biodegradeable pot

These are rooted Fuchsia cuttings that have arrived mail order from Thompson & Morgan in cosy little greenhouses, the same principles here apply to all large plug plants.

the cuttings need to be potted on as soon as practicableThe cuttings are placed in biodegradeable pots at the nursery that the roots can grow through as can be seen in these pictures, so don't need to be removed from them. The packing that the plants arrive in ensures they arrive intact and in good condition. If you leave them in the plastic "greenhouse" they will become crowded and leggy and there is a high risk of fungal disease.

If the rooted cuttings are removed from the packaging, these roots will shrivel and die if they are left exposed to the air for a day or two. They really need potting on on the day of receipt or the next day at the latest.

To get the best from these plants, I use 3 or 3 1/2 inch pots and multi purpose compost.

each plant will need a good amount of space to grow onBe aware that these two small packs of 6 cuttings each will take up considerably more space when grown on individual plant pots, so don't be too enthusiastic when ordering as you may end up with more than you can deal with.

Fill the pots with compost and firm down gently, use a finger to make a hole about the same size as the root ball of the cuttings.

even at this small size, the different varieties appear distinctivePlace the plant into the hole and gentle push the compost up against the root ball. The soil level should be exactly the same as it is for the cutting, not sticking out at all nor buried below the surface.

If you are bothered about remembering which plant is which variety if you have bought a selection, now is the time to label them. These are four are different varieties as can be seen to some degree by their different leaf size, shade and start of growth habit. Don't think you'll just remember - you won't!

ready for a drink and then a place in a warm semi-sunny placeWhen all of your plants are potted up, you will need to water them I prefer to do this from below rather than above at this point as it disturbs the compost the least.

This is done by placing the pots into a tray of water at least an inch deep (too deep and the pots will start to float at first and may tip up) I use my wheelbarrow for this purpose.

I recommend that you use tap water for this first watering rather than rain water from a butt. Water in butts will build up bacterial and fungal spores that are gathered in the run-off and also from organic material that gets in the butt. While larger plants prefer rain water and cope with this, it's best not to make life more difficult than needs be at this stage for these transplanted and somewhat traumatised young plans.

Grow these plugs on in a sheltered place until all risk of frost is passed before you put them outside in larger containers for the summer. They WILL need planting on again. each plant should be given the equivalent of 2-3 litres of compost in a container, so 3, 4 or 5 in a 10L basket for instance, more will fill it quicker but will become overgrown sooner.

More Fuchsias to buy

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