I've Had A Delivery This Evening Of Plants Packed In A Box.

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ladybirder | 22:07 Tue 08th Mar 2022 | Gardening
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My gardener cannot come until next week. What advice can you give me to keep them alive until then? They are outside still in the unopened box in a sheltered corner of my garden now. I was thinking I would unpack them and stand them on the patio tomorrow in the daytime. Will they be OK overnight also outside do you think?


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I'm no gardener but it does occur to me that those here who are might find it easier to answer your question if they knew:
(a) what type of plants they are, as some are far hardier than others ; and
(b) how, exactly, are they 'packed in a box'? Are they, for instance, in pots or trays within the box or are they simply loose plants inside that box?
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Thanks Chris I did think about naming the plants but thought it might make my post too long. I haven't opened the box so I can't explain how it is packed. What I will say it is from Crocus so it will be done properly.

There should be 3 small 9cm pot Lavender plants, 3 small 9cm pot Digitalis and 2 quite large (2L pots) Hydrangeas.

They came a lot earlier than I expected.
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Forgot to say it's the two big ones I'm more concerned about. The others should be OK.
I've never heard of 'Crocus' (as a brand name, rather than a type of plant) but, in seeking an answer to your question, I've just found this on their website:

"All our fully hardy plants are grown ‘hard’, so (unlike plants you may have seen in your local garden centre) they stay outside all through the year. This means they might not look their prettiest when they arrive, particularly if you have placed your order in winter - or if it’s early and they have not yet started to grow. Alternatively,
if you’ve ordered summer-flowering plants in September, they may well have been cut down to encourage fresh new growth. Basically, we will do what’s best for our plants, which means that they will do their best for you. Therefore, please remember, the roots are the most important part of the plant, not the top growth.

This ‘tough love‘ makes the plants very robust, so they can be planted straight out in the garden without any risk of a setback as soon as they arrive – with a couple of exceptions. Never plant when the ground is icy or waterlogged, or during hot dry conditions unless you can water them regularly.

[i]If they can’t be planted straight away, place them in a sheltered place away from bright midday sunshine and wind. A shed or garage may sound ideal, but it’s far too dark. Keep them well watered and get them in the ground as soon as you can.[i]"


I hope that might help a bit!
^^^ Hmmm. I don't know why my italics didn't work for the final paragraph but the key information is still there anyway!
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Thank you for your patience Chris, that all sounds good. Waitrose and Crocus are Associates.
I hope you are doing as well or better than can be expected nowadays. It's always good to see your lovely face on here;-))
I would unpack them and put them in a flower pot under cover away from any frost and water them twice a week until your gardener comes back.
We have had some overnight frosts. It's too early to put them outside. I would put the small pots in the coolest place you can on a
window sill and the hydrangeas in a sheltered place outside and bring them at night and put out again when any frosts are gone.x
And keep them watered as William says.
Question Author
Thank you William and Lottie for your advice.
The plants are outside in the bottom bit of the cardboard box they came in so that will give them protection. No frost expected here, the lowest temp tonight and the rest of the week is 9-10°. Don't think my gardener will be here until next week but they should be OK. I will take your advice and make sure I water them.
All those plants that you mention are frost hardy Lady. Foxgloves(Digitalis) and Hydrangeas survive the harshest conditions that the UK can dish up. The only danger is a heavy frost if either plant is in bud or in the early flowering styage. The Lavendar will recover from most British Winters and flower, whilst down there on the balmy South coast you should have no issues. As you have previously been advised don't let them dry out or become waterlogged, do not bring them indoors as they have been "hardened off" at the nursery. (ie. introduced to the harsh World gradually after a cosseted nursery upbringing) or you will have to repeat the process. I would find the sunniest sheltered spot that you have as a harsh wind will damage any young plant. In the past I have moved plants and pots around during the day to follow the sun or shelter from the wind, but I don't bother with that any longer. If they give up then I give up.
Just an aside. You do know that the Digitalis will self seed and come up again I take it? It may also, if it is a modified cross variant gradualy revert back to its original type over the years. We once planted a stunning Purple and White one that now comes up 8ft tall about 12 ft away from where we planted it with light pink flowers that are 4ft of bells. Plus the Hydrangea will gradually change its shade depending on your soil acidity. To keep ours a deeper pink and the other a deep blue I water them every February before they bud with an Aluminium Sulphate mixture. Sold as Colourant for Hydrangeas in most garden centres. I hope you are not putting the Lavender in your "drawers" or you will be like the film.
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Ah Bless You Togo for all your advice:-). But I do know all about them as these plants are all replacements for the same which have died or disappeared or been peed to death by different dogs I've had here. The Hydrangeas will replace one pink mop head and one blue lace cap which had been in for 10/11 years but now way past their best. My Lavenders had gone wild and straggly and my Foxgloves just disappeared about 4 years ago, probably due to the dogs. They pee on them not the year they are in bloom but the following year when they are just leaves. Odd that.
Now I know who to come to in future when I get new plants so thank you and good night.
Some of my hydrangeas live in pots outside in wind, etc. However as they are new plants I would try to make sure you put them somewhere sheltered but outside a hopefully sheltered from the worst of the wind and sun. Hope this helps. I have an azalea that was a house plant but has lived outside for some years now but it has to be protected from the worst of the salt wind and rain. Flowers profusely each year in it's pot..
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Thank you from one lady to another. Good news is my gardener has phoned this morning and said he can come this afternoon bless him so that's that sorted:-)

Cheers everyone and thank you again.
Are those plants in Lady?
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Yes Togo they are thank you. He came yesterday, from another job, and put the two biggies in for me after digging out the roots of the old ones. Also tidied up my rose arch. He'll put the small ones in later this week. Took him two hours and cleaned up after himself so very happy.
Down here in the south the geraniums I left outside due to lack of space in the greenhouse are doing fine so all the plants mentioned should be ok.

As said above water moderately and keep reasonably sheltered.
LB, what is the quality of Crocus plants like? I'm interested in houseplants which I know they do, and I'd assume the quality would be similar to garden plants.
I recently ordered from Cowells, and was very happy with what I received.
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Ooops it was Thursday he planted them and we have had gentle rain overnight for the last two nights so they look very happy ymf thanks. It's a pity my water butt is empty every time I look. I think the guttering above the top floor flats must be full of leaves. I do think plants much prefer rain water as do the birds who use my birdbath. So not happy having to use tap water.

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