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Hi,I have recently retired

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I have recently retired. For a number of years I have been planting 10 x 14” hanging baskets and 16 plastic pouches for the summer. I have been using up to 30 plants in each basket and 10 in each pouch, usually a combination of Petunias, Impatiens, Geraniums, Begonias, Lobelias and Fuchsias’. All plants are either normal or trailing types. The cost of these plants has been increasing over the past few years and I am considering growing my own from seed. I have an unheated 8’ x 10’ greenhouse with two tiered benches on 3 sides.
To help me decide whether or not to grow from seeds could you please help me in answering my following questions?
1) Should I buy a heater for my greenhouse?
2) What type would be best?
3) What seeds would you recommend for a beginner?
4) Can you suggest more plants to enhance my display?
5) How many of each seed type should I buy to guarantee the number of plants necessary for planting on?
6) Do I need to buy any special equipment/material?
7) What compost is best for the seeds and seedlings?
8) Can I buy the seeds this year ready for using next year?
Kind regards,
John Phelps.



Hi John, I think you have to weigh up the cost of buying compost, pots for planting on and the heating cost.

I don't have a greenhouse, this year I bought my Petunias from a magazine special offer. Postage only of £4.40 and I rec'd 40 plants. they have been excellent value for money.

Perhaps, if you decided to grow from seed you may find someone to swap the extras with for something you haven't grown. Or find a seed swap scheme.

From these I produced 4 large baskets mixed with Lobila etc and 6 large pots and several long planters. They were mixed plants with some lovely colours.

I would certainly recommend them and will purchase again if the offer is repeated.

Also many of the gardening mags have free seeds on cover. I have already a number of pkts for next year.

Recently there have been offers for "Winter Pansies"Dcr726 flagged them on a blog last week I think.

Hope this is a little useful, I'm only a novice gardener and have to keep my costs down.

4 Aug, 2011


You might try a fan heater with a frost setting just to keep it frost free. Perhaps you could take some fuchsia cuttings now - it isn't too late,I rooted one a couple of weeks ago. Take a shoot about four inches long and remove all but the top pair of mature leaves and the growing point. If you can't find shoots without flower buds remove all you can see. They should root quite readily in a couple of weeks in water, or you can put them round the edge of a pot of moist compost and cover it with a plastic bag to keep the air humid. Keep in warm semi shade (kitchen windowsill?) When they root you can pot them up and overwinter them. As they will be very small you can perhaps keep them ticking over so they don't lose their leaves, and start them into growth again in early Spring. The fuchsias in the baskets might well survive if you plant them up and let them dry off in autumn. They will lose all their leaves. Put them somewhere cool - spare bedroom, loft, garage etc, or frost free greenhouse.In Spring cut back the dead looking stems and spray the parts left with water, water the compost and bring them into the warm, if you are allowed to have them in the house so much the better, but if not do it a bit later when the greenhouse
temperatures have risen a bit. Those dead looking twigs should put out nice green shoots and away you go.

4 Aug, 2011


I agree about the fuchsia cuttings. Don't give up on them too soon. They take some time to sprout new growth from those dead-looking twigs. I was planning to pull mine up thinking they had died when they suddenly sprouted a couple of days later!

4 Aug, 2011

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