By Martina Mercer

After chatting about the benefits of perennial plug plants, hopefully you’re armed with little boxes of plugs that don’t look like something you’d buy in an electrical shop and eager to create your instant landscape you want to plonk them in the ground as soon as possible, however, there are some general tips you should follow, as although the benefits include efficiency, time saving, and an immediate landscape, they need to be treated with respect in order for them to flourish.

So small and delicate – I’m scared of handling them!

Plug plants are initially quite fragile, and like a new-born baby you must be careful when handling them, as a wrong move can damage the roots and leave you with a patch of flaccid flowers. Remember, someone else has done the hard work so you don’t have to, and this little excursion is probably the first time they’ve seen real sunlight and touched real soil. To remove from the cute little holders, water first for lubrication then pinch the bottom and work the plug up the case until it pops out.

Then can I plant them?

Whoa, spending a few extra minutes will ensure you receive the benefits you’ve fantasised about from your purchase, so take it steady, the plants will have been grown in a peat mixture, and forced to flower before it’s outdoor peers, so

prepare the setting, you may like to add a little compost or peat to its final resting place, then make sure the plugs aren’t too dry or too wet before placing them in the desired spot ensuring all leaves are above ground for optimum sunlight exposure.

Do I now just leave them to grow?

As with any plant they need a little looking after in the first few weeks, make sure they are kept moist without giving into the temptation to overwater them. As soon as the roots break free of their original mould, they will flourish and you’ll reap the rewards of flowers, fruit and vegetables in no time!

Should I replace them every year?

Most plug plants are annuals; however there are perennials out there. Once converted to the benefits of plugs, you won’t mind replacing the annuals annually, and will thoroughly look forward to your premature shopping trip knowing you’ll be experiencing the joys of the changing seasons weeks ahead of everyone else!