Foxgloves, are these ready to put outside?

marigold.mary(6)July 28, 2014

This are my 5-week old Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea 'Alba') and it is just about August 1st. I am in zone 6b in New York, they have been growing on my windowsill. This is my first time as a 'gardener'.

Are these ready to put outside?

Thank you in advance.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in spring.. i would say pretty close ...

planting those babes outside in what is basically August.. might be very hard ...

i would pot them up.. and grow them out in full bright shade for august ...

and then plant them in the more forgiving fall ... warm days.. and cooler nights. ...

win or lose.. consider it a learning process.. whether you win or lose. ...

actually.... better idea... up pot half... plant out half.. and learn .... experiment ...

BTW... full bright shade is better than indoors ...

and dont forget to harden them off to sunlight.. before you plant them in sun ....


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:07PM
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That is the great advice I needed, ken. Thank you very much!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:35PM
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First of all - welcome to the forum!

Ken is right. July/August are not the months to plant out tender seedlings. Yours are so healthy-looking, it would be a shame to plant them out now when they'll just be stressed by extreme heat even if there's plentiful rain.

Can you wait until September to plant them out?

They need a shot at establishing their root systems prior to blooming next year. Planting out when conditions moderate in September gives the plants a better chance of surviving the extreme cold in winter.

they have been growing on my windowsill

They're currently growing indoors and will need time to acclimate to outdoor conditions. Do you have a prepared garden bed where they will be planted out? Or will they be set in containers to grow on? Generally perennials grown outdoors in containers need to be hardy to two zones colder than their zone hardiness in the ground in order to survive a Z6 winter. Plants grown indoors may suffer once they're set outdoors in a garden bed where they're exposed to predators (slugs, snails, etc.)

/mm - there are lots of experienced gardeners on this forum who'd gladly offer suggestions & advice. Most need a bit more information about your plans before offering their expert ideas/recommendations.

If it were me and those were my seedlings, I'd wait until mid- to late September before planting them out. Keep them watered and let them grow on through the hot summer indoors, develop more mature root systems and plant them out in a prepared bed when the weather cools.

I currently have Dianthus/carnation, Baptisia australis/false indigo, lupine & Polemonium/Jacob's ladder seedlings waiting to be planted out. All were grown from seeds via winter sowing. They'll be allowed to grow on in containers until the weather cools before being planted in my garden beds.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 8:29PM
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Or you could plant one and leave the rest to plant out in cooler weather. How else ya gonna "learn"? Why? Just to push the boundaries. To practice. To try it out just in case the other ones begin to decline before cooler weather. How to: after hardening it off, you can plant it late in the day, make sure it's watered really well, right before it rains, and, you'd have a fighting chance for it to survive. But only if you wanted to experiment.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:38AM
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MaeT(z5 NL, Canada)

I would pot them in individual pots so that they will have grown their own individual root system by the time you plant them outside, making it easier to transplant them later on.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Yes, 3 or 4 inch pots would be useful, particularly cheap plastic pots from plants you bought (recycling..and easy to break to get plants out intact)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:15AM
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I have some seed trays with deep insert cells arriving this week (2" x 2.25" x 3.25").

I also will build a simple cold frame in August.

Is it better to put one or two seedlings into one of these cells each then into the cold frame for the winter?

Or the previous advice to take outside in bright shade for August, then into the ground in September?

You've all been so generous, thanks, I'm almost there.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:23PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

1 per cell.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:57PM
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I start most of my perennial seeds via wintersowing. Here in zone 5, that means they are still very tiny by the time the hot summer weather arrives. I pot them up and wait until Sept to plant them in their permanent location. This has always worked out well for me.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 5:57PM
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