A Seed Pantry Guide to Growing Flower Bulbs Indoors

Grow your Seed Pantry bulbs indoors to enjoy those spring-time blooms inside at Christmas and over the winter period.

Autumn is the time for planting bulbs in the garden, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, iris and crocus are all popular in Grow Club boxes now. Whilst you’ve been busy planting bulbs outdoors in the garden, it’s a great idea to pot up and ‘force’ some indoor bulbs too!

So what is ‘forcing’ and what are ‘prepared’ bulbs?

A ‘prepared’ bulb is one that has already been pre-chilled so that it will flower indoors out of season, only 8-10 weeks after being planted. The cold period mimics winter time and the chilling that they need to grow, so that they are triggered into thinking it’s Spring time out of season! Time the planting right, and you can use your flowers as a stunning, fragrant home-grown Christmas centrepiece!

‘Forcing’ a bulb into flower sounds rather mean, but when you think about it you’re actually putting your bulbs up in a 5 star hotel complete with central heating and a watering-on-demand sort of room-service. Asking for a bloom out of season in return seems rather reasonable, don’t you agree?

Narcissus papraceus

Grow Narcissus papyraceus – ‘Paperwhite’

Perfect for newbie gardeners Narcissus papyraceus (a.k.a. the ‘Paperwhite’ daffodil) is a fast and easy, fragrant indoor pot plant with delicate white flowers. They’ll make a beautiful centrepiece for Christmas, or cheer up any windowsill on a dark winters day.

How to do it

  1. Plant several bulbs in each pot, pointy end up, with the tip of the bulb just below the surface. Any multi-purpose compose will do.
  2. Water well and leave in a cool, shady room for 3-4 weeks. There’s no need to cover these.
  3. After 3-4 weeks place on a warm, sunny windowsill and wait. They should bloom 8 weeks after first planting.
  4. If the plants get a bit lanky, lend them a hand (or stick) to keep them upright.

Once your ‘Paperwhites’ have flowered, allow them to die down in a frost-free place and then plant them in the garden in a sheltered, sunny spot. Narcissus ‘Paperwhite’ aren’t hardy in some parts of the UK, so if you’re a Northerner you may want to allow them to dry off and store them to be replanted in containers later in the year.

Hyacinthus orientalis ‘China Pink’

Grow prepared Hyacinthus orientalis

Otherwise known as ‘Grape hyacinths’, orientalis will also only take a short while to bloom. Planting these beautifully fragrant flowering bulbs during October or early November will see you with flowers for Christmas and New Year!

How to do it

  1. Select a container deep enough to hold single or multiple bulbs and add a 3/4cm layer of well-watered bulb fibre or Seed Pantry grow medium to the pot. 
  2. Then plant and gently firm down the bulb/s and fill around them with growing medium, leaving the tip of the bulb showing by 1cm. 
  3. Place pots somewhere cool and exclude any light: a garage, shed, dark cool cellar, cupboard, or a place on cool floor inside in a box. 
  4. Inspect the bulbs each week to ensure the grow medium isn’t drying out or the bulbs haven’t pushed themselves out – firm back in if so.
  5. Your first leaves should be visible early December. Then place pots in a cool shady room. Leaves will green up and start to reveal the flower bud too!
  6. Wait until the flower bud is clear of the leaf tips and place wherever you want to display them! 

You can also grow hyacinths using a glass vase, known as a bulb vase. The bulb should be slightly smaller in diameter than the vase so that it sits snugly in the vase, and the steps are just as easy this way too!

  1. Fill your hyacinth glass with water to the neck, just below where the bottom of the bulb’s base will sit. Place the bulb tip side up in the top, being careful that it’s base doesn’t quite touch the water.
  2. Leave your vase in a cool, shady place for 6 weeks until the roots start to form.
  3. When the main shoot is around 7-10cm tall, move the glass into a sunny position.
  4. Turn the glass a little every few days to prevent the plant growing lopsided as it grows towards the light, topping up the water every now and again to keep the water level stable.

After flowering

Once your hyacinths have flowered, allow them to die down and then plant them in the garden at a depth of twice their own height.

Here at Seed Pantry we’ve made life easy and sourced only the best prepared indoor bulbs for you… available in the Grow Club now!

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

Subscribe to the Grow Club box for flowers, food and herb seeds ready to sow each month… Curious? Come check out all of this month’s options!

How To Store Your Excess Harvest

Stock Up The Pantry With Your Seed Pantry Crops!

It’s easy to get a little carried away when sowing your veg seeds and now you’ve got a wonderful bumper crop to deal with! If, like us, you’ve ended up with so much Courgette that the thought of another Ratatouille doesn’t tickle your taste buds, it might be time to turn them into something different!

There’s plenty of ways to preserve your produce if you can’t use them right away, and it’s really satisfying to see your belly, cupboards and freezer stocked up with home-grown produce for the winter months. Here’s a round up of the ways to store your excess bounty.

Freezing

Quick and easy, freezing your produce in Tupperware or bags is great way to store even small quantities. Simply blanch or steam your crop, which helps to kill bacteria and maintain the vitamin content, allow to cool and bag up. Label your freezer-bags with the date and you’re ready to freeze! Some vegetables, like tomatoes and french beans can even be frozen after picking after just a good rinse.

Suitable crops: Root veg, onions, sweetcorn, tomatoes, courgette, all types of beans, brassicas, soft fruits and tree fruits (on their own or in sugar or syrup) and herbs too!

Dehydrating

Britain isn’t exactly known for it’s tropical climate, but whilst drying in the sun might not be feasible, the drying process is still easy to do indoors. If you’re a seasoned Grow Your Own-er then you might even consider buying a dehydrator!

How to do it

Apples: Core and slice into rings and soak in slightly salted water (1tsp of salt to 1litre of water) to prevent them from browning. Dry the rings and thread them on a string, hang them indoors, well spaced, for 3-5 days. You can also dry Chillies or Mushrooms this way, although it may take a little longer.

Tomatoes: Cut in half, cover with a little salt and dry in a cool oven. Store in air-tight containers or olive oil (you can add a little dried Basil or Oregano).

Peas and beans: Blanch or steam before rinsing in cold water. Lay on a clean tea towel and dab off any excess moisture, dry on trays in a cool oven or airing cupboard until hard. Allow to cool before packing into air-tight containers and store in a cool, dry place.

Suitable crops: Onions, tomatoes, chillies, mushrooms, apples, pears, plums, raspberries, strawberries … the list goes on, I’ve even been known to make cucumber crisps this way.

Chutneys and Pickles

Sugar and spice and all things nice, who doesn’t relish a little chutney with cheese and crackers? This classic preserving method is a great way to store onion, cabbage, beetroot, cucumber or any other random assortment of surplus you might have – even plums and pears make a great addition!

How to do it – Any-Veg Chutney

1kg seasonal fruit or vegetables, diced into 1cm cubes
500g cooking or eating apples, peeled and diced
250g onions, peeled and diced
375ml white wine (or cider) vinegar
250g light soft brown sugar
250g dried fruit, chopped
1-3 tsp dried chilli flakes (or ginger)
1/2 tsp salt

Place the vegetables and fresh fruit into a large pan, with the dried fruit and sugar. Add the vinegar and 250ml water to the pan with the chilli/ginger and salt.

Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally until all of the sugar has dissolved before slowly bringing to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 1-2 hours, stirring regularly so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. When the chutney is rich, thick and reduced it is ready (you can test this by dragging a wooden spoon through the mixture: it should part enough to reveal the base of the pan). If it seems a little dry before this stage, add a little boiling water. Allow to cool a little.

Pot the chutney while warm into sterilised jars. Seal with plastic-coated screw-top lids and leave to mature for at least 2 weeks before using.

Flavoured Oils and Vinegars

Chilli vinegar makes a great fiery accompaniment to any BBQ

Used as salad dressings or flavourings for steamed puddings, flavouring vinegar with fruit, vegetables or herbs is a delightful and simple way of using up small quantities of surplus garden produce. Fruit, vegetables or herbs are steeped in vinegar over a period before straining the liquid and heating with sugar. Even Violas, Lavender and Rose petals can be used to add a delicate flavour.

Suitable Crops: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, apples or vegetables such as cucumber, celery, horseradish, peppers, Chillies, garlic, mint, thyme, tarragon, basil, marjoram (singly or in combination).

How to do it

For Herbs, half fill a 1L jar with fresh herb leaves, or clean petals (for Violas, Lavender or Rose flavours) and top up your jar with white wine vinegar. For Fruits and vegetables, use roughly 500g to every 600ml of vinegar with the exception of Garlic or Chilli where you should use around 50g.

Cover and allow the mixture to steep for 7-10 days in the fridge. Stir or shake each day. Herb and Vegetable vinegar can then be strained into a bottle and sealed, ready to use. You can even mix the vinegar with a little oil for a richer dressing. For Fruit vinegar, after steeping, strain the mixture and place the liquid into a pan with 350g of sugar.

Bring to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool a little, then bottle and seal into sterilised jars.

So there you have it – a rough and ready guide to reap the rewards of your Grow Club success! We’d love to hear about your GYO journey – please tag us in your success stories (and heroic failures too!) on Instagram and Facebook.

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

Subscribe to the Grow Club box for flowers, food and herb seeds ready to sow each month… Curious? Come check out all of this month’s options!

How To Plant And Grow Tulips

Summers out, bulbs are in, here comes Tulip mania 2021!

Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’

It is never too early to start garden planning for next year! Here at Seed Pantry, we are always planning ahead to make sure Grow Club boxes are filled with the most amazing goodies. One thing we are so excited for are Tulip bulbs, ready to plant in Autumn! Each year we carefully curate an amazing range of gorgeous tulips for you to choose from for your own incredible displays!

Here’s a few tips to help you make the make the most of your planting for stunning Spring displays! 💐

1. Before planting, make sure to choose a well-lit area of the garden where the flowers are likely to get plenty of sunlight. If you are planting in containers or pots, Tulips favour well-drained, semi-fertile soil. This will help aid in their growth.

2. When planting tulips it’s important you plant them at the right depth. Place them pointy end up into a hole in the ground roughly around 3 times the depth of each bulb, or generally around 10cm deep. This will give the bulbs enough cover to protect them from frosts in the winter but also enough depth for roots to establish and form a strong base so they do not topple over as they grow.

3. Space each bulb around 10cm apart from each other to give them each enough space to develop. If you are planting in containers, you can plant them slightly closer together, just make sure not to overfill it with bulbs or none of them will have the resources they need to grow.

4. Simply cover the bulbs over with soil, give them a good drink of water and wait for the magic to happen! Tulips need very little care or maintenance but if you want to help them along when they start form flowers, add a weekly feed of balanced liquid fertiliser to the pot.

Tulip Garden Design 🌷

Tulipa ‘Rem’s Favourite’ and ‘White Elegance’

Tulips are so special that the varieties are separated in to 15 groups, dependent on their characteristics; flowering times, shapes, sizes and colours. Shop our ready-to-plant Tulip collections at the Seed Pantry Tulip shop, or use our quick Tulip groupings guide to help you understand the different Tulip groups, so that you can get creative with your own garden design plans!

Single-coloured tulips can be striking with individual splashes amongst green foliage, you could match light pastels or hot colours. Contrasting colours can work beautifully too e.g. purple and yellows. Multiple mixed colours can be added together if you wanted to create a homely cottage garden theme too.

Sometimes though it can be hard planting and designing spring flower bulb displays in the garden. Where do you plant this and when!? Well, a bulb lasagne is a sure-fire way to create a stunning spring flower display in your own garden spaces, big or small. Check out our video below to create your own! You can read all about them here too!

Neil’s How to make a Bulb Lasagne video

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

Tulip Groups Explained

Botanical terms boggle your mind? Here’s an easy guide to help you understand Tulip groupings…

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Tulip season is fleeting! There are actually fifteen different groups of Tulips with different flowering times and shapes. By bringing together early, mid-season and late-flowering Tulips, mixing flower forms and colours you can enjoy the burst of colour for twice as long… and we’ve made it a little easier with a Seed Pantry bite-size guide.

GroupFlowering PeriodHeightFeatures Seed Pantry loves…
GreigiiEarly March-April20-30cm/8-12inDistinctive marbled or striped leaves, which spread along the ground.
FosterianaMarch-April25-40cm/10-16inBroad green/grey leaves, sometimes mottled or striped. Large, slender flowers.
Kaufmanniana March-April10-25cm/4-10inAlso known as ‘waterlily Tulips’ as their flowers open flat. Flowers can be bi-coloured with mottled or striped foliage.
SpeciesVaried20-35cm/8-14inPlants tend to be low-growing and small-flowered. Don’t be fooled by their delicate appearance, they are normally much hardier, very beautiful and long-lived than modern hybrids!
RembrandtMarch-MayUp to 40cm/16inA strange example of beauty, renowned for their ‘broken’ flower colours, the striped markings and intricate patterns are actually caused by being infected with the non-spreading ‘Tulip breaking virus’.
Single EarlyLate March-Early AprilUp to 40cm/16inLarge, cup-shaped singular flowers. Their short stems make them ideal for pots.
Double EarlyEarly-Mid AprilUp to 30cm/12inDouble-flowered with peony-like blooms. Brilliant as cut flowers due to their long-lasting properties.
TriumphLate April-Early May40-50cm/16-20inOriginating from hybrids of the Single Early and Single Late cultivars, plants vary from having compact, rounded flowers to having a more conical shape.
DarwinLate April-May45-60cm/18-24inVery large, goblet-like flowers on tall stems, which makes them better suited to borders than pots.
Single LateLate April-May45-75cm/18-30inSingle-flowered with relatively small, oval blooms on long, stiff stems.
ParrotMay40-60cm/16-24inSingle-flowered with unusual curled, twisted and otherwise distorted petals that create amazing shapes. Often bi-coloured.
Lily-floweredMay45-75cm/18-30inSingle-flowers with pointed tips to the petals that flare outwards, not surprisingly… like a Lily!
Double LateLate May45-60cm/18-30inShowy large double flowers that are more rounded than the early double group.
ViridifloraMay30-50cm/12-20inDistinguishable by their colour, the flowers in this group are almost entirely green when they first open, later changing to a second base colour.
FringedVariable40-60cm/16-24inOne of the newer cultivated Tulip types. Petals are edged with delicate ruffles – a very popular group!
Tulip Groupings by Seed Pantry

Whether you plant them in pots or in the ground, Tulips are a spring garden’s perfect companion! We love the striking contrast of orange and purple with Tulipa ‘Apricot Beauty’ Tulipa ‘Queen Of Night‘ and Tulipa ‘Rem’s Favourite’. Choose your own Spring border combinations from the Grow Club Tulip selection, get those green fingers at the ready and check out our handy Tulip planting guide for Autumn planting season!

Click here to see our stunning range of Tulips in the Seed Pantry Grow Club during October and November!

If you’re already a seasoned Grow Clubber, we’d love to see your planting combinations! – please share your pictures with us on Instagram and Facebook, or pop us an email at support@seedpantry.co.uk!

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

How To Plant And Grow Alliums

This Autumn in the Grow Club, we have gone all-in on fabulous ornamental onions, and have an amazing range of new and classic bulbs to choose from!

Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ and ‘Ambassador’

Alliums are stunning unique flowers that no other quite compares too. Their large pompoms make them sensational additions to any garden adding structure and form. Pair that with the fact they come in gorgeous decadent blues, purples and stylish whites with star shaped flowers, they are a favourite of choice for all our Grow Club members. Not to mention they’re a favourite with our lovely honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies too!

Here’s a quick planting and care guide for your Alliums! 💐

1. Before planting, make sure to choose a well-lit area of the garden where the plants are likely to get plenty of sunlight. Also make sure you know how tall the alliums will grow, as the difference in size between one variety to another can be drastic. Best planted in well-drained soil, as they do not like heavy, clay or damp soil.

2. Planting depth is important for alliums as their tall stems need support to stand upright when fully grown. Check the required depth of your bulbs with the Seed Pantry guides, before planting, but in general, they need to be planted around 3 times the height of the bulb.

3. Spacing alliums correctly is equally important as the larger types require far more space in order to grow well. Plant smaller growing alliums 7-10cm apart, while the taller ones need at least 20cm between each bulb. If you are growing in pots make sure that they are deep enough to give plants the space needed so that they get enough water – often 40cm deep or more is great for containers.

4. Place your bulbs in the space pointy end up and simply cover the bulb with soil, give them a good drink of water and wait for the magic to happen! Alliums are so easy to grow, they make a very stylish display and the bees love them too!

Alliums in Garden Design

White Alliums used as a single colour pallet look beautiful.

There aren’t many plants that can be considered dainty AND bold, however smaller Allium flowers certainly fit the bill. These flowers will stand out wherever you plant them, their tall pompom like heads makes them immediately eye-catching in any garden display and are perfect for planting amongst flowers and green perennial foliage. They come in such a variety of colours, heights and sizes and once those summer blooms have faded their impressive structural seed heads will continue to spark interest!

Join the Grow Club, add some Alliums to your Grow Club box this month or treat your garden to a few ornamental Onions at the Seed Pantry Allium shop!

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

Home Gardening Tasks and Tips For Summer

A round up of what to do in your Food and Flowers Gardens

It is official, we are now into Summer! The time of t-shirts, shorts and sunglasses is upon us! By now Summer gardens should be well underway and food and flowers should be growing everywhere. There has been a perfect blend of sun and rain to keep everything happy too.

With that though, there are plenty of jobs that still need doing around growing spaces everywhere. So we have been doing all we can to help in your gardens by bringing you weekly and monthly tips on what to do in your spaces.

Let’s get those green fingers going then! Here’s what you can do this month in your food and flower gardens 🏡

Tips for you Summer Garden ☀️

🌊 As it becomes hotter, watering your plants properly becomes critical to their growth. The best time to water plants is in the morning between 6-10 a.m. This is when the temperature is at its coolest which will reduce evaporation and help the water stay in the soil so the plants can absorb it. Remember to give a good drink so the water penetrates the well below the surface to reach the root system.

🌅 As we know, plants love the sun and need it to grow but sometimes they can have too much of it. Too much exposure can cause plants to dry out and get scorched. If too much sun exposure is damaging your plants, make sure to provide them with some extra shade and ensure adequate watering. Move pots out the sun or even cover with a cloth for part of the day.

🌻 Make sure to remove as many weeds as possible. Weeds will steal precious nutrients and moisture from your food and flower plants. They also attract insects and other pests so make sure to remove them to keep all your plants happy.

Flowers 🌼

🚁 As your Summer flowers grow, some of them may need some support so they don’t topple over. For flowers such as Gladioli and Dahlias, you can use plant support stakes to help them grow upright.

🌼 There is still time to plant flowers for some late season colour! Flowers such as Gladioli, Viola and more can be planted now to add to your flower displays this Summer. Check out July’s Grow Club Boxes to see all the flowers you can still plant and grow!

🍃 It is never to early to start planning and planting for next Spring! July is the last month for sowing biennials and hardy perennials. Start sowing Lupins, Foxgloves and more to get ahead of the game for flower displays next year!

💐 Remember to keep picking your sweet pea flowers as they grow and Dahlias. This will help them to keep producing as they channel their energy in creating new flowers.

Food 🥗

🌶️ If you like your chillies hot you can make them spicier by stressing the plant. Once the plant has flowered and started producing peppers, allow the soil to dry out until the plant’s leaves start to wilt and shrivel, then water thoroughly. The stress will help the plant develop more capsaicin inside the peppers which is the chemical that gives chillies heat.

🍵 Harvest your peas to keep them producing! The more your harvest, the more they will produce! Harvesting peas will lead the plant to channel more of its energy into making new peas and thus giving you a better yield from the plant.

🥔 Many potatoes will be ready to harvest now however some may still need a little more time. It is very important with the additional sunlight to mulch and cover the potatoes as they grow. Mound up the soil around your potato plants so no tubers are exposed to the sun which can cause them to turn green and even become poisonous!

🥬 We may now be in summer but you can still continue to successionally sow salad seeds. Carry on sowing seeds little and often in batches so that it is possible to ensure plants are ready to harvest in succession throughout the growing season. This can be done for carrots, salads, beans and more too!

Here are other vegetables from the Seed Pantry Grow Club that can be harvested in July!

  • Chicory ‘Palla Rossa’
  • Onion ‘Long Red Florence’ and ‘Tosca’
  • Pea ‘Delikett’ and ‘Meteor’
  • Beetroot ‘Pablo’
  • Courgette ‘Clarion’ and ‘Orelia’
  • Tomato ‘Big Daddy’ and ‘Outdoor Girl’
  • Raddish ‘Black Spanish Round’
  • Aubergine ‘Clara’ and ‘Jackpot’
  • Potato ‘Maris Piper’, ‘Arran Pilot’ and ‘Pink Fir Apple’
  • Chilli Pepper ‘Apache’, ‘Orange Tyger’ and ‘Spangles’
  • Leafy green salads
  • Shallots

And many more!

That is all for now, folks – stay tuned to our Instagram account and we will have more tips and reminders next week! 😁

Seed Pantry

Home Gardening Tips for May and June

A round up of what to do in your Food and Flowers Gardens

May has seen some beautiful weather, the Seed Pantry garden has been bathed in sunshine. However, we are now hoping for rain, a good soaking is just what the plants need! In the meantime we hope your plants have being sufficiently watered and fed too.

Over the last few weeks, we have been doing all we can to help in your gardens by bringing you weekly and monthly tips on what to do in your spaces.

Let’s continue! Here’s what you can do this month in your food and flower gardens 🏡

Flowers 🌼

🌅 As we move further into Spring and Summer is right around the corner, we can start planting Tender Summer Bulbs. As the frosts are most likely behind us, it is safe to start planting bulbs that are frost sensitive such as Gladioli, Dahlias and Bessera elegans. These can now be planted straight outdoors into pots, containers or borders.

🌷 Early Spring flowers will now be wilting and you can start deadheading by pruning spent flowers. Take garden shears and cut off the flower head from the lower stem once it’s finished flowering. Regularly deadheading your flowers will help channel the plant’s energy into creating new flowers rather than creating seeds, resulting in healthy plants and continual blooms.

🌺 Now that the sun is shining more, most of the garden is happily soaking up the rays. However, we imagine most people have areas of their growing space that are shadier and thus under used. These spaces can be enhanced by planting shade-loving plants such as Hostas, Astilbe and Digitalis.

🌻 From June we will be sowing seeds for biennials, and perennial plants that will flower next spring like Primula, Lupins and Foxgloves.

Now is also the time you can buy many other summer bulbs for planting, including Dahlia, Gladioli, Gloriosa, Tigridia, Anenome, Ranunculus and more…sign up to the Seed Pantry Grow Club for monthly boxes to choose.

Food 🥗

🍅Your Chillies, Tomatoes, and Sweet Peppers sown earlier in Spring can be potted on now, either into larger pots in greenhouses, indoors or outdoors in sheltered warm south facing positions.

Make sure to check the variety requirements of your plants though as the very hottest Chillies require warm temperatures of 25°plus to successfully grow, so these should be kept indoors or in a greenhouse.

🌽 There is still time to sow in small pots of courgettes, butternut, pumpkins, sweetcorn, french and runner beans and second sowings of peas and beans to give you a continual supply well into Autumn. Sowing direct in final growing positions is possible or start these in 9cm pots to grow seedlings for planting out later.

🥕 With the warm weather, vegetables are ready to grow outdoors. Beets, carrots and peas can now all be sown directly outside in veg patches.

🥔 Potatoes should be developing well and in May it is important to earth up/mulch potatoes in their patches and pots. Earthing up potatoes will help reduce late frost damage, encourage larger crops and also help prevent tubers from turning green. To do this mound up soil around your potato plants so no tubers are exposed.

🌱 Remember to keep up with Successional sowing of salads. If you sow seeds little and often in batches, it is possible to ensure plants are ready to harvest in succession throughout the growing season and most of the year. This can be done for carrots, salads, beans and more.

That is all, for now, folks – stay tuned to our Instagram account and we will have more tips and reminders next week! 😁

Seed Pantry

A Seed Pantry Guide To Growing Hosta Plants

Hosta Plants are in the Grow Club this month. They are one of our most favourite plants to grow and for good reason. Hostas have stunning foliage, great leaf textures, colours and shapes to add interest to any garden spaces in shady areas. Not to mention they are really easy to grow!

Let’s run through what hosta plants are, how you can start growing and caring for them, plus details of the varieties we have this month!

What are Hosta Plants?

Hostas, also called plantain lilies, are shade-tolerant perennials that are extremely hardy and require little maintenance. They originate from East Asia with over 2,500 cultivars produced. These cultivars vary in size, colour and textures making each one a unique growing experience.

Brought to Europe in the 1700s, Hostas are one of the most popular and best-selling perennials in the world today.  Although they are best known for their amazing foliage, they also bloom in the summer with tall spikes and, most often, purple flowers.

How to grow and care for your Seed Pantry Hosta Plants?

Here is our quick guide on how to plant and care for your own Hosta plants!

1. Our Hostas come as bare-root plants, so you can start planting them straight away, directly in borders or containers.  As they do not need as much sunlight as most plants, you can position them in shadier parts of your growing space such as under trees or by fences. This gives you the opportunity to fill darker areas of the garden that may have been left a little bare until now!

2. Plant the roots 5-10cm deep and 50cm apart for the bigger varieties like ‘El Nino’ and to 1.5m apart for giants like ‘Sum and Substance’, and plant with 30cm of spacing for the smaller types like ‘Blue Mouse Ears’. Place the roots downwards with the growing points, or eyes facing up.

3. Cover the plants with compost, add a splash of water and wait for the magic to happen! Hostas like fertile, moisture-retentive soil for the best growing conditions.

4. As the plant grows, keep the soil moist and when we move into the Summer and hot weather, make sure to water daily while they are establishing. Slugs and snails may try to eat your hosta plants. One way you can help with this would be to add a companion plant like Astilbe or plants slugs don’t go for. Astilbe is also in the Grow Club this month! Container growing can help fend off slugs too.

Feeding your plants: Mulch borders annually on fertile soil, for poor soil add general fertiliser and mulch in spring,. For containers add weekly balanced liquid feed while growing/establishing for great foliage.

Hostas are hardy perennial plants that die back in winter and will come back each year in spring, so simply leave them to do their thing!

What Hosta Plants do we have in this month’s Grow Club?

Each plant below has been given the RHS’s – Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Hosta ‘El Nino’ (PBR) (AGM)

These hostas have large variegated leaves that grow to 17cm long. The leaves have clump-forming, blue-green centres with pure white to grey-green-streaked margins! Their flowers are spikes of pale purple bell-shaped, darker striped flowers which are stunning! H. 50cm/80cm wide.

Hosta ‘Fire and Ice’ (AGM)

A favourite from last year, these have striking, variegated, wavy edge foliage with light green with creamy white centres. These grow to be compact and mound-forming with elegant pale lavender flowers. H. 60cm/60cm wide.

Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ (AGM)

Here are the biggies! Big heart-shaped leaves that grow to 50cm long! These are large mound-forming plants with beautiful light green on nicely veined leaves. Sweet dense pale lilac, bell-shaped flowers on stems grow on these too. H. 90cm/1.5m wide.

Hosta ‘Earth Angel’ (PBR) (AGM)

Another big one! These have outstanding blue-green foliage with creamy white margins. From here they form a thick mound of large heart-shaped leaves. They also grow dense racemes of pale lilac, bell-shaped flowers. H. 75cm/1m wide.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ (AGM)

Another stunning hosta plant with ovate, grey-blue to green leaves that grow to 20cm long. It has superb veining, forming a large upright clump. Once again these have bell-shaped pale purple flowers on stems to 1.5m. H. 90cm/150cm wide.

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ (AGM)

These are just the cutest mini Hosta, can be easily grown in pots and border edges. Smooth blue-green leaves, with adorable mouse ear-shaped! They grow beautiful pale purple bell-shaped flowers on spikes too! H. 30cm/30cm wide.

We have all of these and other amazing plants in the Seed Pantry Grow Club this month, so come and check them out to pick your favourites! 😁

Seed Pantry Team

Home Gardening Tips for March and April

Planting For Food and Flower Gardens This Summer

It is a perfect time to grow food and flowers at home to enjoy your own glorious summer garden, so get out your Seed Pantry seeds and bulbs and start planting!

We want to do everything we can to help, so we’ll be bringing you weekly/monthly tips on what to do, just stay tuned to our Instagram account and this blog!

Here’s what you can do this month in your food and flower gardens 🏡

Flowers 🌼

💐 Now is a great time to start potting up Dahlia tubers. Doing this will help them get a head start and flower sooner for you. Keep frost-free in pots and  plant them out in May where you want them to flower. We have a whole range of dahlias available right now in the Grow Club so come and have a look!

Check out our ‘How to plant and grow Dahlias‘ blog to find out more!

💐 There is still time to sow sweet pea seeds too! Start them in 9cm pots with up to 3 seeds per pot and they will germinate in a few weeks! To help growth, it can be beneficial to pinch out sweet pea grow tips at about 15cm tall. This encourages strong side-branching for flowering.

Now is also the time to buy many other summer bulbs for planting, including Begonias, Nerines, Gladioli, Crocosmia, Tigridia, Anenome, Ranunculus and more…sign up to the Seed Pantry Grow Club for monthly boxes to choose.

Food 🥗

The time is now to start your veg patch and sowing food seeds indoors. You can sow these seeds now on your windowsills to get them started!

🥗 Fruiting vegetables can be started in mini propagators such as tomatoes, peppers, chillies, aubergines. Once these geminate and are around 4 weeks old, they can be potted on into 9cm pots, and then at 15cm tall plant into final positions.

For beetroot, chard, broad beans, peas, leeks, kale and sprouting broccoli, these should be started in trays for planting outside in May.

Need some more help getting started!? Check out our blog ‘How to start growing your own vegetables’ for more!

🥗 For leafy greens, spring onions, pak choi, mustards and mizuna,  you can start sowing these into trays for planting outside later also.

We have another blog helping with these too! Check out ‘Growing Fresh Leafy Green Salads’ for more!

🌿 For herbs like basil, parsley, coriander, chives, these can be started in pots or mini propagators on your windowsills now too. It’s great to have fresh ingredients in arms reach!

Need a hand choosing what herbs to grow? We have a list of our favourites here ‘Top 10 best herbs to start growing’

That is all, for now, folks – stay tuned to our Instagram account and we will have some more tips and reminders next week! 😁

Seed Pantry

 

Growing Fresh Leafy Green Salads

No garden space is complete without the addition of delicious fresh leafy greens. From lettuce to kale, leafy greens come in all colours, shapes, sizes, textures and flavours. They enjoy the cooler early Spring season and so now is the perfect time to grow them!  This is why healthy salads are a key theme in this month’s Seed Pantry Grow Club boxes.

Leafy Greens couldn’t be easier to start growing too! Most can even be grown indoors or outdoors, in small spaces too, so they are perfect for your kitchen gardener no matter what size space you have!

Let’s run through a quick guide on how you can start growing your own healthy Leafy Green Salads!

1) The best way to start your Leafy Greens is indoors now (March). This will avoid any bad weather or late frosts that can kill or damage the plants. Use trays/small pots or composts discs to start the seedlings off.

2) Sow seeds or scatter over a tray with about 8-10cm depth of compost. Sow seeds at around 1cm deep or you can simply add a 1cm layer compost on top of the seeds if easier. Gently water the soil until moist but not too wet (you don’t want to dislodge the seeds with a great torrent!). You can water the base layer first and just add a little to the top 1cm layer after. 

3)  It should take around 7-14 days for the seeds to germinate. After a further 15 days, you can thin the seedlings by removing some of the plants if they are too tightly packed together, this helps remaining plants grow bigger to their full size (you can check spacing guides on seed packets).  Or you can leave them tightly packed for baby leaf salads. After a total of 30-50 days, most leafy greens should be ready to harvest! Fresh crops for the kitchen table!!

4) For lettuce plants, you can cut the leaves you want for a meal, around 2.5cm above the base of the plants with scissors or a sharp knife. Your plants will grow more leaves for you 2 or 3 times. This is known as cut-and-come-again.

From mid-April, you will also be able to sow directly outside into patches or containers. Follow the same steps for indoor planting and they should also germinate in 7-14 days and be ready to harvest from 30 days!

So as you can see, it really is not that hard! Now the question is, what leafy greens should you start planting?! Probably the best place to start would be with lettuce , spinach and rocket as they are an easy and tasty way to start out. From there you can move on to kale, chard, and even oriental style leafy greens!

We have a whole range in the Grow Club this month, so come check them out and start your journey unto the leafy green world! 😁

Seed Pantry Team