Handling Dormant Plugs in Spring

Handling Dormant Plugs in Spring

Received dormant plugs and not sure what to do next? Read on.

If you’re new to growing perennials, it can feel a bit daunting to receive a shipment of dormant plugs in early spring. No worries, we are here to help!

We start by inspecting all of our flats before they are shipped to ensure we are sending out viable plugs that are ready to begin active growth. Both genetics and environmental factors can influence dormancy. Perennials naturally tend to break at different rates.

Mother Nature likes to keep us humble sometimes, especially on late dormancy items which we intentionally hold back on shipping until they start to grow. To ensure your peace of mind, we offer you our guarantee that the plants we ship to you will be healthy and true to name.

Once you receive your plug shipment, you may choose to hold flats of dormant plugs in a cool greenhouse (around 45°F) until they break dormancy. Or, if it fits your production cycle better, go ahead and pot up those dormant plugs. With the right care, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting them to start up.

The most critical cultural factor with handling dormant plugs is moisture. Since they are not yet actively growing, the plants are not able to take up much moisture and will rot if kept too wet. The growing media should be on the drier side (level 2 on a scale of 1 to 5), but the plugs should not be allowed to dry out. Once they break dormancy and greenhouse temperatures begin to rise, moisture levels can be increased as the crop dictates.

A second important cultural factor is temperature. Our dormant perennial plugs were held in minimally heated greenhouses before they were shipped to you. Depending on the time of year, nighttime temperatures can come close to 32°F in our greenhouses. To allow the plants to come out of dormancy as naturally as possible, we try to mimic natural conditions as our outdoor temperatures slowly increase and spring arrives.

We understand that all growers have their own growing protocols and are working in different kinds of greenhouse environments. Our best advice is to warm dormant plugs up slowly to produce the healthiest, highest quality finished plants.

Lastly, it’s important to understand that dormant plugs do not require any fertilization. Sleeping plants don’t want to eat. Keep an eye out for bud development and crown growth. Once daytime temperatures begin to rise into the high 30s and 40s, then you’ll want to begin minimal fertilization on those actively growing plants. As the plants begin to root out, you can proceed with your regular fertilizer program.

 

 

dormant perennial plug
tray of dormant perennial plugs