Landscapers across Ireland use a variety of planting material in their garden design. Plants rarely recover from a poor start in life so I would advice to check the specimens that you are thinking about buying. If you buy stock before you are ready to plant I would recommend that you keep your stock in a cool place.
Container Grown Plants
Some landscapers use container grown plants. I have seen landscapers in Dublin use this method many a time before. A container grown perennial is a plant which has been raised as a seeding or cutting and has then been potted on until it is housed in the whalehide, plastic, or metal container. It should not have been lifted from the open ground and its roots plus surrounding soil stuffed into the container. The true container grown hardy perennial can be planted at any time of the year as long as the ground is neither frosty nor waterlogged. It is the most convenient of all the planting types but also the most expensive.
Pot Grown Plants
A pot grown specimen is a miniature verison of the container grown plant. It may be a mature rockery perennial of the juvenile form. This is the best way for landscapers to buy a rockery perennial and is generally more economical for border perennials than container grown plants. It is the most of expensive way for landscapers to buy annuals but as there is no check after planting out the flowers are earlier and larger.
Make sure that the bulbs and corms that you buy are firm at the base. They should not have started to grow and the surface should be mould free. Large sized bulbs are usually the best choice but buying a mixture of bulbs which you can grow on its own are more economical for landscapers. It is of no importance if Tulips have lost their brown skins. The outer scales of Lily Bulbs should be firm and succulent – do not buy bulbs if they are covered with withered scales.
The pre-packeded perennials are used by some landscapers but are also the standard planting material sold by hardware shops, supermarkets and garden centres in Dublin and across Ireland. It is a bare rooted plant with moist peat, sphagnum moss or compost around roots and the whole plant housed inside a labelled polythene bag. Such plants are cheaper than their container grown couterparts but there are some drawback the average landscaper should be aware of. You can’t see what you are buying and premature growth may occur in the shop. Planting time is the dormant season between Autumn and Spring.