Happy second month of autumn, gardeners! Although it’s getting
colder, the landscape is truly warmed up by the rich colour pallet around us. With
many plants going into hibernation, cool-season flowers are only just waking up
and getting ready to treat us to their colourful charm. It’s time to sort out
some pre-winter maintenance and prep the veggie patch for soups and stews.
Awesome flowers to plant
April is the perfect time to plant striking indigenous
bulbs like watsonia, freesia, ixia, chincherinchee and Sparaxis. For
non-indigenous bulbs, try daffodils, irises, tulips and hyacinths.
For colour and charm, go for primula,
poppy, pansy and gazania seedlings, as well as perennials such as lupins,
Shasta daisies, and aquilegias.
Planting new roses now will allow them
to ‘settle in’ during winter and gain a head start in spring. Continue to spray
your roses against fungal diseases such as mildew and black spot.
Awesome plants to sow
Flowers that can still be sown are
osteospermum, mesembryanthemums, winter scatter packs and the indigenous
scatter pack mix. Individual varieties include Virginian stocks, calendula, and
Veggies to be sown now include peas,
parsnips, carrots, onion Texas Grano (short day variety), beetroot Bulls Blood,
For a winter production of healthy herbs,
start sowing seeds in windowsill containers. High light is all that’s needed
for a good crop with a reasonable indoor temperature.
Top tip: Guard against leaving containers on windowsills
overnight as cold glass may harm plants.
Awesome to spray
Aphids will still be around this time of the
year, although their numbers will be less than in spring. Give your flowers a
close inspection and if there are still a few around control with Plant
Snails and slugs devastate
leaves on plants and ruin their appearance. Snailban and Snailflo are just two
of the products which you can purchase from your GCA Garden Centre as a
Scale is a sap-sucking insect that can
cause severe damage to many types of plants in the garden. They can be
eradicated by spraying with Malasol or Oleum in the cooler months.
Autumn is the peak season for leaf miners,
causing twisting and curling on new leaves. Control with regular applications
of Eco Insect Control SC.
Top tip: Watch out for ant movement – the main
culprits for transferring disease around the garden. Sprinkle Ant Dust around
their holes and along their trails.
Feed your winter-flowering plants such as hellebores, with Bio Ocean, to encourage a dramatic winter show later in the season when little else is brave enough to flower.
When cyclamen buds start to appear on last year’s plants, start feeding them every second week with Bio Ocean or All Purpose.
Add All Purpose fertiliser to aloes and flowering succulents now.
Give sweet peas a boost with Bio Ocean and train them up onto a net or lattice.
Feed citrus trees with Bio Ocean and a handful of Epsom salts per tree.
In frost-prone areas, remember to grab
some protection from your GCA Garden Centre and be ready to cover up before
you’re caught off guard.
Mulch up to the max with living groundcovers
and plant materials.
Containers are ready for a new layer of potting
soil. Remove about one third from the top and replace it with the new soil.
Any container plants that need repotting
can also be done now. Help them adapt with a liquid fertiliser after
If you’re unsure about which fertilisers or sprays to use, remember to ask your knowledgeable garden centre advisors for help. Any other plants that need transplanting can also be done now, giving them a chance to adjust so that come springtime, they are blooming with life.