Get ready to celebrate the magic of December by bringing out the best in your summer garden with our Gauteng December gardening guide.
SPOTLIGHT ON: POINSETTIA
A bright and cheerful poinsettia makes for the perfect Christmas table centrepiece and will last well beyond the festive season if planted in the garden in a semi-shaded area. These are our tips for selecting and caring for your poinsettia this summer:
- Select a full and balanced-looking plant that has dark green foliage and is at least two times taller than the pot.
- Place in a position that receives at least six hours of bright, but indirect light a day.
- Only water when the soil is dry.
- Feed with a soluble house plant fertiliser once a month.
- Note that extreme temperatures or temperature changes can damage the plant and lead it to lose some of its leaves.
ON YOUR TO-DO LIST FOR DECEMBER
PLANT & SOW
- Plant hanging baskets with zinnia, marigolds, portulaca, alyssum, impatiens, begonia, coleus, dahlias, and petunias.
- Sow vegetable seeds such as peppers, tomatoes and carrots for season-long fresh supply.
- Grow herbs such as rosemary, thyme and chives that can be incorporated into your summer cooking.
- Feed garden beds every six weeks with seaweed-rich and organic Atlantic Fertilisers Bio Ocean.
- Lawns require a 7:1:3 fertiliser such as Atlantic Bio Lawn or Wonder Lawn & Leaf. The latter is chemical-based and will provide faster results, but requires watering three times or more a week to prevent burn.
- English gardens in full bloom should be fed with a 3:1:5 fertiliser. A good option is Wonder Fruit & Flower or the organic-based Atlantic Fertilisers Fruit & Flower, which is endorsed by the The Federation of Rose Societies of South Africa.
These are the common garden pests that may plague you this month, and the recommended insecticide:
- Whiteflies (use Protek Spraykill 3)
- Mealybug and scale (best treated with Efekto Malasol)
- Lily borer (use Protek Knox Worm)
You can also implement budget-friendly, organic pest busters such as a spray of canola oil or catnip, or use the organic-based Ludwig’s Organic Insect Spray.
OTHER FRESH IDEAS
DECORATING YOUR SUMMER GARDEN
Since the holiday season is all about entertaining, get your garden into the festive spirit with these creative decorations:
- Create evening ambience by adding solar lights to pathways, trees and feature plants.
- Fairy lights around patio pot plants and hanging baskets will also add sparkle to your festive season.
- Consider livening up a dull area under a tree by planting LM Berea lawn (Dactyloctenium Australe).
- Plant coleus, impatiens and lavender to bring colour to garden beds.
HOLIDAY GETAWAY CHECKLIST
Going away this month? Here are some strategies for helping your garden survive the holidays:
- Move plants in pots and hanging baskets out of direct sun.
- Mow your lawn and water it well. Postpone feeding your lawn until you return.
- Mulch flowerbeds.
- Pack all gardening tools and outdoor furniture in a safe location