It’s time to go all out and celebrate the beauty of fresh growth over the festive period. We cover all the gardening tips you need this month, guide you in choosing plants for the season, and give you a holiday checklist to ensure your summer garden stays alive while you’re away.
Spotlight on: Poinsettia What’s a Christmas table without the cheer of poinsettia? If you take proper care of your poinsettia, it will last well beyond thefestive season and into the new year (and might even bloom another season!). Follow our top tips for selecting and caring for your poinsettia to help it flourish this summer:
Choose a plant that looks full and balanced. A healthy poinsettia also has dark green foliage and is at least twice as tall as the pot.
Place in a spot that gets at least six hours of bright, indirect light a day.
Water only when the soil is dry.
Feed with a soluble houseplant fertiliser once a month.
Extreme temperatures or temperature changes can damage the plant and cause it to lose some of its leaves – maintain a consistent environment if possible.
ON YOUR TO-DO LIST FOR DECEMBER
Plant & Sow
Plant heat-tolerant bedding plants like amaranthus, dianthus, gazanias, gomphrena, verbena, vinca and zinnia.
Feed your summer garden with a general fertiliser like 2:3:2 or an organic all-purpose fertiliser, and water deeply (do this with grey water using a watering can in the mornings and evenings).
Check the mulch around your roses and reapply if necessary. Nourish them with 8:1:5 or 5:1:5.
Feed cannas, dahlias, daylilies and hibiscus with 3:1:5.
Feed hydrangeas with Nitrosol or Multifeed once every two weeks. If the leaves start to turn yellow, treat plants with iron chelate or Epsom salts.
Sustain indoor and outdoor container plants with an all-purpose liquid fertiliser like Multifeed or Seagro.
Prune & Trim
Deadhead annuals and perennials like candytuft, catmint, daisy bushes, lavender, geraniums, phlox and veronica.
Cut back wisteria to encourage productive flowering next year.
Clip your hedges neatly, making sure that the base is slightly broader than the top, so that sunlight can reach all parts of the plant.
Pull up any weeds before they go to seed and cause more problems for next year. Weeds steal valuable water and nutrients from your plants.
OTHER FRESH IDEAS
Holiday checklist If you’re going away this festive season, prepare your summer garden to sustain itself. We’ve put together this nifty checklist:
Weed your flowerbeds and mulch the soil well.
Deadhead flowering shrubs so you have more chance of a beautiful flush of blooms on your return.
Move potted plants to a shady area to prevent them from drying out too quickly.
Store all your garden tools and outdoor furniture in a secure spot.
Pro tip: If your potted houseplants dry out too quickly after watering, try this simple trick. When repotting, tuck a damp sponge into the bottom of the pot before filling with soil. It will act as a water reservoir and you’ll need to water less often!
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