J A N U A R Y
Annual weeds can be hoed off.
Perennial weeds dug out by the roots Tips : Do not water 24 hours
after hoeing as weeds will be killed through lack of water/moistures.
Dead head annuals (remove old flower heads) to prolong the season of
Feed 3:1:5 and water deeply.
Sow Alyssum, dwarf marigolds, portulaca directly into beds (they
will make a great show before cold weather sets in).
End of January prepare sweetpea flower beds. Loosen the ground
deeply, incorporate plenty compost and superphosphate fertilizer at a
rate of 60 g/m². (N.B. sow sweetpeas in February).
Primula malicoides and ornamental Kale can be sown into seed trays
in a cool, shady position, in preparation for winter.
Rust – fungus may be around. Showing up as orange or brown pustules
on the leaves. Most prevalent during moist, warm weather.
Spray Odeon, Chronos or Orion on both upper and lower sides of the
leaves. All diseased leaves should be removed.
If the weather is very dry and hot, infestation of Redspider is
common. Attacking the underside of the leaves, giving the leaf a
mottled appearance. The best way to neutralize the problem is to
water plentifully during this hot/dry period. Or to spray Oleum/ Eco oil spray on
the underside of the leaves to suffocate them.
Cut Lilium flowers off when trusses turn brown, feed bulbs with
3:1:5 liquid fertilizer. Remember to water well during dry periods.
Feeding foliar fertilizer and trace elements during summer is
beneficial to all plants.
Remember to clip hedges towards the end of the month (with the top
of the hedge being narrower than the base in order to allow more light
to reach the bottom foliage).
F E B R U A R Y
Start preparing beds and containers for winter displays
Compost the area to a depth of 50 mm, add a balanced fertilizer e.g
2:3:2 at a rate of 60 g/m² (4 tablespoons). Dig in well and rake
level. Allow the weeds to germinate and then hoe them off.
Dead-head annuals which could last another 4 – 6 weeks to prolong
flowering. Feed with a fertilizer high in potassium e.g. 3:1:5.
Sow seeds of sweetpeas and primulas. Avoid overwatering once they
have germinated, as they are susceptible to root rot.
Seed collecting of perennials can also be done new.
Take cuttings of frost tender plants. Prune back regal and zonal
Hellebore plants flower late winter/early spring. Feed now with a
fertilizer high in potassium to promote flowering and water them on a
regular basis during winter.
Watch carefully for the black and yellow banded amaryllis borer
caterpillar. Attacking nerines, amaryllis and clivias. Dust the neck
of the bulbs with Karbadust.
Check hostas for snail infestation control by baiting with snailban
or sluggem. Or place a saucer in the soil filled with beer, leaving
it overnight. Collect the inebriated slugs and snails the following
morning and dispose of them.
M A R C H
Excellent time to plant trees, shrubs and climbers. The cool
temperature of autumn helps new plants to establish itself more easily
being under less stress. In spring the plants are able to grow
quicker having developed a good root system during winter.
Remove summer annuals during March.
Winter annual seed planted in seed trays before early April will
start flowering in Mid-May.
Pinch back sweet pea seedlings (sown in February) when they are 10
cm high to the 3rd leaf from the ground to promote development of
strong side shoots. Be careful not to over water as they are prone to
root rot disease.
Sow Namaqualand daisies, prepare you soil by tilling it, giving a
light water then scattering seed. Lightly rake the seed in 10 mm
Keep the soil moist until the seed have germinated. As the
seedlings grow water deeply, but less often.
Bokbaai vygies can be sown now, mix the seed with wet river sand to
aid even spread sowing.
Plant winter bulbs e.g. daffodils, sparaxis, ixias and freesias.
Place them at the correct depth in the soil and ensure that they do
not dry out.
Lift your flame lilies, yellow or pink arums once they have died
down and store them in some peat in a dark, rat-free cupboard for the
winter months. Alternatively they may be left in the ground but make
sure they are not irrigated from April to October.
Check your lawn on a regular basis for the grey/green lawn
caterpillar. Which are active at night and like moist, cool
conditions during autumn.
To establish whether you have a lawn caterpillar problem. Place a
damp sack or towel over the lawn in the evening. The following
morning lift the sack and the caterpillars will easily be seen.
Control by dosing with Karbaspray or baiting with Scatterkill.
A P R I L
This is a busy time, as it is the last month which temperatures are
warm enough to plant seedlings and winter bulbs.
It is also the best time to lift and divide perennials, plant woody
plants e.g. trees, shrubs and climbers. These transplanted plants
continue to make roots although the upper plant is dormant, plus the
evaporation rate of soil moisture is much reduced. Therefore they do
not have to be irrigated as much as in summer. By spring these plants
have established and rapid growth occurs as the temperatures start to
Summer bulbs should have been lifted, and the last indigenous and
exotic winter flowering bulbs should be planted.
Remember to feed them prior to and after emergence of shoots to keep
them growing well. Also keep them well catered during their growing
period so that their flowers do not abort.
Tulips are available at the end of April. Plant them at the correct
depth and dust them with Karbadust.
Annuals and Perennials
Plant the last of your winter flowering annuals during the early
part of April to ensure early winter flowering.
Start making provision for the protection of frost-tender plants
e.g. hessian, kay-cover, mulching etc.
Gradually reduce water program by lengthening the period between
Remember that plants which originate from winter rainfall areas,
must be given water on a regular basis during winter. It is a good
idea to group these plants together in the garden, so they can be
treated all the same.
Watch for the symptoms of the Italian Aphid. Spray small conifers
with Complete or Dimethoate and the larger conifers can be treated at
the root zone every 6 weeks with Complete/ Koinor/ Meridian.
M A Y
Now’s the time to plant frost-hardy trees, shrubs and climbers.
Their roots are still able to develop into the surrounding soil
although the process may be slower. The advantages of planting now,
is that the ground does not dry out quickly, less watering is
practised, and by spring the plants have established their roots and
well on their way for rapid growth in the warmer weather.
It is still time to plant winter bulbs, especially the Tulips.
If your perennials are overcrowded, it’s now the time to lift and
divide them. Otherwise a good spread of compost and fertilizer high
in potassium (k) is ample.
Start preparation against frost, mulching with compost ± 10cm thick or
using bark chips. This will protect the crown and shallow roots.
Fertilize your winter flowering annuals with 3-1-5 SR if they are
large enough and almost flowering. If they are still too small apply
2-3-2, work it in and water.
Don’t forget to water regularly your “all season’s evergreen”, “shade
over” or “falcon” grasses.
Watch out for signs of the “Italian Aphid” especially attacking the
side shoots. Use Complete, Dimethoate and Meridian,
alternating at regular 10 day intervals.
J U N E
By now most plants in the garden are dormant, or growing very slow due
to the cold weather and short days.
This is an excellent time to transplant deciduous woody plants.
**Water the plant 3 days before moving it. Dig a hole in the new
position, loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole, mixing a generous
amount of compost and 60 grams superphosphate. When digging out plant
to be transplanted, lift the root ball carefully with much soil
“intact”, using a hessian sack.
Back fill around the root ball, firming the soil around with your
hands, until level with the surrounding soil. Water the replaced soil
well. Some of the plant branches can be cut back to reduce the
transpiration rate. Avoid over watering.**
Now is also the time for “formative pruning”. It is imperative to
prune Spirea and Camellia Japonica to increase flowering.
Lift and divide perennials if not already done. Plant frost hardy
woody shrubs and perennials.
Carry out maintenance on your pond. Re-pot waterlilies if necessary.
Clear the pond of debris lying at the bottom, preferably without
removing the water.
Water new plantings once per week, mature plantings once per months.
Other plants requiring regular watering during winter are :
camellias, magnolias, azaleas and proteas
To ensure maximum flowering.
Feed winter annuals with 2-3-2 or 3-1-5. Avoid over watering
indigenous winter flowering annuals i.e. African Daisies and
Livingstone Daisies (Bokbaaivygies) as they become prone to fungal
J U L Y
Feed winter annuals twice this month. Dead head sweet-peas to extend their flowering period.
Deeply irrigate the annuals when the soil dries out.
After pruning roses, spread super phosphate and 3-2-1 and a liberal amount of compost over the root zone and work gently into the soil. (This is the only time of year when the rose roots may be disturbed).
Spray the rose cones and surrounding soil with a copper oxychoride formulation (e.g copper count). This helps to control black spot.
Prune back summer and autumn flowering shrubs. It is important as it increases their life span, and improves the quantity of flowering.
Make sure that camellias, azaleas, hellebores and other plants derived from a winter rainfall region receive deep watering, when the soil has been allowed to dry out.
This month is your last chance to prune your fruit trees. Flowers and fruit are carried on the wood formed the previous year/summer.
Therefore you should remove ⅓ of the trees fruiting wood, back to a bud.
Spray lime sulfur to help control fungal disease and insect pests. A good tip is to lightly drench the ground under the fruit trees also, to control any insect larvae that are resting there.
A U G U S T
Re-pot or top-dress container grown plants.
Scarify rhizomatous lawns (e.g. kikuyu) to remove the thatch (dead grass material).
Fertilize with 2-3-2 (22) and spread a light layer of lawn dressing evenly over the surface, and apply a light watering. First cut when leaves are 20 mm in height.
Complete pruning on summer and autumn flowering shrubs. Remove any dead branches on ornamental trees.
Fertilize winter flowering annuals with a fertilizer high in potassium e.g. 2-3-2 (22) to prolong flowering and dead-head the annuals to ensure they keep producing blooms.
Start fertilizing perennials and increase frequency of irrigation as temperatures start warming.
Dead-head the flowers of bulbs which have finished flowering and fertilize every 2 weeks with 3-1-5 (26). Leave the foliage to die down naturally.
Towards the later part of the month plant summer flowering bulbs e.g. Amaryllis, Nerines, Galtonia and Dahlia’s.
Summer flowering annuals may also be sown in protected areas.
Divide and re-plant herbaceous perennials.
S E P T E M B E R
Spring blossom is the sign of the garden waking from its winter sleep! The weather is unpredictable, so be prepared for a late frost!
It is time to fill up empty spaces in your garden with trays or bags of colourful annuals and perennials. Spring clean and tidy up.
Remove old grass clippings (thatch) using a rake or still bristle broom to allow fertilizer, air and water to penetrate to the roots. Feed your lawn with 2-3-2 or
3-2-1. Remember for a healthy lawn, lush and green, you need to keep to a good feeding program every 4 to 6 weeks.
Cut back withered shrubs, water deeply and fork in compost and a light sprinkling of 2-3-2 or 3-2-1 fertilizer, and 3-1-5 for flowering shrubs. A light pruning of evergreen trees and shrubs can improve their appearance! Do not prune spring and flowering shrubs or you will loose the flowers.
Lift and divide water lilies if they are overcrowded and replant them in a rich soil, feeding them with sprinkle grow tablets, which is a slow release fertilizer pill not harmful to fish.
While waiting for your small shrubs to fill out and mature, fill in spaces with groundcovers and annuals.
Weeds arrive after the first rains, eradicate them quickly using a herbicide before they come to flower.
Lift and divide perennials, which never flowered well last year. Dead-head existing flowering annuals to prolong their potential flowering.
Fertilize and water your roses well as they come into flower.
O C T O B E R
Stake all plants to prevent them from flopping or leaning over, as the wind and rain could cause damage.
Container plants need regular watering and feeding – use Multi-feed P, Nitrosol, Seagro or Kelp. It is important to feed a soluble fertilizer in containers to ensure their roots do not burn.
Watch your roses for disease, aphids and redspidermite. Use a systemic fungicide or insecticide. Remember to alternate medications as insects can become immune to the same treatment used continually.
If you are planting seedlings, choose healthy strong leaved plants and water them before planting them out.
Plant during the cooler part of the day. Water perennials well, then spread a generous layer of compost or bark chips around the plants, this will reduce water loss and weeds coming through.
Azaleas can be trimmed back once they have finished flowering.
Avoid cutting down foliage on bulbs, as this is the time they start storing nutrients for the following growing season.
N O V E M B E R
Water is a precious commodity and increasingly expensive, so group plants with similar water requirements together. You can conserve moisture by applying mulch, which as an additive smothers the weed population.
Water your garden every 3 to 5 days, rather than daily – as this will encourage roots to grow deeper in search of moisture.
Fertilize your lawn with 2-3-2 or 3-2-1 fertilizer, water in dry weather and cut little off at a time more often to encourage a lush thick carpet.
Trees require more fertilizer than shrubs, and shrubs require more fertilizer than perennials. Always water well before and after fertilizing.
A light pruning of spring flowering shrubs can be done to shape them, once they have finished flowering.
Remove any dead flowers and leaves, from perennials and annuals, and apply a general fertilizer.
Watch your watering of container plants, watering them thoroughly and then allowing them to dry out before watering again. If your fuschias look limp check first that the cause may not be due to too much water rather than not enough!
D E C E M B E R
Its holiday season! So if you are staying at home and entertaining buy colourful annuals to fill any gaps in your flower beds and containers around the braai area!
If you are going away, buy a lawn growth retardant to spray on to the lawn to stop excessive growth. Water the flower beds thoroughly 2 days before leaving, and apply a mulch of compost or bark chips to prevent water loss. Ideally would be to install an electronic water timer sprinkler system!
Cut old rose buds to a new eye to encourage the next flush of flowers and fertilize and water well.
For hot areas in the garden, planing silver-grey foliage and blue and white flowers often create a cool effect.
Watch out for the CMR beetles and Christmas beetles chomping all the flower buds! Use an insecticide or ask the nursery horticulturists for advice on natural methods of catching them.
Agapanthus, alstromerias, dahlias, hibiscus, impatiens and star jasmines are at their best this time of the year.
If you have a vegetable garden look out for aphids, spray your tomatoes with a fungicide to prevent disease, apply LAN to foliage vegetables to encourage greening after the heavy rainfalls which cause leaching.