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In The Subtropical Garden: July

Milder temps, light and infrequent rains and glorious sunshine is par for the course in the subtropical garden.

Our resident tropical garden expert Arno King has all the tips and tricks, and the best things to plant this July in the subtropical garden.


Brachychiton Bidwillii. Photo - Arno King


It’s time to


Admire little kurrajong, Brachychiton bidwillii, above. This small, elegant tree makes a great winter show. Flowers may be pink, red or orange and size and form may vary depending on provenance. Trees look stunning when planted in informal groves.


Head outside

Enjoy outdoor dining and entertaining in the garden during these mild, dry winter days with their stunning clear blue skies. Locate permanent tables and chairs in key locations and consider building a pergola, over which to grow a climbing plant. This can be pruned back in late autumn so as to enjoy the winter sun.



Complete the last of the mulching this month to avoid attracting male bush turkeys to the garden. If they build a nest in your garden, they can destroy all planting in the immediate area.


Clean up

Remove dead lotus and water lily leaves from ponds, and use a net to lift other debris from the pond bottom, before they decay and putrify the water.


Find an expert

Book a qualified arborist (a member of the Arboricultural Association) to assess the trees in your garden and remove dead, damaged and potentially dangerous branches. Now is the best time to undertake this work, while the humidity is low and there is less likelihood of fungal infection.



Undertake earthworks while it is dry. In readiness for the summer wet season, provide above ground drainage, particularly to areas around the house, by constructing broad spoon drains or swales across lawns or through garden beds.

Construct new garden beds, a bush house or rainwater tanks during dry weather.



Sow seeds or plant seedlings of: beetroot, carrot, celery, coriander, kale, leek, lettuce, pak choi, radish, radicchio, rocket, ‘Russian’ tomatoes, silverbeet and spinach.

Cover cold-sensitive tropical plants with frost protection cloth or old sheets on still cold nights around the full moon.

About this article

Author: Arno King