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In The Subtropical Garden: June

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 thinks to plant this June in the subtropical garden.


Loropetalum chinense. Photo - Arno King


It’s time to


Admire Chinese fringe flower, Loropetalum chinense, above. This is a tough shrub for tricky locations and one of the few plants that will thrive in almost all parts of Australia, from humid equatorial climates right down to the cool temperate climates of the south. A wide range of cultivars is now available with flowers in white, pink, puce and red and leaves of green, bronze and jet black. Plants make great low or tall hedges; ‘box balls’; can be trained up as weeping small trees; or espaliered on a wall.


Jobs to do

Clean out the bush house, removing old leaves and decaying plant matter then top-dress the floor with fresh gravel.

Lift lawn mower blades during dry periods to increase blade height and minimise stress to lawns.

Cut established asparagus plants to the ground and top-dress beds with composted manure as a mulch. Plant new asparagus crowns, seed or seedlings in the perennial beds of the vegetable garden. Prepare soil well by digging in quantities of composted manure. ‘Mary Washington’ is a long-lived, reliable cultivar and will grow rapidly, producing a light harvest in its second year.



Plant colourful winter annuals such as bedding begonias, calendula, lobelia, love–in-the-mist, pansies, phlox, poppies, primula, violas and wallflowers. Prepare beds, incorporating compost and fertiliser and keep plants well watered.

Plant tomatoes without having any fear of fruit flies infesting the fruit. Rotate plants to different locations each year. ‘Russian’ tomato plants do particularly well during the winter months when positioned in a warm sunny location.

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

Delay repotting and dividing plants until the warmer weather arrives. Water in the morning rather than the afternoon to allow foliage to dry by nightfall.

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Author: Arno King