How to grow It's time to: December

It's time to: December

Admire

Gazania, euphorbia and pigface are three summer stunners that stand up to hot weather.

Prune

Azaleas need a trim after flowering to promote compact, disease-free growth. Remove tall, irregular, sucker-like growth that can cause the shrub to become leggy.

Cut back may bush (spiraea), removing the oldest canes at ground level to encourage arching waterfalls of new growth.

Pick

Hydrangea and agapanthus give a cool look to the Christmas table. To make hydrangea last longer, pick early in the morning and submerge the flower heads in water for an hour before draining and arranging.

Check

How are the hoses? Fittings need replacing? When not in use roll the hose into a neat coil to avoid trip hazards and preserve the hose. Retractable hoses make the job easier.

Repot

Divide and repot late-flowering cymbidium orchids.

Watch out

Keep an eye out for lacebug on azaleas, identified by the silver cast of infected leaves. Insects peak in summer: try a Confidor tablet or Richgro Bug Killa granules beneath azaleas to control them.

Plant

In summer choose tube stock or the smallest pot-size possible, to help establish root systems over summer.

Stake

The huge and heavy heads of dahlias can break the fragile stems so offer support.

Last chance

Mulch the garden before the summer scorchers arrive. 

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