It's Time To: March
Autumn is prime planting time.
The cooler weather means plants require less water but the soil is still warm enough roots to establish before winter’s chill.
photo: Robin Powell
Thanks to cooler nights autumn roses, pictured above, have intense colour and longer lives, both on the bush and in a vase.
Sow seeds of rocket, coriander, basil and chervil. They don’t bolt so quickly to seed in autumn. Sow directly into gardens or pots; liquid feed every two weeks. Repot tired indoor (and outdoor) plants. Add water crystals to quality potting mix to help retain soil moisture. Our tip: soak the crystals in a bucket of water first, and add the expanded crystals to the mix. Swap spent petunias and other summer annuals for pretty winter-flowering pansies and violas. Add fresh compost to the soil first. Avoid planting seedlings too deeply or they’ll rot in cool wet weather.
Look for destructive lily caterpillars on clivia, crinum lily and other strappy leafed plants. Spray with Yates Success Ultra or Eco-neem.
Apply controlled release fertiliser to garden beds then top up mulch to 30-50mm thick. Water everything in well. Give potted cymbidium orchids a dose of liquid orchid food and move them into a sunny spot to encourage developing flower spikes.
Neaten hedges, tapering the sides slightly outwards so sunlight reaches foliage at the base of the hedge. They’ll reshoot before the cool weather arrives and look sleek all through winter.
Spring-flowering bulbs should be bought now, but hold off planting until later in autumn, unless you live in a cool climate.