With Level 2 Sydney Water Restrictions kicking in on December 10, it's time to get water-wise - but that doesn't mean you can't also help your garden thrive and get it looking ship-shape for Christmas and a summer spent outdoors. Want our expert water-wise gardening tips? Click here! 

Flowering now

  • Trees & Shrubs:
    Cuphea, convolvulus, duranta, frangipani, fuchsia, gardenia, hibiscus, hydrangea, jacaranda, lavender, osmanthus, poinciana, protea, rose, salvia
  • Natives:
    Backhousia, NSW Christmas bush, flannel flower, silky oak, melaleuca (paperbark), eucalyptus
  • Annuals & Perennials:
    Aster, calendula, candytuft, Canterbury bells, cleome, cornflower, echium, erigeron, gazania, geranium, gerbera, hollyhock, linaria, lobelia, Marguerite daisy, marigold, nasturtium, petunia, rudbeckia, verbena, zinnia
  • Bulbs:
    Agapanthus, canna, dahlia, daylily, dietes, gladiolus, hippeastrum
  • Climbers:
    Bougainvillea, mandevilla, pandorea, star jasmine

Plant/sow

  • Fill your garden with aster, marigold, petunia, phlox, salvia, sweet William, verbena and zinnia.
  • December is a great time to plant container-grown bougainvillea, mandevilla, passionfruit and wisteria.
  • Enjoy fresh produce from your garden by planting beans, beetroot, carrot, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, radish, silverbeet and tomato. Don't forget to harvest regularly to encourage more growth!

Fertilise

  • Boost houseplants with seaweed tonic. But before applying, place plants outside under cover, so the smell doesn’t fill the house. You can leave the plant outside for the day.
  • Feed your hungry lawn. At this time of year we recommend the Scotts Lawn Builder range, as it doesn’t need to be watered in like other lawn fertilisers. Want super-quick results? The  Extreme Green formula will green up your lawn in 3 days!
  • Feed your ferns and palms a suitable slow-release fertiliser. Check the strength of the fertiliser before applying, as it can be too strong for particular plants.

Prune

  • Trim any spring-flowering plants which have finished blooming to keep your garden looking tidy.
  • Snip off old blooms from rose plants which have finished flowering and fertilise well.
  • If your hedges are looking a little raggedy around the edges (common after spring growth!), now’s the time for a quick trim.
  • Feeling generous? Cuttings of plants from your garden can make really lovely gifts for neighbours and friends!

Pests & diseases

  • Check azaleas for azalea lace bug. A dull mottling or silvering of azalea leaves are signs of an attack. Yates Baythroid will fix the problem.
  • Apply snail bait liberally to prevent slugs and snails munching on new growth. Make sure the bait is out of reach of young children and animals. Alternatively, spray the area with copper oxychloride or use a homemade beer snail trap.
  • Spray caterpillars on edibles and ornamentals with Nature's Way Caterpillar Killer Dipel. You can also use Nature's Way Vegetable Dust Derris, but wait at least one day before harvesting edibles.
  • Protect azaleas and fuchsia from two-spotted mite with a systemic insecticide.
  • Rust, mildew, black spot and other fungus on roses, ornamentals and vegies should be sprayed with a fungicide.
  • Love berries? So does the local bird population! Keep your ripening crop out of harm’s way with netting or mesh, and check it regularly in case any critters get stuck.

General garden care

  • As hot, dry weather continues, it’s important to do what you can to help your plants thrive with less water. Keep all beds, pots and containers well-mulched to help retain moisture. Use soil-wetters on hydrophobic soils, try water-saving crystals in new plantings, and train your plants to withstand longer dry periods by watering deeply as needed and avoiding frequent, light watering.
  • Water citrus and feed with specially formulated citrus food. Mulching around the trees will help to retain soil moisture.
  • Pot some annuals for late summer colour and plant annuals in the garden to fill any bare spaces.
  • Harvest your vegies frequently. Regular picking encourages more growth.
  • Place sand in saucers under potted plants to stop mosquitoes breeding there.

Buy now

  • Christmas gifts for friends and family.
  • Buy a living Christmas tree. Consider dwarf lilly pilly or NSW Christmas bush
  • Annuals for summer colour.
  • Dipel or derris dust
  • Mulch such as lucerne or sugar cane
  • Lawn fertiliser