Spring has officially arrived! It’s a busy month in the garden, but one of the best, so celebrate by getting your hands dirty. This month, the vegie patch is begging to be filled with beans, carrots, celery and cucumbers, there are gorgeous marigolds, chrysanthemums and salvias to plant, and once you're done, protect all those delicate new vegetable and flower seedlings with animal-friendly snail pellets.
- Trees & shrubs: Camellia, crabapple, diosma, French lavender, lilac, magnolia, murraya, jasmine, prunus, rhododendron, robinia, rose, viburnum.
- Natives: Banksia, boronia, bottlebrush, grevillea, hardenbergia, kangaroo paw, waratah.
- Annuals & perennials: California poppy, campanula, cineraria, cornflower, English daisy, gerbera, lobelia, Federation daisy, penstemon, polyanthus, poppy, wallflower.
- Bulbs: Anemone, babiana, bluebells, clivia, crocus, daffodil, freesia, hyacinth, iris, ranunculus, tulip.
- Climbers: Bougainvillea, clematis, jasmine, wisteria.
- Glorious flowers to plant now include ageratum, aster, chrysanthemum, cleome, cosmos, everlasting daisies, marigold, nasturtium, penstemon, petunia, rudbeckia, salvia, snapdragon, verbena and zinnia.
- Plant your favourite citrus, plus hibiscus, passionfruit, rhododendron and wisteria.
- It’s not too late to plant bulbs such as agapanthus, amaryllis belladonna lily, canna, dahlia, daylily and hippeastrum.
- Fill your vegie patch with beans, carrots, celery, chillies, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, leek, lettuce, melon, potato, pumpkin and tomato.
- For a great harvest, companion-plant blue, purple or yellow flowers near your vegies. Bees are especially attracted to these colours and will help pollinate your vegies. You can also match beans with carrots, cucumber and lettuce, or tomatoes with basil, mint, chives and parsley to help get the best out of your crop.
- It's repotting time for any plants, indoor or outdoor, that have outgrown their current homes. Repotting into a larger sized container will help to stimulate new growth!
- Most potting mixes last one year before their nutrient stores are depleted, so it’s out with the old and in with the new. If your plants don't need repotting, at the very least you should be topping up their pots with some fresh, high-quality mix.
- Fertilise camellias, daphne and azaleas once they’ve finished flowering.
- Keep citrus well watered and feed with a complete citrus food.
- A foliar fertiliser on spring-flowering annuals will keep them blooming longer.
- Feed your lawn with a lawn builder, which will help strengthen roots, promote growth and thicken your lawn.
- Don't forget your indoor plants - their needs change in spring, too! Start watering more frequently in September, and also fertilise fortnightly, right through to about March.
- Top up mulch. Composted pinebark is great, as is lucerne hay, pea straw and woodchip, which is particularly good for natives. This has the bonus effects of both stopping weeds finding their way through, and keeping your soil cool and moist!
- After its winter snooze, your lawn is springing to life, which means it’s hungry. Unfortunately broadleaf weeds are also actively growing. Help get it off to a good start, strengthen its roots and beat weeds with a weed and feed combo, such as Yates Buffalo Pro Weed ‘n’ Feed, which is safe on grass but effective on all broadleaf weeds.
- Spotted some leggy growth on your favourite indoor plant baby? Now's the time to tidy it up. Not only will it look much better, it'll help to encourage new growth. Double win!
- Prune hibiscus, camellia, plumbago and poinsettia.
- Native shrubs such as bottlebrush should be trimmed after flowering to encourage bushy growth. In the same vein, now's also the time to trim hedges, in turn encouraging the kind of lush new growth you want to keep nosy neighbours at bay.
- Prune flowering peach after flowering. Do not prune edible peach trees this month.
Pests & diseases
- Gently wipe over the foliage of all your indoor plants to help keep them clean - and check thoroughly for pests and diseases as you go. If you find mealy bugs, wipe them off with a cloth or use a horticultural soap to control them.
- Protect vegetable and flower seedlings with animal-friendly snail pellets, like Multiguard (use as per product instructions).
- Keep a close watch for aphids on new growth and spray when necessary, particularly roses.
- Azaleas and rhododendrons are best sprayed regularly to protect flowers from petal blight.
- Caterpillars are on the hunt. Keep them away with Dipel or Success Ultra.
- Spray viburnum tinus with Mavrik if two-spotted mites attack. They appear as red specks on the backs of leaves and cause silvering of foliage.
- When they come into leaf, check grapevines for vine moth caterpillars and spray with Dipel if affected.
- Protect citrus against louse and leaf scale by feeding your plants Yates Thrive Citrus.
General garden care
- As the weather warms up, be kind to our pollinating friends - they do us a very important favour, after all! Provide a bird bath or shallow water dish for birds, bees and other pollinators to drink from. Be sure to pop in a few rocks or sticks to ensure the insects don't drown.
- Feed camellias with cow manure, or with azalea and camellia plant food.
- Keep gardenias well watered and fed with complete fertiliser so you get the best summer flowering results.
- Prepare vegetable gardens by forking mushroom compost or cow manure through the garden, then giving a thorough water before planting. Add blood and bone and sweeten the soil with garden lime.
- Water gardens regularly as spring flowering plants use a lot of water when in flower.
- If your lawn is looking patchy, sow some seed and apply top dress to fill in dips and holes.
- Bulb fertiliser
- Azalea and camellia plant food
- Lawn food
- Tomato seedlings
- Citrus food