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December with Keith Kirsten

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Unique Golden Yellow Calibracho Superbells.

Unique Golden Yellow Calibracho Superbells.

As the festive season kicks up a gear, your garden deserves some TLC, maintenance and investment.

Countrywide

Bougainvilleas

Your Bougainvilleas will experience a growth spurt this month and in January.

  • Follow up on sowing seed of winter annuals, bi-annuals and perennials
  • Water all plants well if the weather is dry
  • Make the necessary arrangements for your garden before leaving on holiday so that plants do not suffer unnecessarily while you are away
  • Control weeds in the lawn with broad-leaf weed killers and remove all weeds by hand in flower beds
  • Feed citrus trees and camellias
  • Keep a look out for red spider mite as they can be very active during hot, dry weather
  • Spray regularly where necessary to keep the garden free of pests
  • Water, feed and mow the lawn
  • Bougainvilleas flower almost throughout the year, normally with a big flush in December and January. If you do not have much space, you can consider one of the dwarf bougainvillea varieties

Winter rainfall areas

Sow your broccoli.

Sow your broccoli.

  • Dead-head summer flowering annuals and continue feeding with fertiliser high in potassium to prolong flowering periods
  • Hydrangeas are at their best. To pick hydrangea flowers for the vase make sure to pick mature flower heads with the little flowers in the centre all open. Scrape the wood off the bottom 50mm of the stem and soak in cold water up to their necks overnight
  • Lift and divide spring-flowering irises
  • Plant nerine bulbs
  • Sow vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, dwarf beans, lettuces, runner beans and vegetable marrows

Dry continental and Highveld summer rainfall areas

It's time to feed your soil.

It’s time to feed your soil.

  • Dead-head daisy bushes regularly to prolong their flowering period and remember to disbud dahlias at regular intervals
  • Keep the soil well mulched
  • Consider putting up a rainwater tank, as a wide variety of container grown plants can be grown with best results if watered with rainwater
  • Stake dahlias and water and fertilise them regularly
  • Mulch roses well
  • Cut back chrysanthemums
  • Sow vegetables like beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, dwarf beans, kohlrabi, lettuces, parsley, runner beans, sweet potatoes (tubers or cuttings) and vegetable marrows

Subtropical

It's time to feed your litchi trees.

It’s time to feed your litchi trees.

  • Watch out for mildew on plants, especially on zinnias, and spray if necessary
  • Feed cannas with 3:1:5 and mulch with compost
  • Dead-head all flowering plants
  • Plant summer-flowering annuals
  • Feed cannas and water regularly
  • Feed citrus and litchi trees
  • Sow vegetables like peppers and sweet potatoes (tubers or runners)

Moderate summer rainfall areas

Beetroot and tomato seeds are now ready to be sowed.

Beetroot and tomato seeds are now ready to be sowed.

  • Make sure to water the garden deeply during hot and dry spells
  • Dead-head and feed annuals regularly
  • Keep a look-out for snails and slugs
  • Watch out for amaryllis-borer caterpillar on nerines, clivias and amaryllis
  • Sow vegetables such as beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, dwarf beans, dwarf spinach, globe and Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, runner beans, sweet potatoes (tubers or runners), tomatoes and vegetable marrows.
    Buddleia Lo & Behold 'Pink Micro Chip'.

    Buddleia Lo & Behold ‘Pink Micro Chip’.

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