Hero plant this month: Cyclamen
In April, it’s all about cyclamen, an excellent indoor plant.
A member of the Primulaceae family, cyclamen are known for their shapely upturned petals and elegant and long-lasting flowers, which come in a range of colours including white, red, pink and purple. Some are even perfumed.
For a long-lived plant, keep your cyclamen away from heaters or an open fire. In fact, they thrive in cool temperatures. Don’t overwater and place in a spot that gets lots of natural light, so they’ll reward with months of blooms.
After flowering, move to a shaded spot. Leave the cyclamen in its pot on its side or plant in the garden.
What else to plant
It’s a really good time to put in flowering shrubs such as azaleas. They’re hard to beat for their spectacular flowering ability and brilliantly coloured blooms. They’re easy to grow and come in a range of sizes from delicate pot lovers to much larger, hardier varieties. Plant in semi shade or morning sun and acidic soil.
Another hardy hero is the camellia. These evergreen shrubs are easy to grow, and some varieties will flower through winter into spring. Plant as a hedge or even a feature.
Upgrade the vegie patch. Consider planting kale, lettuce, spring onions and herbs such as parsley, sage and thyme.
If you’ve got some room, feijoas and guavas are good options. They’re easy to grow and have delicious fruit. Fejoias are an excellent plant for hedging.
Autumn is all about replenishing and replanting tired garden beds. Start by lifting and dividing overgrown perennials. Clip back any that need it and remove dead leaves.
Think about planting a green manure crop using lupins. Just before flowering, dig them into the soil. This will improve the soil and add nitrogen.
Prune any nectarines, peaches and plums that have finished fruiting. Remove any dead or diseased branches.
Strawberries are putting out runners. These develop roots and produce a new plant, so trim them off and pot them up ready for planting in winter.
This month is also a chance to keep harvesting fresh produce. Beans are ready, as are beetroot, carrots, celery, chillies, lettuce, marrows and peas. Pick rhubarb as well as grapes, Chilean guava, pears and walnuts.
Make the most of the magical autumn days and get out into your garden this weekend.
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