Hero plant this month: Poinsettias
In December, the focus is on Christmas colour. What plant says festive season better than poinsettias, with their showy, colourful bracts.
Keep them indoors in a spot that gets indirect sunlight, water when dry and prune back after flowering. You can plant them in a larger pot or put them in the garden.
What else to plant
It’s also a good time to plant roses. Roses are hardy and will thrive in a sunny spot. When planting, add some organic matter to the soil and be sure the hole is large enough for the roots to grow.
In the north of New Zealand, plant tropical looking hibiscus with their bright, colourful flowers. These are hardy plants that grow best in warm temperatures and tropical climates, although some varieties will tolerate cooler conditions. Plant in full sun and in well-drained soil. Fertilise after pruning and during the flowering season.
Day lilies are another hardy choice. So-called because the flowers, which come in a range of colours from yellow to orange, pink and red, open in the morning and close at the end of the day. But as one flower finishes, there’s usually another to replace it. Plant in a sunny position.
If you’re looking for picking flowers, alstroemeria are a great choice. Available in a range of pretty colours, alstoemerias can be used as a border plant, or combine well with other plants in the garden bed.
Put in some edibles too. Plant leek and lettuces for successive harvest, mizuna has bitter tasting leaves that are an excellent addition to salads.
Keep up with the pruning and remove spent flowers to encourage more and better blooms. Cut back hydrangeas after flowering.
Give the vegie garden some fertiliser, it will boost growth and be sure to apply liquid seaweed to the garden. It not only helps strengthen plant cell walls, but also promotes stronger root growth.
Keep an eye on watering needs of plants. As it gets hotter, it’s better to water for longer periods as this will encourage roots to grow more deeply into the soil. Adding water saving granules to the soil will help with moisture retention.
Mulch where needed, this will help protect the soil and ensure it retains moisture.
In December, there is plenty to harvest for the table. Cauliflowers and broccoli are ready, pick spinach, beetroot, carrot, spring onions and sweet tasting strawberries. Silverbeet, lettuce and cabbages should also be ready for harvesting.
December is a great month to be in the garden, so get out and enjoy it this weekend.
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