A large variety of attractive, flowering succulents are available at your local nursery.
Planning for autumn planting
Fill your boot with compost, compost & more compost! Apply to each and every planting bed as nutritious mulch. Prepare soil by digging it over to the depth of a large spade, while working in copious amounts of compost and include bonemeal to promote strong root growth.
Start sowing sweet peas
It is sweet pea sowing time – prepare deep trenches for them by digging in compost from your local garden centre and generous dustings of bonemeal or superphosphate (do not use bonemeal if you have dogs). Soak the seeds overnight in tepid water before sowing directly.
Bedding plant of the month: Lobelia
There are very few flowers that can match the true blue of Lobelia, that comes in light to dark blue, as well as white and dark pink. These grow anywhere in full sun or semi shade and like loose, gritty soil. When nothing else seems to grow, punnets of seedlings can still be planted out, provided the area does not receive heavy frost. There are also trailing Lobelias, which have a more cascading habit and suitable for hanging baskets, window boxes and for softening edges of raised beds.
Rose care for March
Roses are simply spectacular in autumn! To ensure quality blooms into the winter, continue with regular preventative treatments/spraying for black spot, beetles and bollworm. As the days get shorter, the roses start to go dormant and withdraw food from their leaves. To compensate for this and to provide enough food for new growth and flowers, fertilise with rose food – your local garden centre will advise you on the best option. Regular watering is very important if there is insufficient rainfall.
Spice up your food garden with these deliciously different veggie varieties. Heirloom varieties are kept true to type, handed down from generation to generation and produce very healthy plants. Some of the exciting varieties on the market these days include strange-looking and fiery chillies, different coloured cauliflower, carrots and broccoli, striped beetroot, and different varieties of tomatoes and brinjals.
In the herb garden
Start harvesting and preserving herbs for winter, harvesting small quantities at a time. Chop mint, parsley, basil and lemon balm, place in an ice tray, fill with water and freeze. Aromatic herbs, like oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage, bay and rosemary, are better air dried. Continue to feed herbs monthly with fertiliser and water regularly.
For patio and balcony gardens, visit your local garden centre for ready to pick potted up miniature veggies for cooking.
Neaten evergreen shrubs and hedges without cutting back too harshly. Take care not to prune winter or early-spring flowering plants – as you’ll miss out on their annual display. March is a good time to prune overgrown conifers and to experiment with conifer topiary. Remember to spray them preventatively against infestations of Italian Cypress aphids.
(Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal)
Your local nursery will have some beauties to plant now. Look out for these:
- Gardenia augusta hybrids (Cape jasmine) are possibly the best known scented shrubs in local gardens. These neat evergreen shrubs are seldom without buds or blooms from spring through to autumn. Grow in rich, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade.
- Plumeriarubra (frangipani) grows well in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the country. They withstand drought and bloom profusely from late spring through summer and into autumn. There are a wide range of different coloured flowers that are beautifully fragrant. They are easy to grow and require little attention, flourish in almost all soil types, from sand to clay, and they cope with a wide range of pH levels – both acid and alkaline. They grow best in full sun.
- Capsicum annuum ‘Black Pearl’ (ornamental chilli) is a compact, bushy ornamental chilli that will reach a mature height of 40 to 50cm. The young leaves are greenish in colour but turn glossy black as they mature. The small white flowers are followed by very hot fruit that are shiny black at first and then turn bright red. These plants will grow indoors and outdoors in a sunny spot in well-drained, moist soil.
- Take stock of any evergreen trees that may have grown strongly and will now be shading your garden and trim or thin out.
- Cut back all summer flowering perennials that are looking tired. Pay attention to salvias, daisies, lavender and fuchsias.
- It is a good month to do a thorough feeding. Plants and lawns will respond well to fertilising now with some 2.3.2. Not only will they give you another flush of growth, it will help to strengthen them for the winter to come. Fertilise all your container plants, hanging baskets and seedlings with a liquid plant food.
- Move shrubs or trees in the wrong place on a cool day. First prepare the new planting hole with compost, general fertiliser like superphosphate or 2:3:2 and bonemeal. Do not attempt the replanting of large trees yourself, it should rather be done by professionals
- Go to autumn plant sales, there are great bargains to buy and most plants will be lush and big after a whole summer season’s growth.
- Get your spring bulbs while the selection is good. Do not plant them yet, the soil needs to cool down. Keep the bulbs in a cool, dry and dark place till April and if it’s very hot, May before planting.
- Sow more flowering plants directly into well prepared soil for masses of colour in the winter garden