Décor & Gardening

What to do in the garden during the month of December

What to do in the garden during the month of December

Not going away for the holidays? No sweat. Spend some quality time in the garden. We’ve even made you a list.

Patio Plant of the month…succulents and cacti are the ultimate, drought tolerant garden plants and they are just as indestructible as indoor houseplants. Besides being super-easy to care for they are decorative too, with contrasting shapes, colours and textures. Why not put together a collection of cacti and succulents, in individual pots, as a Christmas table arrangement? When guests leave, each could take one home as a gift. All cactus and succulents need is good light (the sunniest spot is best), and very little water. Let plants dry out before watering. What kills is over-watering (they rot) and they don’t like sitting under a mantle of dust. For more info: wwwplantimex.co.za.

We’re planting… Pentas lanceolata “Glitterati” is the perfect plant for adding some Festive bling! The heads of star-patterned flowers shimmer, especially at night. This easy-to-care-for perennial is heat and humidity tolerant, grows in full sun and just needs regular watering. The flowers attract butterflies, bees and nectar-loving birds. It grows 30 to 55cm high with an almost equal spread.

Rosy tip: if you are going away on holiday, pinch off the tips of young shoots and buds; this reduces the need for water and will delay flowering until you return.

Garden tasks for December

Help the garden to look after itself while you are taking a break:

– Keep the soil cool and moist for longer by mulching. Use pine needles, peanut shells, bark chips or macadamia nut shells.

– Move container plants out of the direct sun. Place them on saucers to catch the water so that they only need watering once a week.

– Cut the lawn and water well just before going away. Don’t cut it too short otherwise the roots dry out too quickly.

– Mulch veggie beds, and screen beds with a temporary cover of shade cloth (80%) to protect them from harsh sun.

– Water the garden deeply once a week, in the morning or late afternoon.

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