Durban — There are a few plants that need feeding this month. Use slow-releasing fertilisers which contain composted seaweed, fishmeal, humic acid and poultry manure – all natural minerals and growth stimulants to maximise and sustain summer growth. Feed and compost shrubs and climbers, which will start flowering in late winter.
Now is the time to replace tired bedding plants with seedlings of heat-loving Salvia splendens ‘Blaze of Fire’ and ‘Flare’ bright red.
Complement the bright red upright flower spikes with silvery-grey Cineraria ‘Dusty miller’ – they like it hot and dry and will give you a flower and foliage-filled transition into late autumn. Grow these in full sun to semi-shaded areas.
With February the hottest month, keep your garden mulched. Mulch can be anything from bark chips, macadamia, peanut and crushed apricot shells, to pebbles. Mulch keeps the water in the soil cool, decreasing evaporation.
Mist-spray houseplants like ferns and orchids to provide extra humidity. Keep ponds and bird baths topped up for your feathered friends. Use a soaker hose rather than a sprinkler. Less water is required because the water is concentrated on the soil nearer the roots and there is less evaporation.
Start preparing your soil in strips or ridges for the sowing of sweet peas in March and April. Don’t forget the trellis or other support framework.
How is the lawn looking? Raise the height of your mower blades to about 5cm. Longer grass helps to shade the soil and keep the roots cool. Water in the evening so your lawn can benefit without competing with evaporation, UV rays or wind. Water deeply (about 15 minutes per sprinkler setting) twice a week rather than watering for frequent shorter periods. Deep watering encourages the development of strong, healthy roots.
Check for red spiders on roses, usually found on the underside of the leaf. Your nursery attendant will be able to recommend the right product for the job. Remember to take photos of pests to assist in the correct identification and control solution.
Independent on Saturday