The Independent on Saturday - - GARDENING -

RE­MOVE all dead and dy­ing parts of the plants. In­fected plants can spread in­fec­tion to other plants so best re­move these plants. If the plants are in­fested with in­sects, then ei­ther re­move and dis­pose of that part of the plant or use a nat­u­ral in­sec­ti­cide to spray them. Well grown, healthy plants gen­er­ally won’t be at­tacked by pests. Only weak and ne­glected plants get at­tacked by dis­ease or in­sects.

Many bulbs and un­der­ground rhi­zomes will be emerg­ing from their win­ter dor­mancy and will re­quire en­cour­age­ment to grow to ma­tu­rity. The blood lily, Sca­doxus puniceus, has all but fin­ished for the sea­son and will now be go­ing to seed. This plant in­vites all the seed eat­ing birds to feed on the fruits who then act as car­ri­ers for this seed to other parts of your gar­den and other gar­dens. Pro­tect these bulbs and any other un­der­ground grow­ing point by mulching, com­post­ing, fer­til­is­ing and wa­ter­ing.

Plant lots of in­dige­nous grasses, the new “in” plant in land­scap­ing. They are easy to grow, look good, need very lit­tle at­ten­tion and bring lots of birds to the gar­den. Ex­am­ples are: Aris­tida jun­ci­formis (Gon­goni grass); Themeda trian­dra (Red Grass); Era­grostis curvula (weep­ing love­g­rass); Dig­i­taria eri­antha (Digit grass), and Meli­nis repens (Natal Red­top). Each of these grasses has their own char­ac­ter and if planted cor­rectly will com­ple­ment each other. You can mix and match these grasses to get the dif­fer­ent tex­tures of each of the grasses.

En­cour­age birds and but­ter­flies by plant­ing those plants that at­tract them. Grasses, milk­weeds and some of the Cit­rus fam­ily trees like Vepris lance­o­lata or the African Dog Rose, Xy­lotheca kraus­siana which is the food plant for the Red Acraea but­ter­fly are good ex­am­ples of plants that are read­ily avail­able and will pro­vide food plants and life for your gar­den.

Re­pot all in­door plants. Re­move the plants from the pot, re­move as much of the old soil from the roots and wash the roots with clean run­ning wa­ter. If there are any old, dead or dy­ing leaves re­move them be­cause they can cause fun­gal prob­lems and the death of your prized plant. Buy new pot­ting soil, add some com­post and fer­tiliser and re­plant these plants, en­sur­ing they are not planted too deep. Make sure you also put the plant in the right size pot and al­ways plant in the cen­tre of the pot. Add slow re­lease fer­tiliser, such as os­mo­cote, to the pot­ting medium which will re­lease small amounts of nu­tri­ents ev­ery time you wa­ter the plant. Take in­door plants out­side ev­ery 2 weeks and give them a good soak with wa­ter to re­ju­ve­nate them. En­sure you do not over wa­ter the plant be­cause too much wa­ter will rot the roots.

GO­ING TO SEED: The blood lily, Sca­doxus puniceus, has all but fin­ished for the sea­son.

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