October is the month where spring seems to gather momentum and flowers in the garden and the veld burst into a celebration of colour and fragrance. Roses are especially delightful during October and the intense blues of delphiniums and irises add pops of colour to the landscape.
Whilst enjoying the spring beauty in the garden, also remember to check off your gardening to-do list for the month. There's lots of soil prepping and planting to do for summer, and you need to keep a watchful eye out for pests and critters that have awakened with the warmer temperatures.
Keep up to speed in your garden by taking care of the following tasks:
MUST dos in the garden this month
- Celebrate Garden Day on 11 October with friends, family and neighbours! Remember, it's a tools-down kind of day so whip out the party snacks, kick back in a comfy chair and enjoy your garden, plants and green space.
- Visit an Open Garden! Dig into the article below to find out which gardens are open for your viewing pleasure this season.
- Now is the time to get those dahlia tubers in the ground.
Tip | Dig into the article below to learn how to plant and grow dahlias.
- Take softwood cuttings! Read the article below to learn all you need to know about propagating plants by stem cuttings.
- If you haven't done so in autumn, now is a good time to divide perennials. Dig into the article below to learn more.
- Compost all plants well and continue to mulch as this will aid water retention as well as improve your soil condition.
- Feed and water your lawn, and mow regularly. In summer rainfall regions now is the perfect time to sow seed of cool and warm season grasses. Dig into the article below for more information on spring lawn care.
- Keep on top of the weeding! Browse the collection below for common weeds.
- As spring-flowering annuals start to fade, remove the plants and start preparing beds for the summer display.
- If you're in the winter rainfall region, now is the time to sow summer-flowering annuals.
- Feed and water all annuals and groundcovers, and remember to continue deadheading to extend the flowering period.
- Stake tall flowering plants like delphiniums as they grow.
- Continue feeding and watering winter flowering bulbs which have not yet died down.
- Increase water supply to summer bulbs planted early spring.
- Now is the time to plant gladioli to have a beautiful display come Christmas.
Tip | Feed Hippeastrums and water every few days. Remove spent flowers but leave the stem.
- Prune back guavas, feed with 2:3:2 fertiliser and mulch generously.
- Remove spent flowers promptly.
- Spray foliar feed like Kelpak, Seagrow or Nitrosol.
- Feed your roses monthly with 8:1:5 or 3:1:5 for blooming and vigour.
- Feed young vegetables with liquid manure or a suitable fertiliser.
Tip | Make successive plantings of crops with a limited cropping season like tomatoes, beans and lettuce.
- Propagate these herbs by taking softwood cuttings: Pennyroyal (Menta pulegium), tarragon (Artemisia dranunculus), hyssop (Hysspus officianalis), peppermint (Mentha piperita), marjoram (Origanum marjorana), rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus), rue (Ruta graveolens), sage (Salvia officinalis), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris).
Indoor plant care
- Clean the leaves of your indoor plants after the long winter...they might have collected some dust. Do this by either using a soft damp cloth or by spraying them clean with a gentle spray of water.
- Increase the amount of water as the temperatures continue to rise.
- Lightly water cyclamens to prevent the soil from drying out completely.
- Re-pot cymbidium orchids.
- Scout for snails and slugs and remove by hand in the evening or after watering, especially on newly planted seedlings.
- If you have fungus, crickets or caterpillar attacking your soil, treat the infected patches and critters as soon as possible to prevent further spread.
- Keep an eye out for chafer beetles that feast on the rose blooms.
- Spray apple, pear and quince trees against codling moth.
- Spray apricots, plums and peaches against fruit fly and codling moth.
- Splash bait on the leaves of pumpkins, squash and marrows to protect the fruits from the pumpkin flies.
- Spray your tomatoes against blight once a week and after heavy rain.
October's flowering favourites