Your January to-do list

Beautiful and edible ‒ no garden should be without a generous sprinkling of these delightful plants.

Beautiful and edible ‒ no garden should be without a generous sprinkling of these delightful plants.

Published Jan 23, 2024


Durban — Roses are still in the new year spotlight. Be sure to deadhead or lightly cut back the stems of the red roses in your garden this week so that they will flower again in time for Valentine’s Day.

  • Keep all roses foliated by not cutting long-stemmed blooms for the vase. Spray regularly and preventatively against black spot, mildew and red spider mites to avoid leaf drop. If you have restrictions, water your roses with grey water and always mulch well around the plant base. Roses are surprisingly versatile, tolerating a wide range of temperatures and soils. The modern rose has been bred to withstand disease and flower recurrently. Add a splash of contrast to your rose pot by planting Duranta erecta “Sapphire showers” with trusses of deep blue flowers edged with white.
The humble and hardy marigold produces an array of colours around your garden.
  • Keep mowing your lawns regularly. Letting grass get too long at this time of the year invites several problems. A thick mat of turf protected by a tall covering of green leaves is the perfect, moist and humid environment for the development of the lawn fungus called “dollar spot”; a round yellowing patch on the grass. A regular cut will open the root area to let this dry out.
  • Also watch out for lawn caterpillars. To find out if they are present, leave a wet sack or old piece of carpet on the lawn overnight. If there is an infestation the caterpillars will cling to it. Treat the whole lawn with a contact spray as soon as possible.
Cleome will beautify beds.
  • Replace tired bedding plants with heat-tolerant varieties of alyssum, cleome, dianthus, salvia and nasturtium. You can still plant seedlings of cosmos, New Guinea impatiens, marigolds, vinca and verbena.
Dianthus give sprays of colour.
  • Rain quickly leaches nutrients out of the soil, so fertilise your entire garden regularly with a balanced organic fertiliser. January is one of the hottest months with lots of rain and high humidity. Avoid watering in the evening as this will promote fungal diseases. The best time to water is very early in the morning. Remember to spray plants that are susceptible to fungal diseases regularly.
Now is the time to feed autumn plants like Michaelmas daisies.
  • Feed late summer bulbs like eucomis (pineapple lily), nerines and haemanthus, as well as autumn-flowering perennials like golden rod, Japanese anemones and Michaelmas daisies, as well as shrubs like barleria, poinsettias and plectranthus.

Independent on Saturday