January: It’s time to…

pink hydrangea

Swap the work boots for thongs this month! It’s too hot for anything but lazing in the garden with a cool drink. Enjoy the sounds of summer – the thrum of cicadas, the bass bop of frogs and the thump of fireworks in the distance.

ALL AREAS

HOLD off feeding plants during hot weather. Many go dormant and fertiliser will only force them into growth, the last thing they want.

CITRUS need regular spraying of EcoOil to prevent stink bugs, citrus leaf miner and scale. Or hanging a citrus leaf minor lure trap which you can do at the same time you pop open a pantry moth trap!

VEGIES need liquid feeding every two weeks. We like Powerfeed or Harvest. Or use homemade comfrey tea on fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers.

DUNK ant-infested pot plants into seaweed solution until bubbles stop. This will refresh plant roots, improve potting mix and deal with the ants.

lavendar cuttings

TAKE a deep breath and prune the lavender even though it still looks lovely. Arrange trimmings in vases, or hang bunches upside down somewhere cool and dark to dry. Trim other Mediterranean favourites too, such as catmint, sage, thyme and rosemary.

PRUNE wisteria into shape by reducing long tendrils, making cuts above the short buds that will be next year’s flowers. January is getting last time to trim wisteria otherwise you’ll be removing bud wood.

COLD

CUTTINGS of lavender, azaleas, rosemary, camellia, gardenia and geranium can be taken now. Take pieces 10cm long, pencil-thick. Dip into root hormone gel and insert into small pots of propagation mix.

TOMATOES are forming flowers and fruit so choose a fertiliser high in potash to speed ripening.

ENJOY heavenly hydrangea.

hydrangea

TEMPERATE

GROUP pot plants in the shade when you go away. Place saucers full of water under pots, and have someone water.

INDOOR POTS can be placed on an old, wet towel in the shower or bath while you are away.

LAWNS can be aerated with a garden fork to avoid compaction and allow rain to penetrate into the root zone.

FUCHSIA cuttings can be taken.

ADD a splash of colour with agastache, a small shrub which flowers between October and April, has a tangy fragrance and comes in a variety of hot colours.

TIP prune basil to thicken up the bush. Harvest by removing a whole stem to ground level, which encourages new shoots and fresh tasty leaves.

RAISE the mower blades slightly as longer grass stays greener.

KEEP weeding, feeding, deadheading and watering.

SUBTROPICAL + TROPICAL

HELICONIA, cannas and bougainvilleas can be deadheaded to encourage further growth and flowers.

When you have 30 mins

Take soft-stemmed summer cuttings of perennials such as coleus, cane-stemmed begonia, queen of the night cactus and fuchsia. Dip cuttings into root hormone gel to improve the strike rate. Use a dibbler to make a hole before inserting the cutting into potting mix to prevent damage to the cutting tip. Keep out of the sun during summer.