Bold plants

We’re making a statement this March with shades of blue, purple veg and pretty polka dots.

Indoor plant of the month

Begonia ‘Polka Dot ‘ has to be one of the cutest indoor plants around. Perfect for the bedroom, a home office that needs cheering up, even the patio. This begonia likes bright, indirect light or filtered sun. It even survives in lower light, but its leaves will burn if exposed to direct sunlight.

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Water once a week but be careful of over-watering. If the soil is still moist when you check it, wait another day or two and check again. Feed with a liquid fertiliser once a month in summer. As a bonus, alongside its colourful leaves, Polka dot produces sprays  of white flowers in Summer. Details:

We’re planting … Lobelia Curaçao  Blue Bay … which is like a breath of seaside air! Its blue-white flowers are larger than conventional lobelia flowers, and they ripple like frothy waves over the sturdy, compact plant. Curacao is a strong growing lobelia, with a mounding habit that quickly fills out, up to 25cm, good for containers, or in the garden as a border and with other yellow or white flowers. Think alyssum, diascia, nemesia, pansies, and violas. It also works well as an underplanting for roses in pots. Blue Bay prefers sun in Winter and semi-shade in Summer, and it flowers through to Winter. Don’t over-water as this encourages root rot. Details:

Veggie of the month – Purple Sprouting broccoli

If you are going to plant broccoli, why not make it a statement! That’s what you can do with Purple Sprouting broccoli, a heirloom variety from RAW seed. It is a beauty, with its deep purple head and blue-grey leaves. Being purple, it contains the antioxidant Anthocyanin, which plays a key role in protecting our health. Once the head is harvested, it continues to produce lots of tender side shoots. Purple Sprouting broccoli has a sweet, earthy flavour and it turns green when cooked.

Tips: March is the best time to sow, directly into the soil or into seed trays. • Grow broccoli in full sun in Winter, in well composted soil. • The final spacing of plants should be 30m apart. • Keep the soil moist and fertilise with a nitrogen rich liquid feed once a month. • The heads should be ready to harvest within 120 to 150 days from germination.

Garden tasks for March

Nurture your flowers by watering once a week and feed with a granular or liquid fertiliser once during the month. • Rake up all the fallen leaves and use them as mulch or add them, together with Summer annuals that are over, to the compost heap. • Add Autumn colour to the garden with purple flowers and shrubs like Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’, indigenous Ribbon bush (Hypoestes) Salvia purple and bloom, and Petunia Shock Wave purple tie die. • Fertilise shrubs with 5:1:5 or 8:1:5 to strengthen them for winter. Water camellias and azaleas regularly to encourage the development of spring buds. • Wait until night temperatures drop to 10 or 12˚C. before planting pansies, violas, Iceland poppies, snapdragons, calendula and primulas. • Start planning and preparing beds for spring bulbs. Buy bulbs early before they are sold out but only plant towards the end of March and in early April. • Keep your lawn green during winter by fertilising now with Ludwig’s Vigorosa and water regularly.

Compiled by: KYM ARGO and ALICE Coetzee.


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