Make gardening easy with hassle-free plants, quick flowering blooms and good companion herbs
We’re planting … Nesia ‘Tutti Frutti’ is an unusual nemesia with large multi-coloured flowers that look as if they have been individually hand-painted. Their out-of-the ordinary blooms make a beautiful show in the garden as compact edging or border plants, as well as in containers. Plant them in a position that receives full sun in winter and semi-shade in summer. They are problem free, easy to grow plants that are not shy to flower. Deadheading and regular watering will help to prolong flowering. Details: ballstraathof.co.za
Indoor plant of the month
Here’s a completely new look Chlorophytum (aka Spider plant). Chlorophytum ‘Princess Mabel’ has bright orange stalks that contrast with its deep green pointed leaves, on this stunning tropical foliage plant. Like the Spider plant, this new variety has air purifying qualities and adapts to either dry or humid conditions, making it an easy-to-care-for houseplant. Plants grow 30 t0 50cm high and should receive bright indirect light. Water when the top level of the soil feels dry. Details: lvgplant.co.za
Herb of the month
Chives can be sown all year round, even in winter in warm, frost free gardens or in a seed tray that’s kept on a sunny windowsill or any other warm, sunny, and sheltered place. They grow well in pots and even in hanging baskets with other herbs.
Chives form neat clumps of slim leaves, reaching a height of 50cm. They grow easily in any soil, in full sun or partial shade and should be watered regularly. In the summer veggie garden, chives are good companion plants for all vegetables because pests don’t like the onion smell of their leaves. Garlic chives are even more effective as a pest repellent.
The mild onion flavour of their leaves means they can be added to any savoury dish, especially eggs and cheese, snipped into salads and sandwiches, or used as a garnish. The leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and iron. Like parsley, adding one or two tablespoons a day to the diet takes very little effort.
To harvest chives, snip them off at ground level and they will quickly sprout again. Details: kirchhoffs.co.za
- Feed winter flowering annuals with liquid fertiliser.
- Water daffodils and other spring bulbs for 40 minutes once a week. They should not dry out.
- Water in the morning so that the plants can dry off before evening. Plants in moist soil (not soggy) withstand the cold better than when the soil is dry.
- Water winter pot plants like cyclamen, Primula acaulis, cineraria, and spring bulbs every two to three days and feed with a liquid fertiliser once a week.
- Herbs in pots should be watered once or twice a week and fed with a liquid fertiliser (at half strength) every second week.
- Don’t throw away old branches or logs. The cats will use them as a scratching post and play area, and the dogs will jump over them or chase around them – good for agility training.
Text: ALICE COETZEE