Maximise your garden with multi-purpose plants and take care of unwanted pests.
Mexican Mint Marigold (Tagetes lucida) is a new arrival on the herb scene. Its other name is Mexican tarragon. The strongly flavoured leaves are sweeter than French tarragon and have a liquorice/anise fragrance. This hardy perennial herb is also more heat and drought tolerant than traditional tarragon.
It is compact and bushy, 30 t0 60cm high and thrives in full sun in ordinary garden soil. Grow from seed and water young plants regularly until they are established. Thereafter water deeply once a week in summer to ensure plenty of lush, edible leaves. Harvest the individual leaves or sprigs. It flowers from summer through to the beginning of winter. The plant forms a clump that can be divided after two to three years.
Chop and add the fresh leaves to sauces, salads, soups and chicken dishes. Make a tarragon pesto for spicy Mexican dishes and pasta. The leaves can be dried but don’t have quite the same intense flavour. Add the flowers to salads or use as a garnish. Seeds are available from Kirchhoffs. Details: kirchhoffs.co.za
We’re planting… Petunia ‘Cherry Sky’ for its festive, cherry-red blooms, flecked with white, and because it’s a hardy petunia that thrives in the heat. This semi-trailing novelty petunia is the newest member of the Instagrammable SKY family and produces mounds of colourful blooms for containers, hanging baskets and in the garden. Mix it with the original indigo-blue Night Sky petunias for a real colour splash. Plant in full sun, or in a position that receives morning sun and afternoon shade, especially for container plants. Don’t overwater and feed once a month with liquid plant feed or fertilizer to keep up the flower power. Details: ballstratthof.co.za
The Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) is a much loved indoor plant, lush and leafy green, compact and undemanding. It’s always been stellar performer with the additional quality of being an effective air purifier. But did you know that there are more than one variety of peace lily, in particular the big-leaved Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’, that grows up to 2m high and with deeply ribbed leaves can be almost 1m long. Because of their large leaf mass, such plants are particularly effective as air purifiers. Like all other Spathiphyllum, ‘Sensation’ grows in moderate to bright indirect light and needs lightly moist soil. Details: lvgplant.co.za
Garden tasks for November
- There is still time to sow a second crop of quick growing annuals like alyssum, dwarf marigolds, nasturtiums, portulaca, and California poppy.
- Perennials such as yarrow, hollyhocks, blue marguerite, Michaelmas daisy, Oriental poppy, Penstemon, and scabious can be sown from seed too.
- Feed hydrangeas once a month and water more often if it gets very hot. Renew mulch around shrubs, roses, and any area where the soil is exposed.
- November is the peak time for pests. Use an organic insecticide like Ludwig’s Insect Spray as soon as you notice insect infestation. Spray once a week until the pests are gone.
- Succession sowing of most vegetables can be continued up until the end of this month.
- To prevent fungus diseases in the lawn, do not water during the hottest time of the day. Rather water early in the morning or late afternoon.
Text: ALICE COETZEE