Read our plants FAQ’s to expand your knowledge on how these green guys work

Wondering which plants are best to grow in winter or what other plants grow well with Aloes? Hopefully some of our FAQ’s may answer all your plant related questions.

Contact us if your question doesn’t appear here and you would like to know more.

plants advice life is a garden

How deep do I plant my seeds?

2 ½ times the size of the seed, alternatively, read the back of the packet.

Can I plant roses in winter?

Yes, the roots are dormant, they aren't disturbed as when the sap is rising, and they settle in before spring.

Why do some of the leaves turn yellow?

That is chlorosis, caused by a difficiency in the soil. Treat with phosphates, magnesium sulphate, iron.

How difficult Bellis Perennis is to grow from seed?

These seeds are not at all difficult to grow. They require full sun to semi-shade, best sowing time is Spring to Summer; germination is approximately 15days after sowing, flowering will be approximately 20 weeks. (Kindly note these are approximate time)

When should we plant mielies?

Spring is a great time to plant mielies.

How do I apply Lawn Dressing? How much?

Lawn Dressing should be applied at the beginning of the growing season and (in South Africa) is typically applied during August & September. Kick start your dormant winter lawn by scarifying and spike rolling to improve aeration. Apply a topping of Earth2Earth weed free River Sand to level uneven areas. Follow up with an application of nitrogen rich fertilizer i.e. LAN, then cover with an even layer of Earth2Earth Lawn Dressing. Spread the Lawn Dressing evenly using the back of a steel rake, allowing the tops of your grass to show. 1 x 30dm bag covers 2 -2.5m2 Water thoroughly with a fine garden sprayer, after 2 weeks you can mow the lawn, stand back and admire a lush green carpet.

Do Aloe barberiae grow into huge big trees?

Aloe barberiae grow to approximately 12m tall and have an approximately spread of 4m.

Which herbs are suitable for Durban's warm weather?

All the herbs that we grow in Gauteng can be grown in Durban with maybe the exception of the “Sage” (this would be due to the high humidity and lots of rain)

I received a mandevilla creeper in late Autumn but decided to wait until September to put it into the ground. Unfortunately, it was a victim of frost recently. I have continued to water it even though all the leaves have dried up. Do you know if it is worth the effort? Will it grow back or should I put it in the compost heap?

The Mandevilla creeper is best suited to the frost free climate – however if protection is provided (covering of the plant) in the colder areas should be encouraged; however as the plants mature, they do become a lot hardier to the cold! I would suggest it is still not to late to provide protection for the Mandeville as July is very cold and August has those biting winds. Please do NOT be tempted to cut back the plant at this stage, rather wait until mid-September to do so. Then all the cuttings from the plant can be added to your compost heap.

My garden is green no other colour in there; I have big trees and very dense shade; How do I go about to bring colour into this shady environment?

In a shady environment you could suggest (Annuals – new guinea impatiens, begonia’s, foxgloves, mimulus, or lobelia) and (Perennials – plectranthus, clivia’s, azaleas, viola’s or lamium ) I would introduce shade loving seedlings for your summer garden, examples would be: begnoia’s, impatiens or for something more permanent plants like plectranthus, fuchsia’s and azalea’s. However, do remember that feeding is most important in a shaded area, and if possible try and cut back some of the branches on the taller growing shrubs and trees.

What will you suggest for clivias, what kind of ground, is compos alone needed?

Clivias like a neutral soil so I would suggest to use only compost however I would suggest a regular feeding of 3.1.5. A further point to remember, when you water rather water deeply less often that a light sprinkling. Clivia’s like shaded conditions and well composted soil to grow in. It would be great to plant them with a bit of superphosphate or bone meal and give them a granular feeding of 515 or 315 in August just prior to their flowering season.

I have planted Gerbera Daisy seed in pots and in the soil but they don't seem to be coming up? Is it just still too cold or what – as everything else has come up, so I am finding this really weird. Will they still come up?

Just make certain that you do not allow the seeds to dry out, and also I hope you have positioned them in a semi-shade position and not full sun – other than that I can think of no reason why they do not germinate. (I have tried to grow these seeds myself and very much to my surprise did not have a great success rate? No too sure)

Please let me know what is the best veggies to plant in April in Gauteng South Africa

The best veggies to plant now are Rhubarb, Lettuce, Chives, Spring Onions and Onions, Oriental Veggies, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Spinach and Swiss Chard ... just to mention a few!

I want to grow vegetables in a few containers as my garden is too small, but so far had very little success, even with carrots and beetroot. Onion seeds never seem to germinate. What am I doing wrong?

Carrots are best grown in the ground unless they are in a large deep container/pot. The position definitely sounds great as veggies need at least 5 hours of sun a day. As for the soil, if you are planting in pots, make sure you have a good mix of compost and potting soil (50/50). Ensure that the pots are of an adequate size and allow for good drainage. Feeding is of the utmost importance, you can pick some up from your local accredited garden centre.

I planted some peppadew seeds given to me by a friend. Two plants survived and now have a few fruit that looks exactly like minature green peppers - not at all like the red peppadews you buy in a bottle. Must I wait until it turns red and can you eat them raw?

There are many variations on the so called pepper dew – however they all need to turn red before picking. They can be eaten raw or pickled

I have Sage "Midnight" in a largish container, but it does not look happy to me. I do feed it but it makes no difference. I wonder if it would be better in the ground. It is in full sunshine.

Sage will grow quite happily in both a pots and in the ground. Good to hear it is in full sun - as this is what it enjoys. Sage is very sensitive to over water (I suspect this is what it can be) allow the plant to dry out completely before the next watering! (And in between watering’s)

Struggling to get Verbena b. (big tall one in the pic) going this year, made another sowing today and put it in a zip lock bag, hopefully this time...

Verbena seed like to germinate in dry conditions with limited light exposure. We water the trays after we have sown the seeds and 5 days later give them there next watering. Verbena seeds generally prefer a dryer condition when I plant them I would mist them every third day (with a spray bottle) as opposed to most other seeds, which I would mist daily!

Canterbury Bells, I have lost the seed pkt, how tall do they grow, I have some ready for transplanting.

Canterbury Bells grow to between 50cm and 60cm.

What plant would be best to make a bonsai tree?

These are just some shrubs are great for bonsai:

Acers (maples)
Cape May
Pines – Cedrus, Cypress, Juniprus

Are there small citrus trees available these days? I'd love to have one or two but I have a tiny townhouse courtyard. I'd love to have a naartjie or mini lemon tree. The ones I remember from my parents' garden were huge.

You certainly can get small lemons and also naartjie trees and they grow most successfully in pots.

Generally all the fruit trees are large. There is the Calamondin Fruit tree which is ornamental and not edible. This tree stays short and is very good for pots.

My lemon tree has seen better days, surrounded by paving it is not doing so well although I guess it is at least 25 years old!

I think 25 years is sufficient for a lemon tree – you might consider replacing it?

I wasn't successful with strawberries a few years ago... will have to try again. Any advice?

Firstly, strawberries are gross feeder and require regular feeding, also be careful not to allow the leaves to just lay on the ground, I always like to put a layer of either mulch or some type of support to raise them off the ground. Do ensure they get a position that gets a lot of sun. Remembering that strawberries last for three years and then it is advisable to take cuttings from the Parent plant to replant.

I have a very small garden and would like to plant a tree that is low maintenance and does not grow larger than 2m. It also needs to be planted next to a wall so it cannot be destructive with its roots.

There are very few small trees that only grow to about 2m (most grow to about 4m)– maybe you should rather consider getting a tall standard shrub. Small growing trees would be: Calpurnia, Acers and Noltea.

I am wanting to plant out the poinsettia I bought for indoors over the Christmas season. It is a healthy strong plant! Can I plant it is a sunny spot in my garden?

Transfer the poinsettia to a shady spot in the garden with sufficient light. It can then be transferred again to a semi – shade once it has been established.

My Avocado (from a pip) is about chest high but some leaves show some burn marks. It is near our compost heap - also it seems to have some water run off around it so may be a bit wet. Can I move it? And what advice do you have? Does it have a very long tap root?

The brown leaves on the plant can be various things. It would be best to visit your nearest garden centre with samples of the leaves. Avocados have a shallow aggressive root system. If you would like to move it, move it on a cooler day or preferably during winter.

How do I know when cucumbers are ready to pick? Also looking for the name for the English cucumber seeds?

The botanical name for them is Cucumis sativus , variety English . On the back of the seed packet ail be instructions and guidelines as to how many days from germination before they are ready. They should be dark green colour, firm to touch when squeezed gently.

Can you plant natal lavender tree in Cape Town?

Yes you can definitely, it is a beautiful indigenous tree.

I live in Kakamas, Northern Cape (near Upington so very hot and dry) and am looking for a potted creeper to cover a wire arch in front of my home. I saw the Jasminum polyanthum and fell in love with it but fear that it wouldn't survive our climate. Any suggestions? Unfortunately it has to be potted.

You can definitely plant the jasmine. It is a fast growing climber and with regular feeding and proper watering it will flourish. Just ensure that the drainage in the pot is properly.

We live on a farm. Summers very hot but winter months there is always frost. What plants/flowers can I plant that will survive all year round? Or that will grow again in summer? Like Cannas? Also what flowers (also that can survive frost) can I plant between my roses?

Plants like Erigeron, Dietes, Chives, Ceratium (snow in summer), Lavender, Brachycome (swan river daisy) and Felicia.

I seem to have a plague going through my gardern. It started with one Papaya tree where the leaves started curling. Curly leaves all over, even flowers. All my strawberries, potatoes, and several sessions of tomatoes died! I cleaned out everything, burnt everything, planted new tomatoes. When they were 1,5 meters tall, they suddenly got brown spots and died. Same with potatoes. My strawberries leaves turn purplyish, brown leaves, dark to black fruit & die! I sterilised many things including growing medium with chlorine, checked Ph, but it keeps coming. It is now winter and our main veggie time. (cooler weather) Hoedspruit. I am 99% sure it is late blight or rust. I sprayed with many things, but once it starts nothing stops it. I have photos, Can I buy seeds of resisant varieties? In between all this destruction, my lettuce grow like crazy, no problem! I plant green peppers, lettuce, tomatoes,. beetroot, strawberries and brinjals for ourselves.

It could be that your soil is ‘clay’. Clay is a very heavy soil and does not drain sufficiently and can bring about a lot of various problems; in addition it could be a water problem (maybe too much water). If your soil does not drain properly it is always a good idea to dig in some river sand which will certainly help! If it is a fungus I would then suggest you bought a product call ‘BRAVO’ which is excellent for all types fungus. A further point is to always check the date on the packs of seed that you purchase to ensure they are not past their sell by.

I am looking to get some Peony shrubs but I don't know if they even grow in SA. Do they grow here and where would I get them? Are they known by a different name here?

Yes Peonies do grow here. If they are not available at your local nursery, you can try Hadeco Bulbs at, or Plant Farm in Pretoria at

I would really like to grow some of this white sage for personal use. Is it possible in Johannesburg and where could I obtain the seeds/plants?

It should grow in Johannesburg. Try Bridget Kitley Herbs in Stellenbosch. Her e-mail address is

Can you please let me know when will be the right time of the year to plant dahlia bulbs?

Dahlias can be planted from the beginning of September through to November.

Please take me through the process of planting grass,sugar beans, potatoes,pumpkin, fruit and vegetables.Tell me what kind of the fertilisers I need to use and the chemicals used to destroy the insects and the unwanted plants or weeds.

To plant grass (lawn) you need to clear the area of any weeds, dig over the soil, break up the sods and rake it flat. When planting, add Bonemeal or Super Phosphate to soil and dig in lightly. For vegetables dig over the soil and add well decomposed compost and a fertiliser, like Wonder Planting and Vegetables:2:3:4. Water well once seedlings/seed are planted. If seedlings are eaten use Cutworm Bait. When planting fruit trees add compost to the soil when you have made your planting hole, also add Bonemeal/Super Phosphate. Once the trees are growing fertilise with a 3:1:5 fertiliser. Using a herbicide would depend on what kind of plants or weeds you want to destroy. Go to your local nursery or garden centre and ask them.

We have recently move from KZN to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape. I have done nothing in our garden as yet because I dont know much about fynbos. We face a green belt. However, my question regards our neighbour's tree. I think it is called a Brazilian/Australian pepper tree? Is it an invader and in what category?

The Pepper tree Schinus terebinthifolius is a declared invader in category 3 and although new trees may not be planted, existing ones may remain.

I am wanting to grow dwarf fruit trees. What are their names, where can I find them and what should I be looking for?

You can keep fruit trees small and compact by pruning them. Planting the fruit trees in containers will also inhibit the growth. Fruit trees you can try are citrus like Lemon, Orange and Naartjie. You can also try Santa Rosa Plum and Fantasia Nectarine.

Do sunflowers bloom in February / March? And if not, when is their season? Thank you!

Yes sunflowers do flower in February/March.

My 1yr old potted roses sprang into life in September after their pruning in late July. They are floribundas. The central bloom turns brown and dies before opening, and then the other buds follow suit. They don't seem waterlogged. What should I do?

The buds have a fungal disease. Cut off the buds and spray with a fungicide like Bravo. This can happen if the weather is damp and rainy. You may need to spray regularly for a while to get rid of the fungus. Do check that the soil does drain well in the container.

I want to know when to plant these so that they all bloom together: hollyhocks, foxgloves, delphiniums, lupins and Canterbury bells.

If they are all sown in late summer or early autumn you should be able to have them bloom late spring or early summer.

What plants can you recommend I plant in my garden, which would be a great source of pollen and nectar for bees? Any suggestions that I could go and get at my local nursery?

You can plant Aloes, Callistemon, Hebe, Pyracantha, Tecoma, Escallonia, Viburnums, Murraya, Leptospermum, Perennial Basil, Rosemary and Thyme

Can I plant a lemon tree and Fever trees on the West Coast? Will they do good?

Plant the Lemon and Fever trees out of the wind in well drained, compost enriched soil. They need to be watered well and regularly. Fertilise with an organic fertiliser like Atlantic All Purpose which is an organic fertiliser.

I have a new water feature, but now am in dire need of tips on suitable water plants and other helpful tips. It's 3,6m long, 60cm wide and 70cm deep. It's on the south western side of the house against a quite high perimeter wall. Please help!

You can use the Cyperus family and water lilies. As it is quite deep you will have put the plants in pots and raise the pots until it is a few centimetres from the top of the water. The plants will not grow in such deep water.

Which type of trees with non invasive roots can I plant on my boundary wall, with roots that will not interfere with the drainage system or the wall. I would like to use it for screening and privacy.

Try the evergreen Viburnum odoratissimum which is a large shrub/small tree.

We just bought a house in Orange Grove , Jhb. Small garden back and front. Would like to plant some trees. Which trees will you recommend?

You could plant these small trees: Olea Africana, Ceratonia siliqua, Betula pendula, Rhus(Searsia) lancea, Heteropyxis natalensis.

What will grow underneath a pepper tree? I have four tiny duranta shrubs where can i plant them?

Try planting ground cover like Hedera (Ivy), Vinca, Wedelia, or Tradescantia. Duranta like to grow in the sun in well drained soil. Water regularly.

Will u please advise me of quick growing trees to plant in my home garden for future shade as my place is new and without any trees. My area is 40m x 30m with 62% of area covered by buildings including carport and paving there too.

You could try Olea Africa, Betula pendula, Rhus(Searsia) lancea OR Heteropyxis natalensis.

I just love pansies. So sad because I planted some from seed and they never grew. Not sure what happened.

Sow the Pansy seed in autumn when the worst heat is over, put the seed tray in a warm spot and keep the soil damp until the seedlings appear. Check that the seed is fresh when sowing.

What are the best flowering plants to buy as seedlings, for a person living in Cape Town that are easy to grow & do not require much watering?

All seedlings will need water to grow. Here are some of the more hardy ones. Marigolds, Zinnias, Portulaca, Verbena, Petunias.

Which flowers are in bloom mid May?

If the seedlings are planted now you should have flowers of Petunias, Marigolds, Portulaca, Lobelia, Phlox, Salvia, Angelonia, Vinca, Nasturtiums, Verbena, Chrysanthemums, Begonias, Impatiens

What to plant instead of lawn on some adequate spaces, for beauty, as I like little growing plants (say 20cm), but not too many flowering plants?

Try Helichrysum petiolare, Lampranthus(Vygie), Gazania rigens, Stachys lanata, Agapanthus, Day Lilies, Ivy Geraniums, Phlox subulata ‘McDaniels cushion’, Portulaca AFRA ‘Prostrata’, Tulbaghia, Evolvulus ‘Blue my Mind’ and Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’.

I live in Pietermaritzburg and would like information on growing dwarf citrus, pawpaw and other trees on my balcony. I'm on the 2nd floor.

You can grow citrus and other trees on the balcony. The trees must get a good half-a-day sun. They must be planted in large containers in well drained compost enriched potting soil. They need to be fertilised regularly and watered well.

My lawn is dead and I want to replace t with something else. Space is probably about 6m x 4m. Any suggestions welcome

You could replace it with ground cover. You could use Wonderlawn. If it isn’t a high traffic area you could use ground cover like Pennyroyal, Gazania rigens,Sagina, Dynondia.

Will Angelonia Serena grow on the KZN South Coast?
You would be able to grow Angelonia Serena as long as it isn’t in the direct salt wind.
I need advice regarding water save plants in summer months in dry Western Cape.

Try planting Abelia grandiflora, Carissa macrocarpa, Phormiums (Flax), Westringia, Agapanthus, Tulbaghia, Trachelospermum, Hebe varieties, and Helichrysum petiolare. Do water the plants until they are established.

I am looking for a fast growing evergreen tree to plant in a corner (N-E facing) of a small garden. Would like it to attract birds. Would a pompom tree be suitable and not too expensive? It will be replacing a dying cypress.

Yes a Pom Pom tree would be suitable. The price would depend on the size of the tree. You try the evergreen Syzygium paniculatum. It has an edible berry that birds love.

I have a flower bed that gets sun for a few hours a day in summer. I have planted herbs there, which were quite successful, but quite lanky: I suspect due to too little sun. In winter it will get no sun and I'll therefor remove the annual herbs. What can I plant in their place? Next summer I want to plant herbs again. As we're renting I don't want to spend too much money.

Mint, Parsley, Chives and Coriander will grow in the shade.

We have moved into a new house where had to put up a perimeter fence. weI would like to plant a hedge on the road side part of the perimeter fence but need your advice on why type of hedge to plant. A limitation is we have 20cm of ground in front of the fence for planting as there is a loffelstein retaining wall below the fence.. In addition the soil is red, which does not appear to be ideal top soil quality. We would like a low maintenance hedge will grow and establish quickly. Please advise?

Try the indigenous Tecoma. It is evergreen, water wise, grows fast and is not fussy about the type of soil it grows in.

Hi, I'd like winter and summer succulents planted together once a season's flowers should go down the other flowering begins... and want to know there are constantly flowers. Please I need advice about it.

You could plant Mesembryanthemum (Bokbaai Vygies) for winter/spring and Portulaca for summer/autumn

I'm looking to add some "life" in my aunt's dull house for her birthday, I’d like some tips on what I could get and how to maintain. Thank you very much.

If you have bright indoor light you could try Kalanchoe, Maranta, types of Cacti and succulents, African Violets, Bamboo Palm. If it is a low light area try Spathiphyllum, Philodendron scandens, Yucca, Monstera, Calathea.

I would like to know what trees give nice shade (might want to be deciduous) and will thrive in Virginia in the Free State, and a Pen Root System. 2) We are struggling terribly to make vegetables grow here, the sun burns almost all dead. Green beans the season beautifully grown, but when feeding the finches all the flowers on. If we have a framework with a veil on, the vegetable garden devise, what degree (or colour) should be the shade cloth?

There are very few trees that have a Tap root system. These trees are indigenous and have a smaller root system. Try Dombeya rotundifolia (deciduous) or Heteropyxis natalensis(deciduous) or Buddleja saligna. It is difficult to grow vegetables in the hot sun and the birds can be a problem. Try covering your framework with shade cloth that is 40 percent.

Which vegetables will do well in my area (Centurion) when planted?

Vegetables planted now that will do well are Beetroot, Carrots, Spinach, Cabbage, celery, lettuce, radish, onions, leeks, turnips.

I live in Pretoria… Lots of sun; shade is damp and I so want to grow impatients in the garden. Guess pots are the answer and look for suitable half shade/sun area?

Grow SunPatiens in pots. These can take half sun and shade.

Hi. I want to plant a olive tree in our garden that produces fruit in Johannesburg. I have only seen Wild olive trees which do not produce fruit. Is it possible?

Yes it is possible. The nurseries should stock ‘eating’ olive trees

When planting Hybrid Tea roses in May, what water schedule would be required? Thank you for this excellent service.

Once planted they need a good water to get settled. Water well weekly for 4 weeks, then you can water less.

When can i replant my Cymbidium orchids?

The orchids are repotted every 2-3 years or when the bulbs fill the pot. Do this after it has flowered.

We are looking to buy a house next to a block of flats. What can I plant that will grow Very very tall very fast!! (Orchards, Gauteng)

Deciduous trees are much faster than evergreen trees. Some deciduous trees you can plant Celtis Africana, Fraxinus. Searsia viminalis is a fast growing evergreen tree.

Does the routes of the Privot tree grow down or out? Beryl

The roots of a Privet grow outwards. They are heavy feeders and drinkers.

I have a lemon tree in pot and there is no sign of any diseases or pests, but The leaves of the lemon tree are curling. Could this be due to overwatering?

Overwatering will not cause the leaves to curl - the leaves will start going yellow and will fall off if overwatered. There is a tiny insect unseen by the eye that can cause curling leaves. Spray with Metasystox.

Good afternoon. I hope you can offer some advice.  We are moving abroad in a few months time and my children want to take cuttings of the plants in our garden which were planted in memory of pets we have lost. We have a Callistemon and a Polygala Myrtifolia.  If you could advise of the most foolproof way of getting a cutting and ensuring its growth I would be very grateful.

Cut a healthy branch from the plant. When making the cutting, cut underneath the bottom leaf node and strip the bottom leaves, at the top cut any flowers off above a leaf node and cut the leaves shorter, dip the bottom into a rooting hormone powder(available at Nurseries and Garden Centres) and put the cutting into a well drained soil mix, water and put the cuttings into a warm place. Keep damp, do not overwater.  For the Callistemon take a 5-6cm cutting and use a rooting hormone powder for hardwood cuttings. For the Polygala take tip cuttings 4-5cm long and use a rooting hormone powder for medium wood.

Hi. Would love to know if Chilian Guavas are available in South Africa.

Chilean Guavas (Ugni molinae) do not seem to available in South Africa.

Is it still early to plant Iceland poppies seed?

No it is not too early, get the seed in now.

Can cherry tomatoes seedlings be planted in may in JHB?

It is better to wait until spring to plant the tomato seedlings.

I have a bedding of icebergs on a sandy soil. every time they flower; the flowers don't look exuberant. I tried compost; pruning and even watering; but the results remain immutable. plz help

Roses grown in sandy soil need a lot of water and they need to be fed (fertilised) well. In the hot summer weather you need to water every 3-4 days. It is good using compost, try putting a layer around the roses to help conserve moisture.

Can we plant the porcupine aloe in the cold Free state?

Yes you should be able to. It can take cold up to -4

Please advise how to plant protea red ice (compacta x susannae), for Klein Brak Mossel Bay area.

Plant the protea in a sunny position and where air is able to circulate around it. It thrives in sandy, acidic, well drained soil. Once planted water deeply every week until established.

Please could you advise me. I was given some daffodils in a pot . They've been flowering , and I was wondering if I could plant them in the garden when they are finished flowering . If so what do they like . ( sun or shade ) we live in Gauteng

Yes you can plant them in the garden where they get morning sun.

We have numerous conifers which are about 9+ meters high now. Some look tatty because they have dried out / lost their leaves at the top. If we were to lop them all off to a shorter height to make sort of a tall hedge, would they survive pruning off of the top branches?

Yes they should survive. You should get new growth in spring.

Lys van plante vir wilde voëltjies asseblief. Deel v tuin is 'n klein woud met heelwat bome. Daar is reeds uil, visarend, loerie, houtkapper en heelwat kleine voëltjies opgemerk. In Irene area. Baie dankie! 

Plant inheemse plante soos Aalwyne, Tecoma capensis, Leonotis, Carissa, Euryops Daisy, Hypoestes aristata.

Black tips on the end of the leaves of my potted bay tree. Leaves are losing their lustre. Western Cape

The Bay tree needs to be planted in well drained, compost enriched soil in the sun. It needs to be watered well. Do not overwater.

I live in the Kloof mist belt - what do I plant during the month of June?

The only vegetables you can plant are peas and potatoes.

The entrance to my home is cover by a high corrugated roof. Need to plant some plants that will make my entrance to my home beautiful. It does not get direct sunlight. Any suggestions. And how should I arrange the plants from back to front. Seriously need help, the entrance looks untidy and lifeless.

Try from back to front (Ficus varieties, Camelia varieties, Nandina domestica), (Beaucarnea, Rhododendrons, Phoenix roebelenii), (Ophiopogon japonicas, Asparagus varieties, Vincas)

What type of roses (both climbing and bush type) can be planted in Zululand?

You can plant Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Shrub roses, miniature roses, ground covers and climbers.

We have recently purchased a property in the seaside hamlet of Pearly Beach, 20 km east of Gansbaai and I would like to start a small waterwise garden as we do travel regularly.  Can you assist me with a fynbos planting guide to a colourful garden that is also bird friendly.

Fynbos likes to grow in well drained soil. Plants need to be watered well until established, thereafter they are water wise. Plants you can use are Proteas, Leucospermums, Leucadendrons, Ericas, Coleonema, Agathosmas, Elegia tectorum, Euryops pectinatus, Tecoma capensis, Eriocephalus africanus, Leonotus leonurus.

Peace Lily On covered patio. Why do leaves get brown edged leaves?

Over watering causes brown edged leaves. Let the soil dry out before watering.

I want to plant the tree fern Australis. any tips please on position, soil preparation, shade or sun, watering, fertilising etc. (I live in Kommetjie)

Cyathea australis prefers to grow in a shady spot in well drained, compost enriched soil. It needs regular water. Fertilise with an organic fertiliser like All Purpose Organic Fertiliser.

When do I plant Marigolds please, is it after winter or can I put them in the ground now (June)?

Yes you plant them after winter when all signs of frost is over.

What plants can I use against the south-facing wall of my house, in an area that gets little direct sun (due to trees and carport being next to it) and also can be rather wet, with two downpipes from gutters draining into the area?

Try various ferns, Rhododendrons, Fatsia japonica, Nandina domestica, Acanthus mollis, Asparagus varieties, Bergenia, Plectranthus.

I am just learning how to garden, I live in morningside durban and need some assistance as to what perennial plants can be planted at this time of the year.  Our soil is very sandy red soil.

Add lots of well decomposed compost to your soil. Some of the perennials you can plant are Osteospermums, Gazanias, Argyranthemums, Euryops, Calibrachoa, Nemesias, Felicias, Diascia, Arctotis. Visit your local Nursery or Garden Centre for what they have available now.

Why do some standard roses grow leaves onto their stems?

Sometimes the standard roses do have new growth coming out on the stems. Remove the growth as soon as you see it.

What plants do I plant to attract, keep and let butterflies breed in my garden?

Some indigenous plants you can plant are Plumbago auriculata. Barleria obtusa, Plectranthus species, Asystasia gangetica.

What causes top half of leaves to turn brown and what makes marks (Colour lightens and these marks are soft) on my pansy petals?

Pansies need to be planted in well drained soil. Bad drainage and over watering could cause the leaves to turn brown. They prefer to be grown in the sun. If water drops stay too long on the petals it could cause marks on the petals.

Can Guzmanias be planted out in East London?

Yes Guzmanias could be planted out in a shady spot in East London.

Which flowers can be planted in the shade in June?

Primulas and cinerarias can be planted in the shade.

What is the best soil/potting to plant Cymbidium orchids in?

Orchids prefer to grow in a coarse bark mixture.

What plants would be best suitable in a shaded area (under a tree thus shaded 90% of the day) We tried daisies but it all died.

Impatiens, Begonias, Fuchsias, Rhododendrons, Plectranthus varieties, Viola hederacea, Mondo grass, Fern varieties.

Will 5 lavender trees planted in a grove 50cm apart, north side of a driveway provide shade for cars, on the driveway, harsh summer sun of centurion?

Yes they should provide shade. Train the trees when they are still young to form a head.

Do citrus trees harvest at a different time to the eastern cape who are harvesting now?

Citrus can be harvested from late summer through the winter. Certain lemon varieties bear throughout the year.

What veggies to plant in August in Gauteng?

You can sow beetroot, carrots, beans, peas, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, radish.

I live in Johannesburg. When is a good time to plant a lemon tree in a container? Is it already too cold?

You can plant a lemon tree in a container now if you have a warm protected area, otherwise wait until the beginning of spring.

What is the best time to plant a Protea. Can we plant it now so close to winter (June)? Western Cape

If the Protea is in a container you can plant it anytime of the year. You can plant it now in well drained acidic soil, the roots will settle over the winter and new growth will come in spring.

Which smallish indigenous trees with a strong tap root are suitable for a garden complex? KZN

There are no small indigenous trees with a tap root. Try planting trees that have smaller root systems like Heteropyxis natalensis, Searsia lancea, Vepris lanceolata, Buddleja saligna.

Having a problem with my Protea Repens, never flowered for 2 years now. I broke off the flowers when it dried after the last time it flowered, so I dunno if it could be from that or what. Western Cape

The Protea flowers when dry should be cut off so that it can get new growth. It should be planted in the sun in well drained acidic soil. You can feed it an organic fertiliser. Do not dig the fertiliser in, just spread it on top. Water well, but do not over water.

I have moved to a property with lots of roses. I would like to move them. Is it advisable to replant roses and what is the best time to replant them? Gauteng

You can replant roses successfully. It is a good time to do it now in winter. Prune the bushes before transplanting.

I have spent hours trying to find out which trees lose ALL their leaves at the Beginning of winter, in a short period of time. The reason for this is that the heat of the home should not b negatively affected.... Every article mentions Lavender -semi deciduous,(and of which I have planted 5 in close proximity of each other, and which I wrote to you about, but which will not affect sunlight), Pompon- loses only at end of winter , Wisteria- loses leaves late,  etc etc.... most of the others I have read about are evergreen.!
That leaves me with the Wild Pear and the Parsley: I have no knowledge of when total leaf loss occurs or whether it does. I do like vase or umbrella shaped trees but this is of less importance.
 Area is Midsream Centurion. Very hot summer, cold winter.... trees will have lots of sunlight.
 Also, when covering young trees with frost cloth, should the entire tree b covered or only the stem?

Both the Wild Pear and the Parsley Tree are deciduous and total leaf loss will depend on how cold it is in autumn.

Which vegetables can I start to plant now in winter in North west? And how do I encourage cabbage to form a head instead of just getting taller and taller?

Onions, peas and Swiss Chard. Cabbage can ‘bolt’ if they have too much hot weather. It is better to plant them in cooler weather.

How can I get my succulents and cacti to flower?

They all so big but they haven’t flowered once.
Most succulents and cacti need to grow in the sun and must not be over watered.

When can we plant sunflower seeds in the western cape?

You can plant sunflower seeds in spring as soon as the soil warms up.

I live in Durban opposite the Botanic Gardens. I have a small patch of garden about 3 x 3 m outside my room as I stay on the groundfloor in a flat. Morning sun until 11am and then shade. i planted agapanthus and clivias. What else can i plant that will last and give colour. The garden has been neglected as I was not there to tend to it. So its dry. I need to condition it. What do I do to condition it and must I remove all the plants and plant new ones or can I use the same agapanthus and clivias. Also can i move them from where they are now and plant them else where in the same spot. I don't want to lose any of them. Your assistance is appreciated. Also can I condition the soil etc and plants in August as I will be home then. KZN

You can condition the soil by  adding well decomposed compost to the soil in  August. You can also lift the Agapanthus and Clivias and replant them into the fresh soil then.

Pyracatha standard how must one plant such in a pot? Western Cape

The pot must have drainage holes. Use a potting soil that drains well. Plant it with Bonemeal and use an organic fertiliser like Atlantic’s All Purpose Fertiliser. Put the pot in a sunny spot.

Please advise re a plant for a large pot, outside front entrance, on paving, against wall of house, full sun from 12. Area just 'bricks & paving' now, quite 'open' and want to place 2 large pots there to 'green' the area. Recommendations please...? Eastern Cape

You could use Aloe barberae, Cordyline ‘Electric Pink or Electric Flash’, Beaucarnea recurvata, try any of the ‘lollipops’ like Syzygium paniculatum or Elegia tectorum.

Is July too late to plant Fairy primula (Primula malacoides) from seed?

It is a bit late but if you do your flowering period will be later.

I reside in Swaziland. I have purchased 2 cherry trees – Bing and Giant Heidelfinger - and I want to know the basics of planting them and looking after them.  

Plant the cherries in deep well drained soil that has been enriched with compost. When planting add some 2:3:2 fertiliser. Water well especially if it is hot and dry.

I have had to remove a Wit Stinkhout tree whose roots were invasive. I now wish to grow trees in pots and need advice on which trees would thrive in the Pretoria area.
Also would a Camellia Bush be one of those? Gauteng

Yes you can plant a Camellia in a pot. You could try Viburnum odoratissum, Syzygium paniculatum, Cupressus macrocarpa, Buddleja saligna.

Can I repot amaryllis in winter? Gauteng

Yes you can although it is better to do it in autumn.

I was wondering if lilacs will grow in South Africa? 
(currently living in Merida, Mexico...but when my inheritance comes through...moving to South Africa! So cannot wait!)

Yes Lilacs will grow in South Africa where the winters are cold.

I have an aloe garden and would like to know if I can plant a Pincushion Protea amongst the aloes? Will care for it be the same as aloes?

It is better not to plant the Pincushion among the Aloes. Pincushions prefer to grow in well drained acidic soil.

What can I plant to flower in September? Eastern Cape

Pansies, Violas, Snapdragons, Stocks, Larkspur, Calendulas, Primulas in seedlings or plant perennial Daisies, Osteospermums, Gazanias, Cheiranthus.

What does one feed hydrangeas and when? Gauteng

From the beginning of spring feed them with 3:1:5 SR at 2 monthly intervals and feed with Multifeed or Nitrosol every 4 weeks prior to and during blooming.

Can i plant viburnum sinensis in very windy conditions in the false bay area. Western Cape

Yes you can they are wind hardy.

I planted loads of pansies in the back of my curbside garden last week! (with aloes in front of them!) Can I replant them in the front row now? Western Cape

You can if you are able to remove them with the root ball intact.

Gerbera - where is the best place to plant them?? North West

They prefer full sun, if the spot is too hot in summer, give them some afternoon shade. Plant in well drained compost enriched soil.

I want to plant a naartjie and an orange tree in our garden. How do I go about this? Gauteng

Plant the trees in the sun in well drained, compost enriched soil. Water well and regularly. When planting add Bone meal and an organic fertiliser. Fertilise in July, December and March

Which vegetables and herbs can i start growing from seeds now in JHB? Gauteng

Wait until August then you can plant beans, beet, carrots, lettuce, peas, peppers, potatoes, radish, spinach, tomato, parsley, coriander, basil.

I have a garden that is mostly made up of shade (there is a big tree and a wall in the way of the sun) I would like to know what plants I can plant in this area. The ground in quite moist. Eastern Cape

Try Rumohra, Asparagus varieties, Arum lilies, Acanthus, Phygelius, Rhododendron.

What ground cover can be grown in clinker bricks (bricks with holes / spaces in them) which cars can park over sometimes. Gauteng

Dymondia margaretae

What are the ideal growing conditions for Protea Eximia? (Polokwane)

Sun with air movement around it, in well drained acidic soil

I live on the KZN South Coast region - close to Scottburgh. Purchased a lime tree x3 years ago. It had a couple of buds and one fruit. It has grown a lot but has not borne any fruit since day of purchase. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The lime tree likes to grow in sun in well drained soil. It needs to be watered regularly, every week if necessary. It needs regular feeding especially in late winter through spring. Try feeding with Bio Ocean.

My yucca jewel is healthy but I have noticed brown spots on the inside stem, how do I need treat this? KZN

It sounds like it could be a fungus. Spray with a fungicide like Bravo or Funginex.

We are in boksburg area and all the camellia plants seem to lose their flowers before they have opened properly. Please advise us on the possible cause. Gauteng

Camellias need to be watered regularly and well when the buds start appearing and the buds normally start appearing when it is still hot and dry.

I wish to plant Malus Floribunda Tree in my garden. I am not certain if this will bloom like I have seen in some other places. Is our weather suitable for this tree? Please advise me. North West

It should bloom if you have cold winters.

How do I cut back my acasia tree's roots when they become pot bound...?

When you have removed it from the pot cut the bottom roots shorter by a couple of centimetres. Be careful that you do not cut too much of the taproot. Put fresh soil in when repotting.

My vision for my garden is to attract as many insects and birds as possible and to play with a variety of colour. In my front yard I’m working towards a semi shade, forest like garden feel (with a Pyracantha, 5 Celtis africanas, a small Olea europaea (Olienhout), a Buddleja salinga and a Correa alba).
My back yard is sunnier (with a lemon, peach, 3 small fig trees and a small Celtis Africana tree. A Milkweed (specially for Milkweed butterflies), Wild Dagga, Black Eyed Susan’s, Agapanthus and Arum Lilies.) – All my grey water goes into my back yard. And we have a borehole.
So my questions are:
1. Will a Carissa Macrocarpa grow in my front yard (semi shade)?
2. Can you suggest more plants that I can plant (keeping Bloemfontein climate in mind).
3. What are the best fast growing bushes/ hedge to cover a fence. Free State

1. Yes it would grow in the semi shade.
2. What about Aloes, Tecomas and Vygies.
3. Freylinia tropica, Dodonaea purpurea, Tecoma (Buddleja saligna and Correa alba would work too)

The best time to grow bush beans in S.A.? Gauteng

You can start growing bush beans in August in Gauteng.

We are downsizing and when we sell our house (sigh) will be moving to a flat with a balcony only. However, I am already slightly involved the gardens for the entire apartment block. The garden is very shady; the bed which has the most sun is mostly filled with agapanthus and the other similar ?indigenous fail-safe plant which gets white flowers once a year. I am planning to get that bed dug up, composted and filled with a range of indigenous and other plants such as perennial basil which the bees adore. I already have a large crassula tirucali and a grey jade plant (crassula ovata), some red and yellow shrimp bushes (beleperone), cats tail asparagus fern which I’m planning to put into the bed.
Any other suggestions? I have some donated dahlia bulbs. Gauteng

Try some Dietes grandiflora & bicolor, Gazanias, Lavenders. Rosemary, Aloes and Vygies

What do the Leather Leaf Ferns require please? Gauteng

Leather Leaf Ferns-Rumohra adiantiformis grow in shade in well drained, compost enriched soil. It needs regular water.

Which of the aloe species can I plant with the dark orange colour? KZN

Aloe arborescens, Aloe ferox, Aloe thraskii

How do lobelias, dianthus, petunias, begonias and gazanias do on the coast?

Gazanias and Dianthus do best. Lobelias and Petunias need protection from the wind. Begonias need shade and protection from the wind.

Several lemon trees later, I eventually tried one in a pot. It grew fantastic, new leaves, buds, flowers, but fruit falls off turns yellow. Lately it has lost all leaves at the top, leaves are curling, turning yellow, falling off. I have not been watering, because of the rain, soil is damp. I did feed with Epsom salts, 3:1:5, drainage is good, a little bit of 2:3:2 as well. I have lemon trees in Bellville, but after many trees from Stodels/Cape Garden Centre, no luck. Can you advise? Western Cape

Make sure that the soil drains well. A lemon likes well drained compost enriched soil. It likes to be watered well but must not be over watered. If the soil is wet deeper down it will cause yellowing of leaves and dropping off. If the soil is damp on top and dry deeper down it needs more water. Do not feed the tree while it is under stress.

My anthuriums' leaves are dried out in some spots and I only put them in the sun for a few minutes when cleaning my kitchen. Could you tell me what's wrong? Lusaka, Zambia

Anthuriums like humid conditions and the soil must be damp and well drained. They do not like direct sun. If the air is too dry and the soil is dry it could cause dry spots.

I discovered your website whilst doing some research on protea plant care.
I live on the French Riviera and have had a Protea Cynaroides little prince since the end of May.
I have carefully read and considered the rules and yet my poor protea is just shrivelling up.
First she started by getting yellow leaves, then they went brown and the flower has stopped opening and is totally drying out. I've put her in a shadier place now, my so called hospital where I put those plants that didn't succeed elsewhere.
I hope she can still be saved!!!

Proteas grow in well drained acidic soil in the sun where there is air movement. They need to be watered well, but not over watered. The problem could be drainage or over watering.

Can one transplant a camellia and if so when is the best time? We live in plumstead, Cape Town.

You can transplant a camellia after it has flowered (late winter). When transplanting try and retain some soil around the root ball. If it is a large plant prune it back.

I planted daisies last year and have healthy green leaves. Why are they not flowering? What fertiliser should I be using.

Daisies need to grow in the sun. Feed with 3:1:5 or Bio Ganic All Purpose fertiliser.

I have a Chinese jasmine and the smell is heavenly. If I were to plant an indigenous jasmine, which one would it be, because I want the smell! Gauteng

Both Jasminum multipartitum and Jasminum angular are sweetly scented.

My Bearded Iris are not flowering. Very sparse leaves. What can I do? Eastern Cape

Old or overcrowded clumps need to be divided. Plant them in the sun in well drained alkaline/neutral soil. When planting use Bone meal/Super Phosphate. Feed with 3:1:5 fertiliser. They only produce flower stalks on new rhizomes.

The leaves on my Clivias are brown and have been eaten by some insect, I think.  It seems to go right into the bulb. I have no idea how to get rid of this insect or bug.
 If treated, will the bulbs recover?

It is the Lily Borer eating the leaves into the bulb. Treat with Karba Spray. If the worms have not destroyed the central part of the bulb they should recover.

I live in Pretoria. I have a Protea mundii. Will it survive my climate? I have borehole water so keeping it wet is no problem. Gauteng

It should grow. Plant in well drained acidic soil. It likes air movement around it. Water well but do not over water. Check that the borehole water is not too alkaline.

Would/could Clivias live in a hot-house? 
I have been given some Clivia seed pods and don't have any trees in my garden for shade, so Im wondering if I plant them in a pot and let them live in my hot house, will it work?

Yes the Clivias would work in your hot house. Check that the soil is well drained. Water well but do not over water.

When is the season for Hyacinths? Gauteng

Hyacinths are planted in April/May and should flower after 10 weeks.

I have a "peace lily" that grows well. However, the flower stays green until it dies. What am I doing wrong and what should I do? I so want the white flower. Western Cape

As the flower get older it does turn green. Try feeding it once a year with two teaspoons Epsom salts.

Het n susara protea wil net weet hoe moet ek grond voorberei en watse voeding moet gee? kan hy in pot geplant word? Free State

Die Protea kan in a pot geplant word. Die grond moet ,n suur goed gedreineerde grond wees. Water goed maar moet nie oorwater nie. Moet nie voeding gee nie.

My pansies in containers were doing very well until I noticed they are droopy, the leaves are yellow. I think I over watered them. Will they recover or should I kiss them goodbye? Gauteng

Sorry if they are droopy and have yellow leaves they could be over watered and they will rot and die.

Will a camellia thrive in an area which gets some sun in summer but only shade in winter? Which variety would be best for such a situation? Gauteng

Dappled shade from mature trees is ideal for most, though some are more sun tolerant than others. Too much shade reduces bud formation, whilst excessive heat and sunshine scorches fine surface roots and flower buds. Also keep their root zones cool through the heat of summer with a thick layer of mulch in the form of leaf mould, pine needles or pine bark. If the sun isn’t too hot and too long it should be fine.

I planted alyssum about 6 weeks ago and it is looking beautiful. Can you advise me as to how long it will last. I need to have it looking good for 22 October and am not sure whether I should pull it all out and replant new seedlings or not. Likewise for some violas(mini pansies) that i also planted??? KZN

Both the alyssum and the violas should still be fine and looking good. Remove dead flowers from the violas so that they can produce new buds.

How does one care for azaleas? Should they be pruned? And is left-over coffee and grounds good for the soil? Limpopo

Azaleas like slightly acidic well drained soil. They prefer to grow in dappled shade. They are shallow rooted, so mulch with pine bark. Water well but do not overwater. You can prune back the plant after flowering to keep it in shape and to remove dead branches. You can use the coffee grounds to mulch the plant.

I am enquiring about my valencia orange tree which I bought 7 years ago. For the past 2 years it's produced small oranges which would all fall before they could grow big. But this year it's produced lots of oranges which they all grew to a normal size and ripe, but the problem they were so sour as if they were lemon with lots of seeds, with a grapefruit flavour. What can I do to make them sweet? KZN

The orange needs to grow in sun and needs regular water, do not let it dry out. Mulch the tree to conserve moisture. Fertilise with a 3:1:5 fertiliser in July, December and March. Also give the tree some Magnesium sulphate in those 3 months. 

I was wondering if you could offer me some advice on possible treatment/s please? I have been busy with a large Pomegranate Bonsai and of recent noticed a lot of wilting branches. Upon closer inspection I noticed several small holes I could not find any sawdust at the base of the trunk. I did however notice a few tiny wasp like insects in my garden recently. KZN

Try spraying the tree with Garden Ripcord.

One of my Abutilon plants seems to have died after about 8 years and I am not sure whether to pull it out or try to revive it. I have cut it back and fed it but it does not seem to be responding over several months. The other one is very prolific and needs pruning but I am quite nervous to do this after the other disaster. Western Cape

Early spring is a good time to prune. Prune back dead, diseased and damaged branches. Prune the bush back but not more than a third.

We have 2 lavender plants in small pots. We went away for 3  days and when we got back the plants are wilted. I assume from lack of water. Will they recover and what should I do with regards to watering? They are new plant received last week Wednesday. We live in Johannesburg and was quite hot this past weekend

Have they been planted out? If so they should recover, Water well but do not overwater. They like to grow in well drained compost enriched soil. If the tips are still wilted, cut them back to encourage new growth.

We live in the Wilderness & have some lovely large Tree Fern specimens, which have seemed happy & given much pleasure.
 However, after a particularly hot humid summer & a cold dryish winter this year, they seem to be affected by some sort of borer or worm.
 The fronds turn brown & dry up fairly quickly after spreading. I did fertilise them this year with the “new” bounce back!
Any suggestions?

Too little water if it is too hot and dry will cause the fronds to go brown, as well as if it is too cold and windy could cause the leaves to go brown. Too much sun and too much water could also cause the leaves to go brown.

I have a few Clivias which are planted in pots. Some of the leaves are yellow with brown tips.  What am I doing wrong?
 Furthermore, I do not have much shade in my garden close to the house, but would like to plant the Clivias in the garden. We have a large Pine tree at the bottom of our garden, can I plant the Clivias under the Pine tree? Furthermore, we live in an area where there is quite a bit of frost in the winter. Should we then cover the Clivias during the winter? Gauteng

The Clivias could be getting too much water. You can plant them under the Pine tree, but you must add compost to the soil and fertilise the plants. The Clivias should be protected under the Pine Trees.

Can the Bella Red Mandevilla withstand the windy Cape? Norma, Western Cape

It is fairly wind hardy, but do protect it from the worst winds.

Must I remove Dietes Grandiflora seeds from their pods prior to planting? Can I use them straight away? Gauteng

Yes remove the seeds from their pods. Spring is a good time to plant. Use a well drained soil mix, cover the seed lightly, water and keep them in a warm spot.

I bought some petunias about 2 weeks ago and today they have shrivelled up and look as though they are dying. What could have happened? Gauteng

If the plants were dry and it was hot they could have been damaged.

I'm living in Sydney, Australia.
I bought three blue Felicia plants 5 years ago and cannot find them anywhere now.
They don't self seed, so is it possible for me to collect the seeds myself after flowering and plant them? Or, would they strike from a cutting? They are the most hardy and pretty little flower for our hot climate in Sydney! 

They grow easily from cuttings. You could collect the seed and try that too.

I live in the PE region and would love to plant some olive trees. I was told out climate here is not conducive to successful olive tree growing. Could it help if blossoms on trees are covered in bags? Or if some trees are planted in a greenhouse with regulated temperature? Could I plant olive trees as windbreakers for ornamental use and which cultivars can be planted as windbreakers? How fast does an olive tree grow? Eastern Cape

Olive trees do grow in the PE region. Plant in  well composted soil and water well until established. You can use them as a windbreak. Mission is a variety that grows well and bears well.

I bought 4 fynbos plants (2 being the yellow and red pincushion) Leucospermum cordifolium in Port Elizabeth to plant in Boknes Strand/Cannon Rocks area where we live. However a landscaper said that they would all die as they are not indigenous to our area because of the alkali soil yet the soil measures in some areas at between 5 & 6 acidity. Please advise how one can change the soil if alkali to acidic. We have built new in Boknes so I don’t have a garden and trying to establish one putting in trees and shrubs on a shoestring budget. I really don’t know what grows in the area so trying my hand in everything as the area is also an extremely windy place.

The Leucospermums like to grow in acidic well drained soil. Add pine bark compost or peat to the soil to make it more acidic. Also mulch the plants with pinebark. They prefer to grow with air circulation around them so they don’t mind the wind.

I live in an area where Litchi trees grow very well,but for some reason no litchis trees grow in the yard i live in.I was given a litchis plant recently by a friend so i decided to try and get it to grow,at one stage there was some hope but that soon went away,now i just have a stem in a pot. Please help. KZN

Litchi like to grow in the sun in well drained soil. They do not like wet feet, so do not overwater especially in the cooler months. They need regular watering in the growing season.

We live in Ladismith in the Klein Karoo. How resistant are proteas against cold? Western Cape

Most Proteas tolerate some frost, but the flowers may be damaged. Plant your Protea out in late spring. During first two years protect them from frost by covering them at night.

My pin cushions are not doing well in the eastern cape coastal region.
 what can I do please? Eastern Cape

Pincushions need to grow in the sun in well drained slightly acidic soil. Air must circulate freely around the plants. Water well but do not overwater. Apply a mulch to keep the moisture in.

My potted hibiscus has yellowing leaves and the flower heads seem to drop off very easily. Am I watering them too often, or not often enough? At this time of year they receive full sunshine from about mid morning. Western Cape

Plant in well drained compost enriched soil. Too much water or too little can cause yellowing of leaves. Water so that the soil is moist but not soggy.

Do bougeanvilla's and the eugenia tree require a lot of water? Gauteng

Bougainvillea and Eugenias require regular water until established. Once established that are water wise.

More recently all my cordyline plants seem to have this web like pattern on their leaves and they turn brown and die. Can you please help? KZN

Your cordyline could have a fungus. Remove all infected leaves and spray with a fungicide. Check that you are not overwatering.

I have a dense clump of arum lilies in a container. when can i separate and plant them in the garden. they still have a few flowers on them.

You can divide them when they finished flowering.

I planted a sweet pea shrub-polygalafruticosa about 3 yrs ago in a pot. it grew well for awhile, then started to due off from the bottom. now I have only a little bit left, with green on all remaining branches at the same time all these branches are brown woody from base of soil to the beginning of the green leaves and few flowers. How or what can I do to save this and get it to bush out? can I prune all of it cutting off the remaining green tops leaving only the brown woody stems? what
happened? too much water at one time. is it worth keeping and trying to revive?
appreciate any help as I find anything like this on web. I live in SoCal, to be exact, what they call the Inland Empire, (Riverside county) an area called Menifee (California), very hot in summer and very mild winters although we do have a few 30s in Dec & Jan. right now mild days nights cool to around 57.

It is such a beautiful little shrub that does not like to be overwatered. It likes well drained soil and little water. You can try and prune the green tips back lightly. If you cut into the brown stems it could die.

Good Day, Could you please give me some advice on caring for my Inca Lilies. I purchased my first batch last year and planted directly into ground, shady area. They have budded but do not flower. Please help. I am in the Western Cape. 

Inca Lilies like to grow in the sun in well drained compost enriched soil. They do not like too much shade.

My big bush of gardenias in a smallish pot is suddenly starting to turn brown. I water daily. Western Cape 

Repot the Gardenia into a bigger pot in well drained compost enriched soil. Water well wait for soil to dry out before watering again. The leaves turning brown is from overwatering.

Our fairy primula has been growing new plants on the flower stems. Is this how they propagate? Thank you. Gauteng  

Normally they are propagated from seed.

My restio groengras riete) does not want to grow as I planted it in the shade.Where shall I plant it to get a beautiful big green bush of restio? Western Cape

Restios grow in the sun in well drained soil. Water well but do not overwater.

How do I start to plant Gardenia Augusta? KZN

Gardenia grow in sun or semi-shade in well drained slightly acidic soil.

I bought tulip bulb in Europe and forgot to plant them, how long will they stay good and what kind of soil must i put them in and when what month and how long it will take to grow and must it be in the sun. Gauteng

The Tulip bulbs might not last as they are planted in May in South Africa. They grow in compost enriched soil in the sun. It is best to plant them in pots.

I have primulas in pots. Can I transfer them to the garden so I can plant something that will flower in summer? KZN

If they are Primula malacoides they are annuals and will die. If they are perennial Primulas you can transfer them to the garden. Plant them in a shady spot.

My orchids the leaves are dry what will happen? Eastern Cape

If the leaves are dry it might die. Cut the leaves off and replant into fresh orchid medium to try and revive it.

My Bougainvillea just won't grow. i think i overwatered the first one and it died, the second one has lost most of it's leaves but I have put it in the ground, out of it's pot and hoping for the best. Can you give me any advice as to what I am doing wrong? I live in Cape Town.

Bougainvillea like to grow in the sun in well drained soil. Do not overwater. Wait for the soil to dry out before watering again. It could also suffer if it is planted in a very windy spot.

Salvia (splash) botanical name? Gauteng

Salvia is the botanical name for a wide variety of plants e.g Salvia splendens (red flowers)

What is the best time of the year to plant a lemon tree?

Spring or autumn is a good time to plant.

I have been given roses (out of the ground and in bloom) please advise on planting procedure - what fertiliser etc and how to plant them. will they need any rooting hormone? KZN

Cut the stems shorter(sorry the flowers will have to go) and cut the roots shorter too. Add well decomposed compost to the hole. When planting add some Bonemeal and Vigorosa fertiliser. Water well. Do not let the plants dry out completely. Roses are thirsty plants.

What fertiliser to give lemon and naartjie trees? Gauteng

You can use Atlantics Bio Ocean(organic) or you can use 3:1:5 fertiliser.

How to plant strawberries? As I have never been successful with them. Limpopo

Strawberries like to grow in the sun in well drained compost enriched soil. Add 2:3:2 fertiliser when planting. Just before bearing give them 3:1:5 fertiliser. They need regular water.

What is the best position to plant Gerberas in the Western Cape? I have not been very successful with them and I love them.

They prefer to grow in a sunny position in well drained compost enriched soil. Do not overwater.

My rough skin lemon tree has leaves that are curling with a white “cocoon” looking web under the leaf.
 Any idea what it could be and how to treat it? Mpumalanga

Spray with Oleum

How to stimulate conifers' growth. Western Cape

The best way to stimulate conifers growth is to prune the branches back. Water well do not let them dry out, but do not overwater.

I planted my two Poinsettia out into pots. The red bracts are beautiful, but the green leaves look as though they are overwatered, wilted or just plain sad. What could be wrong? Western Cape

They need to be planted in well drained potting soil. Do not overwater, water when the soil is dry. If planted from small pots into bigger pots, you could have too much wet soil around the plant, which cause the leaves to wilt. Remove the wilted leaves and water less.

I have been given a Bush Willow. I would like to know more about this tree. Can't find any info in my gardening books. Gauteng

Combretum ethrophyllum (River Bush Willow) is an indigenous medium to large indigenous tree.

My Oak trees on the pavement are dying (Very old). what can I do? Free State

They could be under attack by the alien ambrosia beetle that bore into the tree and cause the tree to die. Cut all dead and dying branches off.

Would Tecoma capensis be suitable for a Highveld garden? Gauteng

Yes it would.

We've bought a prune, cherry and almond tree last week. When planting do we need to cut the roots once the plastic is removed or is there any special precautions before putting them in the ground please? North West

If they are this season’s trees you do not need to cut the roots. Plant the trees in compost enriched soil. When planting use Bone meal and Bio ganic Ocean fertiliser

I have a big (one story high) pink bougainvillea which was accidentally clipped off its climbing wall at the top, fell and was re-attached (with quite some effort). It has incurred damage, about a third of its blossoms at the top are dead because twigs and smaller branches were either broken or cut off. I realise it was the worst possible time for it to be cut. What chances has it got of recovering, and is there anything I should do?

The chances of it recovering are good. Cut all the damaged and dead wood out and cut the rest shorter, it should soon send out new growth then.

Please tell me everything about Begonia Elatior

Begonia elatior are grown indoors in a well lit spot, not direct sun, the room must have good air circulation. Plant in a well drained potting soil. Water well, then allow the top of the soil to dry out before watering again. Do not get any water on the leaves.

Is the KZN South Coast too humid for Helichrysum silver mist, or is there a secret to looking after them? Mine always seem to die off.

The Helichrysum likes to grow in the sun in well drained soil. Water when the soil is dry. Too much humidity could cause the plant to get a fungus which will cause it to die.

My calla lilies are in a pot and now it is like getting soft in the pot and flower fell off. Can you assist? Gauteng

You may be giving the lilies too much water. Allow the soil to dry out before watering again.

Can I grow felicias in containers; If yes what size would be best? Western Cape

Yes you can. The container should have ± a depth of 20cm and a wide mouth as they do spread.

I have a couple of questions that I hope you will be able to provide answers.
 How long should it take for Polyanthus bulbs to start shooting? I planted 30 bulbs on 19 October and not one is showing.
 I have a well established Statice in a large pot but it is not flowering. It gets about 6 hours of morning sun and is fed about once every 3 months with an organic fertiliser. Any suggestions? Western Cape

It can take up to a month for the bulbs to start shooting. Check that the soil is well drained. Do not overwater. Statice prefer to grow in the sun in well drained soil. Check that you are not overwatering the plant. Wait for the soil to dry out before watering again. Feeding with the organic fertiliser is fine.

Now that winter is over what do I do with some cyclamen plants given to me in March? I would so appreciate your advice as I have never had cyclamens before.

Stop watering and feeding the cyclamen when the foliage yellows and dries in early summer and rest the tuber in the pot. When new leaves appear towards end of summer start the watering and feeding program again.

Please advise... Which is the best place to grow Hydrangeas (Christmas rose)? North, South, east or West? We live in Dana Bay (Western Cape) facing the ocean.

Hydrangeas prefer to grow in shade to semi-shade the south or east where it is not too windy and the plants don’t get salt air on them.

I have some small buxus needing to be relocated. Can it be done now or is it already too late? What is the best soil for buxus? Western Cape

The best time to relocate the Buxus is autumn or spring before new growth starts. They prefer to grow in well drained compost enriched soil. Do not overwater.

Which are the best Pincushion Protea to grow in Knysna on Thesen Island? Western Cape

Try Leucospermum cordifolium

Hail has shredded most of the leaves on my tamarilla. What should I do? Gauteng

If the leaves are badly shredded cut them off. You should get new leaves again.

What kind of fertiliser must I use for Calla lilies? Western Cape

You can use water soluble Multifeed or All purpose organic pellets.

Do cherry trees grow in jhburg?

Cherry trees do grow there. Get two varieties for cross pollination.

I have a 40 cm row of Trachelospermum Jasminoides (un supported) it is planted along a walk way. I would like it to form a screen / hedge, how can I use to do this?

Trachelospermum  is a climber so you could put up a trellis or a fence and let it cover. If you want to form a hedge you would have to trim it into a bush and keep on trimming until you have the required height.

My climbing roses are not very bushy at the bottom, yet the top of the climber is also thin but produced a lot of flowers? KZN

When you prune the roses in winter cut the canes short to encourage bushiness.

Our peppers, which grew easily in sand and manure on the farm, are struggling in our compost-based soil. The leaves look sick :( Western Cape

They do like well drained compost enriched soil. Too much water could cause problems, keep soil slightly drier. Feed the peppers with an organic fertiliser like Bio Ocean.

Our yesterday today tomorrow has only flowered once, beginning of spring and now is / will remain just a green shrub...any idea why not flowering more? It's in sun, gets compost, fertiliser and water... Centurion, Gauteng

The main flowering time is spring. If it does not get regular water, it could affect the flowering. You are doing all it needs, just check your watering.

Live in Durbanville. With what do I feed blueberries? The rest old plants did not bear fruit. Western Cape

Try Bio Ocean.

Can Euphorbia Glitz/Diamond Frost be placed in full sun and are they frost resistant? We live at the Vaal River and summer temps can be up to +36deg and winter -8deg. Gauteng

It can grow in full sun or semi-shade. It would be advisable to protect it from heavy frosts. Grow it in containers so that you can move it in winter.

Can Coleus be grown in Gauteng, but covered in winter?

Yes they can. Plant them in shade in well drained soil. You would need to protect them from frost in winter.

I have Moringa trees that grow very well but wonder why the bottom leaves get yellow . No, I don't water them at all. KZN

It could be that the bottom leaves are not getting enough light. They prefer full sun and well drained soil and need to be watered if it is very dry.

I see you say Lobelias like morning sun & afternoon shade, but would they grown in full sun?I have a garden bed that gets full sun all day round & I'm looking for something relatively low that will provide me with colour all year round. Gauteng

Lobelias can grow in the full sun.

I have been away from my property a few years and back now. Needless to say the 15 olive trees I had have suffered badly. Some used to bear fruits and have died off and started reshooting again. However the leaves are all yellowish, they are getting regular water now, what is best to nourish and revive these trees (about 25 years old) 
I have read about pruning so will attempt this. there is also evidence of bugs eating the leaves (little holes) what is best to spray the trees with?
 Western Cape

Fertilise with Nitrosol or Bio Ocean. Prune the trees now removing all dead wood and spindly growth. Spray with Malasol or Karbaspray.

I was given a poinsettia plant in August, and it didn't have any red leaves then, and I thought they would get red as time went on. However, here we are in December, and although the plant has grown beautifully, there are still no red leaves! Can you explain why? Western Cape

Poinsettia will only start getting red leaves in winter again.

Why do my radish seedlings start flowering before they bear radishes? It has happened two years in a row. Western Cape

The radishes will bolt (flower) is the area planted in is too hot and dry. In summer, it’s a good idea to use mulch to keep the roots cool, while in cold winters radishes will need full sun. Should that not be possible, grow the radishes in a container (the size of a window box is ideal) that can be kept in a sheltered, sunny place. If growing in containers, use good-quality, fast-draining potting soil. It can be mixed with some home-made compost.
 Keep the soil moist during germination, which should take place within 5-7 days.

Which month should bearss lime trees carry fruit? North West

Bearss Lime should ripen between October and December. A mature tree can bear throughout the year.

My Hydrangeas are just slightly pink. How do I make them darker pink or blue? Gauteng

Pink Hydrangeas need alkaline soil to stay pink. Give them Pink Hydrangea Food. Blue Hydrangeas need acidic soil. Give them Blue Hydrangea Food.

My petunias seem to be going off. Must I remove them and plant something else. Alternatively how can I revive them to last through the winter? Gauteng

Petunias are annuals so they could die down after being in for some time. You could cut them back and you should get new growth and flowers. If you plant seedlings now they should last until winter.

How to care and water indoor peace in the home plant? KZN

Peace in the home likes to grow in well drained soil in shade or if grown indoors a well lit spot but not direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

I live in Gordons Bay and have just bought a Dipladenia Rose pink, I need to know if they will survive the strong winds we get here. have it in a pot and on the patio n and enclosed corner. Western Cape

Dipladenia like air circulation around them, they don’t mind wind. They need sun to part shade.

My viburnums were growing strong and tall but when we were away for 4 weeks they did not get enough water! We have now put in borehole water and had the water tested with minimal iron - but my viburnum leaves are burnt and falling off! I trimmed the plant back and have given the ocean organic food - will they come back and can they get borehole water? Western Cape

They should send out new shoots after trimming. Make sure that the branches are still green. They should grow with the borehole water.

I bought a poinsettia and planted it in a pot. It looks sad so I'm wondering when i can replant into the garden. How much sun can it handle? Also i would love a lemon tree but don't know when and where to plant it. I have very little shade in my garden. Free State

Poinsettia like to grow in well drained compost enriched soil. Do not over water. They grow in full sun but it is better to plant in part shade.
Lemon can be planted anytime of the year, autumn or spring being the preferred months. It grows in the sun in well drained soil.

How do I take care of my African violet plant? it seems to be withering. Eastern Cape

African Violet likes to grow in bright light not direct sunlight. Water when the soil feels less moist, don’t let it dry out or stand in water. Water from the bottom with water at room temperature.

Could I cut back the verbenas in my garden. Currently it is very hot and dry (drought) and they don't look good at all. Eastern Cape

You can cut them back but they will need water to send out new growth. If they are looking very sad it might be better to remove them.

Are there any indigenous varieties of marigold?

There are no indigenous marigolds. Marigolds are sun loving and water wise.

Have moved to flat with patio in Northcliff. Took some softwood moonflower cuttings Dec 2015. 3 x 30 litre pots. Potting soil only. Growth has been very very slow, no flowers. Protected in winter, about 3 hours direct sun in summer. What shall l do? Do l need to buy some and start again. Desperate to succeed. Gauteng

Moonflowers like to grow in well drained compost enriched soil. They need to be watered well, but do not overwater. Feed regularly during the growing season. The position you have it in is fine.

We live in George. Will a Liquid Amber, that was planted two weeks ago and lost its leaves, get its leaves back? We were away on holiday and when we came back, all the leaves were on the grass. The tree is approximately 3 metres tall. Western Cape

The tree should get new leaves. It should've been watered well as it was planted; maybe it didn't get enough

Is it too hot for petunias at the moment? Gauteng

No it isn’t too hot as long as they are watered well and regularly when transplanted now.

I have planted a group of three eryngiums, which are in full sun for most of the day. They wilt during the heat of the day but come back after watering in the evening. I am afraid I might lose them when we go away for a week or two and feel they would be better planted in semi shade but am afraid to move them in case they die. Any advice would be welcome, please. Western Cape

Eryngiums should not be transplanted as they have a long taproot and could die. Water well before you leave and put a layer of mulch around the plants to help conserve the moisture.

Is the Pompom weed poison to horses when eaten? North West

I am not sure whether it is poisonous to animals. It is a declared invasive weed in South Africa.

I thought Vinca was an alien plant, and that we should not be planting it?

Vinca rosea is on the invader list. All the other Vincas may be planted.

Are the Salvia waterwise?? I had a lovely show of the yellow ones last year but because of the severe water restrictions have not planted my pots.Trying to keep my roses alive!!

Salvias are water wise once they are established.

Can I grow a second lot of runner beans now (Middle of January)? Gauteng

Yes you can

We have a huge paw paw tree. Is it possible to break a branch off and plant it separately, i.e. create another tree?

Paw Paw is usually grown from seed. It is difficult to get a cutting to root from a grown tree

My cyclamen finished blooming in October and I haven't watered it since. What should I do next? Must it be re-potted?

It is a cool weather plant, so wait for it to cool down (March/April) then you can start watering it again. When you start watering give it a good soak.

Can you please give me some advice on how to grow my lovely red Cape Honeysuckle into a hedge? I planted six of them about seven weeks ago in the North-Western corner close to a low wall at the edge of a raw, brand new garden. The soil is sandy. I have been fertilizing them with an all-purpose product – Bioganic from Atlantic Fertilizers. On the bag it says this product is used by Kirstenbosch. So far I have been watering them at least twice a week, and they look very healthy. I am wondering what kind of support I need to give them if I want them to grow into a hedge about 2m high, and also when I should start decreasing the amount of water I give them?

Cut the plants back lightly to make them more bushy, allow them to grow and when the branches are long cut them back again. They shouldn’t need support then. Continue feeding at the recommended rate. Continue watering twice a week until the plants are well established, then you can water once a week.

What do i feed Moonflowers and how much...teaspoons or tablespoons? Frequently?
 Water per week? Litres approx? Gauteng

You can feed the plants with Atlantics All Purpose fertilizer. Use 2 tablespoons every 3 weeks. When the soil is dry water it until the water drains out at the bottom.

All my newly planted protea and sugar bushes died within 6 weeks after been planted by a landscaper. I watered it every second day. What can the reason be? The soil is sandy but a lot of compost was worked in. Western Cape

Proteas like to grow in well drained soil so the sandy soil is fine. They do not like to be over watered. The soil must be dry before watering. It could be that you overwatered the plants.

What do I feed hydrangeas. I tried everything, hydrangea food and acid compost but they are not doing well. The flower and few days later their flowers dry and go brown. They are planted under semi shade environment. Gauteng

Hydrangeas like to grow in well drained soil. They like to be watered well. Do not let them dry out. Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to help keep the moisture in.

I live in Pringle Bay in Western Cape. Can I harvest and plant agapanthus seeds after flowering? Should I cut the whole stem off after flowering or leave it to dry out naturally then harvest the dried out seeds? When is the best time to plant the dried seeds?

 Yes you can. Leave it to dry out naturally. Collect the seed when the seed head turns brown and the capsules start to burst. Sow the seed when it is still fresh.

I want to know how do I make my vegetables grow faster & what should I do if I leave for a day or 2 because I travel a lot, do I ask my friend to water it everyday or 3 times a week.. Is now a right time to plant vegetables date January 12th 2017 I'm thinking of preparing a 3 square metre plan then plant Saturday... Is it a good time & does too much water kill it? KZN

Feed your vegetables with Bio Ocean fertilizer. Watering 3 times a week should be fine. It is very hot for planting now. If you want to sow seed it will depend where you are in KZN.

We stay in Piet Retief on a farm close to Swaziland. I bought two different proteas. solely and succession from our local TWK nursery. Will these specie tolerate frost? Mpumalanga

They should be able to tolerate some frost as long as it isn’t too heavy.

Please can you assist - my Hibiscus scrubs are losing their leaves but still flower a little bit. What can I do to revive them? Eastern Cape

Hibiscus like to grow in the sun in well drained soil. They need to be watered well and regularly in summer. Feed with a liquid fertilizer like Nitrosol. Give the bush a light pruning to encourage new growth.

Why do the young figs fall off before they are ripe, please and thank you. Gauteng

They could drop if the tree has gone through a period of not getting water. They need to be watered regularly, but do not overwater as this could cause the fruit to drop too

How do I keep poinsettia going long term? They always die off completely in a couple months when put outdoors. Western Cape

Plant the Poinsettia in an area that gets part shade, Plant in well drained compost enriched soil. Water when the soil is dry, do not overwater.

I repotted my peace lily and now the leaves are droopy.what should i do to get them back to normal? Western Cape

Check that the soil mixture drains well. Water when the soil is dry. Cut off the droopy leaves.

My rose bush with small white cluster roses are all turning brown whilst they are opening. What am I doing wrong please. KZN

You could have a fungal disease. Spray with Bravo.

I have a monkey thorn tree which I have cut back over the years. I know it has a invasive root system and mine is about 3 m from my pool. Should I worry. It is about 4m high and +- 25cm circ. Gauteng

Yes a Monkey Thorn has an extensive root system. 3m is quite close to the pool, but by cutting back the as you have does help.

I desperately need an expert to advise me on growing a decent lawn, especially with large patches in the shade. We have tried kikuyu, then replaced in with LM for the shade. It is the 3rd time we replanted and yet it is not matting with large open patches.
 We really need a lawn expert to help us. Gauteng

Plant GingerGreen seed. It grows in all soils and in the sun and shade.

How do I treat the black spots on the leaves of my outdoor Bromeliad? It was previously indoors and there were no black spots on the leaves. Gauteng

It could be a fungus, spray with a fungicide like Bravo. Check that the plant is not too wet.

My pumpkin creepers gets plenty of flowers but no pumpkins, if they do get pumpkins they are very, very small, get yellow then rot. This also applies to my baby marrows & cucumbers, what is causing this?
 My lettuce never gets heads just a few leaves but never a head in the middle of the leaves.

Your pumpkin, baby marrows and cucumber are getting male flowers. They need to be planted in the sun in well drained soil and watered regularly. If the weather is hot and dry, lettuce don’t make heads. They prefer cooler weather.

I planted some proteas end of 2016, some of them are doing very well but a few of them just started welting and eventually died, it took about 3/4 weeks but they are dead. Just strange that 2 meters away the other ptoteas are doing well. Any idea what the problem might be with them? North West

It could be Phytophthera root rot a fungus that attacks the roots. Proteas must be planted in well drained soil. Do not over water. Do not disturb the soil around the plants. Certain varieties are more susceptible to root rot. Remove dead plants and destroy them so as not to spread the fungus.

How to propagate a queen palm tree by seed? Limpopo

Collect slightly green seed. Soak in water overnight. Clean flesh from seed. Soak seed in water 3-4 days. Change water daily. Plant in a well drained compost mix, add some perlite. Plant seed in the soil so that the tops are just covered. Put in a warm spot. Water and keep the soil moist. Seed should start germinating 2-6 months.

Bought an olive tree 2-3years ago. All was well and looked great for 2 years. Last year it started drying out at the top as well as getting some white cotton looking things on some of the branches. There are many new leaves and in certain areas it is growing while other it's drying out.... have put fertilisers as well as used the poison recommended by nursery to take care of white stuff. My olive tree does not look great and does not make me happy when I see it, quite the opposite. Gauteng

Olives like to be planted in well drained soil, watered regularly. Cut all the dead branches out and continue spraying for the woolly aphids.

When is the best time to plant Clivias? Gauteng

The best time is spring to early summer, if you are transplanting the best time is after flowering.

Do I need to cut the dead flowers from the vygie bush after blooming? Do they need to be watered regularly> Western Cape

You don’t have to, but if you do the plant will send out new growth. They are water wise plants and need to be watered when they are very dry.

I have read a few of the answers to question you wrote and saw some questions was about small trees.
I have Cross berry trees that are just beautiful, they are indigenous , grows quickly, flower, attract birds and do not have an aggressive root system. They grow to about 3-4 meters and you can prune them so you can walk and sit under them.
Only problem is you have to prune regularly to keep them in shape, they grow so fast and just goes everywhere. The berries also make some mess and starts growing from the ground.
I am sure you know them, I think is a marvellous tree for a small garden.
I have one question though, are there different varieties of cross berry trees, I have 4 of them, 3 is beautifully, you can stand under the umbrella shape tree and they are 3-4 meters high, the other one does not go higher than 2 meters, the leaves seems smaller and it has a compact type of growth. One could see the difference since I have planted it.

You do get other varieties of Grewia. The Cross-berry (Grewia occidentalis) is the one that is generally planted though.

What about Canterbury bells, hollyhocks and linum? Is February still too early for bulbs? Gauteng

It is better to wait for March/April to start sowing bulbs.

I have a tree in the backyard that is leaning forward. It's quite sturdy but looks strange, growing forward. It's the only tree and I would hate to cut it down. Please advise if I should try and support it upright. If so, how do I do this?

The tree could be getting too little sun, which is why it is leaning forward. If the tree can be pulled upright you can support it with a sturdy pole to anchor it. You can prune the growth that is leaning forward and try and get the branches to grow upright.

We planted new Crassula ground cover mid December last year in our new Cape Town  garden – and most have died. We were told that they don’t like too much watering and don’t mind the sun too much. Was this the wrong time to plant this groundcover – should we try again in Winter – please share your thoughts?

Which Crassula is it? Some Crassula like to grow in some shade. They need to be watered until established and growing well. They are water wise once established.

Is Rudbeckia an annual or a perennial? Free State

There are different varieties of Rudbeckia, some are annual and some are perennial.

Can I have roses any time of the year? North West

Roses flower from spring to autumn. The are dormant in winter.

Please could you let me know if the Berchemia Zeyheri (Red Ivory) is suitable for using as braai wood and if it is poisonous.
I have asked around via the internet but no one is getting back to me. I hope that this time I will be lucky!

We have not found any mention of the wood being poisonous. In fact, the bark is used for medicinal purposes and the wood is used for ornaments.

Please could you advise me how to split a succulent rose which has now lots of little babies around it. Western Cape

The babies can simply be cut off and planted as is.

I have started a small garden in my house and have planted butternut, however, the sprouts rot as soon as they come out. What must I do? Gauteng

Butternut need to grow in well drained compost enriched soil. Plant in a sunny spot. Water well but do not over water.

My wife and I are shortly to move to SA from the UK to live. Among the many issues and details we have to arrange my wife suddenly said "Can we grown daffodils in Port Elizabeth...!!!"..she adores daffodils and we have hundreds in our UK garden which we have to leave behind ... I didn't know... unsurprisingly.
 Can you offer any advice?

You can grow daffodils in Port Elizabeth - they are best planted in a cooler spot.

When is the best time to sow Hollyhock seeds. We are living in Ceres. Very cold in winter. Western Cape

The best time to sow Hollyhock seeds is autumn. March is a good time.

Is Portulacaria afra suitable for sea air? We are close to the beach and it is windy. Western Cape

Yes it is suitable for sea air.

I need to know if Gaura Belleza dark pink looks messy and untidy in winter and if so do you need to cut back in winter. Eastern Cape

It is a good to cut it back after flowering so that you can get fresh new growth in spring.

I have recently started planting ericas and have had several plants die.
 I was told not to use any compost or fertiliser when planting. Your article suggests a 3.1.5 slow release can be used. I have used a wood chip mulch. Is this ok? (George, Western Cape)

Ericas grow in sun in well drained acidic soil. They like free air movement around them and regular water when it is dry. No soil disturbance. 3:1:5 slow release is fine do not overdo and the mulch is fine.

Do ginger plants grow in Gauteng? I've just seen a picture of the potted plants in Brisbane Australia. They're stunning. Meryl Steenkamp, Facebook Wall Post

Edible ginger (Zingibar officinale) will grow in Gauteng. Ginger lilies (Hedychium coccineum, coronarium, flavescens, gardnerianum) are category 1 invaders.

What am I doing wrong if the leaves of my Erica go brown in summer? (Am not sure how much water to give them in summer).
 Western Cape

As your summer is hot and dry they need to be watered well and regularly. Check that the soil drains well.

My star jasmine is over a year old. It is in full sun. The leaves turned yellow, Brown and red. And then the plant started drying up. My other jasmines have a few leaves that are yellow with bright green veins. But these plants are growing well.I added some organic pellets, and 3 1 5 to the top of the soil. I love my jasmine. KZN

Star Jasmine like to grow in well drained soil. They do not like to be overwatered as this could cause the plant to die, but although water wise they do need to be watered in the hot dry summers. Adding the fertiliser is good but do not over fertilise.

My lime tree is slowly dying. The dead branches' bark seems to becoming loose. I do not see any bugs on it and I hate to poison the environment. Epsom salts seems to slow but not stop the dying. Alena, Gauteng

Cut back all the dead branches. Limes like to grow in well drained soil. They need to be watered well and regularly. Epsom salts will help to fertilise the tree, but don’t give too much, rather use a balanced fertiliser like 3:1:5 or the organic Bio Ocean.

Would tecoma capensis grow in Oudtshoorn? Western Cape

Yes it will grow there.

I want to transplant a Pin Cushion Protea from a bed where the roots are being continuously disturbed to a pot. How do I go about this without killing it?!! And what soil do I use? Eastern Cape

You can try and transplant the Pin Cushion but they do not transplant well, especially if the bush is older and big. If you would like to try, remove the bush from the bed with as much soil and roots as possible. Try not to disturb the roots too much. They like to grow in well drained acidic soil.

Conditions for growing Tuberosa? Gauteng

Tuberosa bulbs should be planted in spring once all danger of frost is over. They like to grow in the sun in well drained compost enriched soil. Water regularly but do not overwater.

"In Gauteng, remove green growth on variegated plants like Coprosmas." Does this include windy Pringle Bay in Western Cape?

Green growth should always be removed from all variegated plants even windy Pringle Bay.

Where is the ideal spot to plant rose bushes in glenhills durban north...How much sun do they require? I was considering planting them against the bedroom wall of my home which faces East and receives direct sun till 9am....but would rather take your advice on this. How do I feed them thereafter and how much water do they get? KZN

Roses prefer to grow in the sun where they get at least 6 hours sun a day. They are thirsty and hungry plants. They need to be watered well and regularly. They need to be fertilized at least once a month in the growing season.

What is the best area to plant Clivias? In morning sun or afternoon sun or shaded areas. KZN

They grow best in a shady position, or dappled shade or morning sun.

Need some help - I purchased a dwarf pomegranate tree from nursery lotus nursery in Verulam, north coast (I believe he is good). It's 1.5 metre height - I paid 600.00 .planted in a huge pot; bears flowers ,male / female ,plenty bees around ,it just not fruiting (2 years old) the nursery suggested I feed 515, which I did. Any suggestion ,I am 72 yrs old and I expecting my grand children end of this year, hoping fruits come? KZN

It can take up to 3 years before producing fruit. The fruit is smaller. If you have flowers and the bees hopefully you should get fruit soon.

I bought three varieties of proteas (Pink Lady, Sylvia and Niobi). How long does it take before these proteas will be fully grown? I realised that it depends on the area etc. We live in Gauteng Pretoria. We have sandy soil and our borehole not to good therefore I have decided to try proteas on our one hectare garden. I did plant as recommended.

Proteas like well drained acidic soil. Water regularly until well established. Once established they are water wise. It should take 4-6 years to be fully grown. They can start flowering from 2 years.

I have dense clay like soil and want to plant clivias in this section. How do I condition my soil to be more to their liking? KZN

Clivias like to grow in well drained slightly acidic soil. Add as much well decomposed compost to the soil. If you can find a compost that has pine bark in that is even better.

Due to the rains my roses are losing their leaves and I wondering if I could slightly prune the roses as they look rather sorry for themselves. Gauteng

Yes you can give them a light pruning, you should get new growth. Check that the soil drains well.

We have a lime tree in a container. I'm just not sure how much and when to prune it. Gauteng

You don’t have to prune the lime. Do remove any dead, damaged or spindly branches. You can give it a light pruning if you want to shape it. Do this in autumn or spring.

Can you help me about my problem of my cymbidium orchids there are black spots all over the petals and leaves. Eastern Cape

It is a fungus. Spray with a fungicide like Bravo, Funginex or Virikop

My dietes seems to have fungus. Circular rings on back of leaves. Almost looks like dewdrops from far but up close they are white rings. Any ideas? Gauteng

It could be a fungus. Spray with a fungicide.

How do I cut back Pink Ice after flowering? Eastern Cape   

Cut back the old flower above the leaves just under the flower.

My rose bushes have lost pretty much all leaves but still green stems. Any suggestions to get them happy again?

Prune back the plants lightly, fertilise them and water well.

Wakkerstroom has very cold winters, clayish soil - I LOVE ERICA FLOWERS - please advise me - can I go ahead and plant in wakkerstroom? Mpumalanga

Ericas like to grow in the sun in well drained acidic soil, they like free air movement around them. Certain species can take moderate frost.

Will primulas grow in Reebok, coastal town? I have a corner in the garden that is completely shaded in winter but full sun in summer and thought primulas might look great there. Western Cape

Yes Primulas will grow there in the shade in winter.

Are there any sweetpeas that are suitable for growing in pots? Climbing or hanging.

You can grow climbing sweetpeas in pots big enough to put a trellis in, or try the dwarf sweetpeas in hanging baskets.

Please can you tell me more about the indigenous tree, Combretum? I live in the Upper Highway area, Durban and wish to plant a small tree (no more than 8m - 10m) in full sun to provide some respite for some clivias from the harsh sun. It's a small area and close to the house so a small tree that allows dappled sun and not shade will do. If the combretum would work, from what I read, it sounds beautiful.
 I also looked at the Celtis Africana, but it looks too tall.

The Combretum kraussii, would be ideal as a small tree. Celtis Africana is a large tree that is deciduous.

My polygala myrtifolia which is 10 years old and has been doing well has suddenly died. It is a standard and there are no visible problems. What can be the problem? It is in an east facing flower bed and all surrounding plants are doing well. Free State

Not sure, lifespan is about 15 years although and although drought hardy, it could have died from too little water.

Can i use borehole water to water venus fly trap?

Use distilled water or rain water.

I have had Jasmine star vine pot plant for almost two years and this summer it started dropping flowers and leaves as the leaves turned brown. There are no leaves now and it looks dead. I placed him in the sun but it doesn’t help. Should I give it fertiliser perhaps and what is a good fertiliser? The plant has always been green. Please help.

Scratch the stems and if they are still green, trim the vine back and water it. Do not feed it. If the stems are dry it is dead.

I am wondering if someone could kindly tell me when Lily of the Valley would be flowering in South Africa, if in the northern hemisphere, they flower in May????? I have googled all the possible sites and no joy.

Lily of the Valley do not grow well in South Africa, our soil being too warm for the bulbs, they are not easily available.

What onions is the best to sow in Vereeniging?

Texas Grano