We are already in August and spring is just a few days away. While Christmas may not be at the top of your mind, this is the perfect time to prepare your festive garden to impress your friends and family at Christmas. Red and white flowers dotted across the garden will set the scene for a beautiful, summer Christmas.
What to Plant for Christmas:
Affectionately known as Christmas flowers, Hydrangeas (h. macrophylla) are a firm favourite amongst South Africans and flourish in gardens across the country. While traditionally these flowers were available in shades of blue and white, they are now available in a variety of colours. The bright red Hydrangeas will add great festive colour to the garden when placed in alkaline soil, speak to your GCA to find out which plant feed would be best to use for these Hydrangeas. Place your hydrangeas in areas with good light but out of direct sunlight and water once a week, though once the weather starts warming up these thirsty plants will need to be watered daily in hot weather conditions.
Nothing says Christmas like the Poinsettia (euphorbia pulcherrima). These bright red leafy plants will add festive cheer to the garden, whether big or small. These sun-loving plants are best planted in full sun but will grow in part shade too. Plant in well-drained, compost-enriched soil. To ensure you do not overwater the plants, check the soil is moist and only water when dry to the touch. The plants will require more frequent watering in the summer months, particularly if placed in direct sunlight. The Poinsettia will need to be fertilised weekly from mid-spring to the end of summer. Ask your GCA which fertiliser will be the best to maximise growth for Christmas.
Don't forget about the indoors, plant Poinsettias in sunny areas around the house to add some festivity and pops of bright colour to the house. The pots can be decorated and used as Christmas table centrepieces or could be used as Christmas gifts for friends and family to enjoy some Christmas foliage in their own homes.
Another plant that can be planted indoors or outdoors is the Amaryllis (hippeastrum). These showy trumpet-shaped blooms are available in a variety of colours to add bursts of flamboyant colour to the garden and home. They are easy to grow and require little more than to be planted in well-drained soil in a sunny area and water only when the soil is dry to the touch. Plant your Amaryllis bulb now, and you'll start to enjoy the flowers from October. If planting them in pots, be sure to use heavy clay pots as these plants can be top-heavy and fall over if placed in light-weight plastic pots.
For more advice on bringing your Christmas garden to life, visit your local GCA Garden Centre https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/category/garden-centres/ or join the conversation on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/lifeisagardensa