Living Mulch Garden Mastery: Living mulch

Life is a Garden invites you to bring your soil to life this March with mulch that’s teaming with both micronutrients and gorgeousness. With our special selection of plants, you can grow living, eco-optimal mulch solutions that will super-charge your soil, save time and money, and increase the beloved biodiversity in your garden.


Know your options  

Depending on your personal style, gardening goals, and landscaping purposes, you may be drawn to using different mulch options in specific parts of the garden.  Which mulch suits your needs best?


Living Mulch Info
Wood chips
Bring your soil to life

Living mulch mimics a forest floor with an ever-growing protective layer of foliage that keeps soil temperature cool in summer and warm in winter. As plants loose leaves, organic, biodegradable matter is added to the micronutrient hot pot, increasing good bacteria and homing insects.

Living mulch is especially advantageous for:
  • Filling large barren areas and beds
  • Creating thriving plant communities
  • Diversifying plant species
  • Protecting edibles in the veggie patch
  • Saving you money as plants multiply
  • Optimal moisture retention
  • Full, lush landscaping
  • Increasing and sustaining biodiversity
Take caution of smothering

Using living plants as mulch means that they will grow, of course. Take caution against accidental smothering of your other crops and adapt your plant choices arrestingly. Here are some tips:

  • When planting living mulch in full sun, hot/dry climates, plant compactly to fully protect the soil.
  • In cool/wet climates (or in shaded areas), plant living mulch with a bit of space between the plants to allow excess moisture to escape and to allow each plant to spread out and access more sunshine.
  • When in doubt, use fewer living mulch plants in the vegetable garden and go for beneficial companion plants that won’t shade out the crop in question or interfere with its root system.

Did you know?

Growing and caring for clivias Garden Mastery

Clivias are one of South Africa’s indigenous super stunners and have become quite the collector’s dream. Luckily, you don’t have to be a horticulturist to grow these distinguished plants, just some garden mastery know-how from Life is a Garden. Learn how to correctly harvest clivia seeds, how to grow them, and how to provide long term care for your elite lovelies.


The clivia craze

What’s so special about these plants anyway? For starters, they produce simply exquisite trumpet-like, fragrant flowers with dramatic blooms in sunset shades, both as solid colours and as delightful bi-colour varieties. Owing to their lengthy germinating time (one year from seed to pot) they’ve rightfully earned their place in the professional landscapers garden. Up for the challenge? These beauts can be grown as hero houseplants in a well-lit area, in shaded beds, or in pots on the patio with no direct sunlight. They thrive in rich potting mix with good drainage. Clivias are most active from autumn to spring, but they’ll retain their dainty evergreen foliage all year round.


Top tip: Garden centres are stocked with a truly splendid variety of potted clivias to choose from. Ask the friendly nursery attendants for guidance on what soil mixes to use in beds and pots. They’ll also be able to give you recommendations on fertilisers to give your prized clivias that extra boost.

Growing clivias from seed

There are two ways to get your green fingers on some clivia seeds:

  1. Pop down to your GCA Garden Centre and purchase a seed packet.
  2. Wait for established clivias to produce berries, which contain seeds.

When clivia flowers are pollinated they produce large red berries. Pick your berries as they begin colouring then pop them onto the operating table and follow these steps:

  • Use your thumbs to break open the berries and then remove the insides.