April in your Garden
April, with its rich autumn colours and refreshingly cooler days has arrived, packed with lovely, leisurely long weekends and holidays…so much more time to go gardening!
Get Ready for winter and Plant for spring
- Remove all spent summer annuals in April and plant winter and spring- flowering annuals like Poppies, Pansies, Petunias, Primulas, Cineraria and Violas. Choose from the wonderful range of colours and varieties available on the seedling tables at Lifestyle now – ready to be planted in your beds, pots and hanging baskets. Water regularly and feed fortnightly with an organic Seedling Food or water-soluble fertiliser. Deadhead regularly to encourage flowering.
- Plant winter and spring-flowering bulbs this month as soon as they become available. Prepare soil by mixing in compost and bone meal or vermicast before planting. Feed with a flower bulb food immediately after planting and at monthly intervals throughout the growing season. Water deeply every 4 days.
- Keep Gardenias well-watered during April to prevent bud drop. Gardenias form their buds until late autumn and they open when temperatures start rising in late spring. Lack of water will cause the buds to drop before they open.
- Give acid-loving plants like Hydrangeas, Azaleas and Camellias a dressing of acid-compost.
- Lift and divide summer-flowering perennials such as Agapanthus, Hemerocallis, Iris, Arums and Cannas. Add generous amounts of compost to new planting holes. Keep the divided clumps to a fair size to enable the plant to recover in time for next season. Water well.
- Give roses a final feed of organic 3:1:5 and water twice a week if rainfall is low. Spray preventatively every fortnight against fungal disease and insect infestation. Check for redspidermite.
- This is an ideal time to plant new rose bushes, shrubs and trees as their roots will be well established and they will burst forth with new foliage in spring.
- New hedges should also ideally be planned and planted now. Good options for a hedge include Buxus, Abelia, Duranta, Camelia, Cuphea, Freylinia, Westringia, Viburnum, Nandina and Pittosporum. ‘Edible’ hedges like Bay Laurel, Rosemary, Num-num, Quinces and Pomegranates are very popular and trendy.
- Autumn is the perfect time to start a compost heap or invest in a compost bin and use all disease-free prunings, old spent plants and leaves to make your own wholesome compost. You can also add the contents of you Bokashi bin to you compost heap to break it down further. Speed up the process by adding compost activator.
- Collect all the fallen autumn leaves and use as a mulch or add to the compost heap. Alternatively collect leaves in black plastic bags and leave to decompose into wonderful leaf mold. Mind that you don’t use diseased leaves though.
Your April sowing guide
Ensure a continuous harvest and beautiful winter colour by sowing your favourites of the following now:
Vegetables: Asian greens, Beetroot, Broad Beans, Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Kale, Kohlrabi, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Radish, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Turnips.
Herbs: Parsley, Chervil, Chives, Garlic chives, Coriander, Caraway and Rocket
Flowers: African Daisy, Alyssum, Aquilegia, Antirrhinum, Bellis, Calendula, Cineraria, Dianthus, Diascia, Gazania, Godetia, Linaria, Nemesia, Pansy, Phlox, Fairy Primulas, Petunias, Poppies, Stocks, Viola and Virginian Stocks.
Sow your Sweet Peas seeds now in a sunny spot in the garden for spring fragrance and joy!
In the food garden
- Plant winter vegetable and herbs seedlings out into prepared beds when they are strong enough – as a rule of thumb when they have four true leaves. Plant with bone meal or Bio Rock and feed with seedling food to give them a good start. Mulch well and keep moist.
- Feed vegetables and herbs that are actively growing now with an organic 6:3:4 or 8:1:5 fertiliser.
- Do a final harvesting of annual herbs. Dig up what’s left and add to the compost heap. Some herb plants like comfrey, borage and yarrow will speed up the decomposing process and add precious nutrients to the compost.
- Harvest the last of your potato crop and summer veg now and pull up spent plants.
- This is a good month to plant deciduous fruit trees like peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots. If space is a problem, why not try your hand at the art of espalier?
- Keep citrus trees moist and replenish the mulch layer around the trees if needed.
- Garlic bulbs can still be planted in April. Plant in full sun in beds or containers with well-draining soil. You will find good quality garlic bulbs in the bulb section at Lifestyle Home Garden.
- Divide and re-plant or plant new strawberry and rhubarb plants.
- Now is a great time to create your own indoor haven with the lush foliage and textures of the wide range of indoor plants and ferns that Lifestyle has on offer.
- Bring colour indoors and onto the patio with the Phalaenopsis Orchid (Moth Orchid), Cyclamens or Chrysanthemums available in striking colours. Add a dash of fun with the all new, zany Polka Dot Begonia!
- As temperatures start to drop, decrease the watering of indoor plants.
Think ahead and plant the following now for colour during the drab winter months:
- Hypoestes aristata (Ribbon Bush)
- Aloe spp (Aloes) – some of the new hybrid Aloes have a longer or different flowering time and can, if planned and grouped properly, ensure colour from autumn right through winter.
- Leptospermum scoparium ‘Cherry Brandy’ (Australian Tea bush)
- Euryops virgineus (Honey Daisy)
- Camellia japonica (Common Camellia)
- Azalea spp (Azalea)
- Your choice of our beautiful Fynbos selection of Protea spp (Sugarbush), Erica spp (Heather), Leucospermum (Pincushion), Leucadendron (Cone bush) and many more.
- Kniphofia praecox (Red-hot poker)
MAKE A DATE TO REFLECT: Saturday, the 22nd of April, is EARTH DAY – a perfect time to consider our role as gardeners and plant parents and the vast opportunities available to all of us as a global family to commit to the care of our beautiful, and only, planet Earth.