‘Hardy’ plants which will add ‘gorgeous’ colour to your garden now11/23/2022
Gardening: Expert advises on growing climbing plants
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Autumn is a great time of year to start adding new plants to the garden before the frost sets in. The soil is still slightly warm, meaning the conditions are great for the roots to start growing on a plant straight away. An expert has shared three plants which he “recommends” planting now, to thrive over the winter months.
Head Gardener from Tresco’s famous Abbey Garden, Andrew Lawson, said: “We plant flowers from all around the world, such as Brazil, Burma and South Africa. I’m constantly changing what my favourite plants are, but top contenders have been King Proteas, Lobster Claws and Pelargoniums, but generally, the more exotic the better.
“If you’re looking for hardy plants that will survive the winter months, there are three I would recommend. This includes the luma apiculata from southern Chile which can grow eventually to seven metres, with gorgeous orange peeling bark and white flowers.”
This plant can last for up to 50 years, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), and is great to grow in a variety of areas within the garden including on the patio, in containers, with Mediterranean climate plants or in wall side borders.
The plant will produce foliage all year round, while flowers will appear in summer and autumn, with fruit also appearing during the winter months. The RHS said this shrub needs full sun or partial shade to grow but can grow in a variety of different conditions, including in chalk, clay, loam and sand.
Andrew added: “I also recommend the mitraria coccinea from southern Chile, a low scrambling shrub which can grow to 1.5 metres. It has beautiful orange/red sparkling flowers in summer.”
Also known as the scarlet mitre pod plant, this shrub has foliage all year round, flowers in spring and summer and will produce fruit in the summer and autumn months too. Due to its “hardy” nature, it enjoys shelter and a semi-shaded position in peaty, acidic soil.
The gorgeous plant is generally trouble-free as well as pest-free and is easily propagated. The RHS said to propagate this shrub, take stem cuttings in summer or propagate by seed sowing with bottom heat in summer.
It can also be grown as a climbing or standalone shrub, giving gardeners a variety of options in the garden. It is recommended to plant it in containers on its own, making sure they are big enough or up the side of a wall.
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Tresco’s gardening expert continued: “I also recommend the metrosideros umbellata, a small tree from southern New Zealand that has red flowers in summer.” The expert said all three of these plants and shrubs will survive the cold winter months outdoors.
Andrew added: “To protect plants and flowers from the frost, larger more tender plants may need fleecing to protect them, especially if there is a forecast drop in temperature. Fleecing is a thin, non woven fabric which is used to protect both late and early crops and delicate plants from cold weather and frost.
“It’s very easy to use. Simply wrap your plant with it, making sure it is not too tight, or put it on top of your patch, while making sure it’s nice and secure with pegs or string.
“If you have plants like aeoniums in pots outside, now is the time to think of moving them into a well lit position in a conservatory or cold glasshouse to keep them fairly dry. Cold and wet weather is usually more damaging.”
If gardeners are worried about the frost damaging their favourite plants, the expert recommended taking cuttings from it, in the hope they will grow into additional plants. This way, gardeners can also save money too because they will not have to buy more plants or shrubs from the garden centre.
While it may not seem like it, November is a great month to give gardeners a head start on the gardening year ahead, bringing flower and vegetable harvest times forward. Spring is such a busy time of the year, with lots of gardening to do, so sowing as much as you can now, will save time next year.
The RHS said: “This month is perfect for planting new fruit trees and bushes, but only if the ground is not frosted or too wet. Dig over, and weed, vacant areas of the vegetable plot incorporating well-rotted organic matter. Sow overwintering broad beans too, in mild areas only.
“Sow them outside or under cloches where the soil is well drained, or in pots in an unheated greenhouse in cold districts.” Garlic gloves can also be planted in modules inside a cold frame, or outdoors in mild areas in their final position. Garlic will thrive in free-draining soils and low rainfall areas only.
Houseplants are also popular in the winter months, with many gifting them over the festive period, including plants like poinsettias. Morag Hill, Co-Founder of The Little Botanical, has shared an easy care guide for poinsettia owners.
According to the expert, poinsettias like to be kept moist but not soggy. It is important the top layer of soil is drying out in between waterings because letting them sit in water can cause root rot. Root rot is a relatively common houseplant disease which will kill plants if left untreated.
The houseplant expert explained: “The ideal temperature for your poinsettia is between 13C and 16C. They are sensitive to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, so make sure you choose a spot out of draughts and away from radiators.
“They will enjoy a bright spot away from direct sunlight.” Poinsettias also “thrive” in humid conditions, meaning they are great plants for naturally humid rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens.
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