Summer - Planting and maintenance garden guide

The Australian summer fills gardeners with trepidation - will it be unbearably hot and dry or will torrential rains create havoc?

For most of us, it's all about outdoor entertaining, the festive season and holidays but, if your garden is to survive the vagaries of Summer, there is some work to be done.


light-bulb-icon@2x.png Planting

Early summer is still a good time to plant out flowers and vegetables. Avoid planting in the heat of the day and try to get them all in the ground or pots before the end of December. Water seedlings in with Scotts Pure Organic Premium Seaweed Liquid Plant Food - use the concentrate and dilute it in a watering as the label recommends.

Plant flowers, bulbs and vegetables as early in summer as possible. Once daytime temperatures hit 30 deg C or more, it's too hot to plant tender seedlings and bulbs. Suggestions for early Summer include:


The flower garden

  • Autumn flowering bulbs such as sternbergia (sometimes known as the autumn daffodil), belladonna lilies (also known as naked ladies!) and autumn crocus (colchicum)
  • Petunia, impatiens, celosia, bedding begonia, French marigold, zinnia, salvia, sunflower, torenia and verbena

light-bulb-icon@2x.png The vegetable patch

  • Zucchini, pumpkin, beans (dwarf/bush & climbing), broccoli, cabbage, carrot, leek, lettuce, sweet corn, cucumber and late season tomatoes
  • Plant herbs in the vegetable plot and pots or dotted around in the flower garden - many make great companion plants!

    Check out our 'How to Grow the Ultimate Potted Tomato' video

    Read our 'How to grow tasty tomatoes' story

light-bulb-icon@2x.png Feeding

Plants need regular feeding if they are to continue growing strongly and healthily. If you used a six or 12 month controlled release Osmocote in Spring, you don't need to reapply it yet.


Garden beds


light-bulb-icon@2x.png Pruning

Trimming evergreen trees and shrubs in early summer will help keep them neat and tidy as well as encourage bushiness, rather than long, straggly growth

  • Lightly prune camellias and azaleas where needed in early summer.
  • Keep hedges trimmed often and lightly
  • Continue to remove the dead flowers ('dead-head') all summer annuals & perennials and summer-flowering shrubs including roses.

light-bulb-icon@2x.png Lawn Care

  • Raise the cutting height of the mower to leave the grass longer - this reduces moisture loss from the soil and provides some shade to the soil and roots
  • Take the catcher off the mower and mulch mow, leaving the clippings as an insulating layer over the lawn
  • Where local regulations permit, or if you have abundant tank water, give lawns one deep soaking per week to keep them green and healthy
  • Watch for weeds and remove them by hand before they grow too large
  • Lawn Grubs can be active in lawns in warmer areas. If you didn't treat the lawn in Spring, then an application of Scotts Lawn Builder™ + Grub & Insect Control now will assist in

Read more in our Complete Guide to Lawn Care

light-bulb-icon@2x.png Controlling garden pests

  • Protect summer vegetables and other edibles against caterpillars, thrips, aphids, whitefly and other soft-bodied insect pests with Defender™ Pyrethrum Insect Spray
  • Mites can do a lot of damage to ornamental plants. Try Defender™ MaxGuard which is also effective and long-lasting against a wide range of other pests. DO NOT use it on food plants!
  • Watch out for black spot on roses. Spraying with diluted milk powder may be effective.

    Watch our 'Stop the Bugs in Your Garden & Home' video