Winter - Planting and maintenance garden guide

Short days, cold nights, biting winds off the ocean and lashing rain all indicate Winter is with us again.

For those living in northern areas, Winter is typically sunny with mild to warm days while in the south, days suitable for gardening may be few and far between.

There's plenty to do outdoors to keep warm!



Even though the soil is cold, Winter is the season to plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs, including fruit trees, while they are dormant. Garden centres will be full of stock from late June right through to early Spring. Some flower and vegetable seedlings can also go in now. Here's a few suggestions:

The flower garden

  • Bare root roses and deciduous trees and shrubs
  • Seedlings of Iceland poppy, cineraria, calendula, pansy and viola
  • Make a list of shrubs you like for their Winter flowers - and remember to plant them next Spring!
    Camellias, daphnes, magnolias and wattles bloom from mid to late Winter.

The vegetable patch

  • Kohlrabi, carrot, leeks, sweet potato, cabbage in warmer areas
  • When it's too cold to garden outside in the vegetable patch, trying growing some vegetables and herbs in pots.

    Check out our video 'Grow Organic Potted Herbs'


While most of the garden 'goes to sleep' over Winter, vegetables, bulbs and annuals flowering or cropping now will benefit from an occasional application of plant food.


Garden beds


  • We do not generally recommend fertilising lawns over Winter because most grasses are either dormant or making very little growth. However, an application of Scotts Lawn Builder Plus Organics over Winter may help amend poor soil and have your grass bouncing back quicker and greener next spring.


Winter is pruning time for most trees and shrubs, apart from those producing spring blossoms - cut them back after they've flowered. If pruned too soon (in winter), most of their early Spring flowers will be removed.

  • Cut back herbaceous perennials like wind flowers, penstemon, catmint, bergamot, canna.
  • Prune deciduous ornamental trees and shrubs if required - maple, ash, elm, etc
  • Don't prune Spring-flowering shrubs and trees now - wait until after flowering
  • Prune deciduous fruit trees including apple, pear, peach, apricot, plum, cherry, almond and nectarine
  • Prune roses in mid-to-late July - make sure pruning is complete by early August at the latest

    Read more about pruning and training fruit trees

Lawn care

Watch for signs of water-logging over Winter, especially after heavy rain. If required, aerate again to allow excess water to soak into the soil.

  • Lawns that are saturated on a regular basis will improve greatly if a permanent undergound drainage system is installed.
  • Treat bindii in lawns as soon as seedlings appear, usually in August, with Scotts Lawn Builder + WeedkillControlling them will save your feet from the prickles in summer and autumn. Check the pack BEFORE use to ensure it is safe to use on your lawn type.

    Watch our 'Create a Weed & Pest Free Lawn' video

Controlling garden pests


Protect winter vegetable crops like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli from aphids with Defender Pyrethrum Insect Spray