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Gardening To-Do’s – Countrywide – August

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What to do in your garden during August

Described by many as one of the best months to visit South Africa, August is a windy month but a month packed with excitement. This is the month when the country begins to warm up, the buds begin to break, blooms begin to boast and gardens begin to grow. Spring is finally here! Your “winter garden” should be in full bloom, your roses and fruits pruned and your lawnmower serviced.

Follow these tips and pointers to help your garden look its best this August.

Plant And Sow


Sowing now will ensure flowers in summer, depending on what you sow you can expect blooms anywhere from 12 to 15 weeks and onwards. 

The following annuals or seedlings can be sown in August.

These annuals or seedlings can be planted out from trays in August:

Herbs and vegetables

  • More permanent crops to plant now in the vegetable garden are globe artichokeschives and rhubarb.
  • Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberoses) can also be planted now. They are frost hardy, quick growing, prefer full sun and tolerate a variety of soils. The tuber is edible and the attractive yellow flowers and growth habit make it an effective screening plant.
  • Garlic can also be planted now, separate and plant them about 75 mm deep in well-drained fertile soil. Remove flowers as they appear and harvest once the foliage turns yellow.
  • Follow these tips when sowing vegetables during August
    • Prepare for the summer veggie patch by sowing tomatoesgreen peppersbrinjals and lettuce in seed trays.
      • Water regularly and inspect often until ready for transplanting in about a month to two.
    • Carrots and beans can also be sown now but don’t bother using seed trays they are happily sown directly into the beds.
    • Sow peas directly into the soil during August, sow thickly and thin out after germination, the germination rate is normally high depending on seed quality but beware of rats, mice, birds and the evil cutworm, they easily destroy seeds and young succulent seedlings.
    • These can be grown in cooler areas but demand protection and won’t bear as well as plants grown in warmer areas of the country.

In cooler areas plant:

 Shrubs and Perennials

  • August is a great time for planting almost anything, visit your local nursery or home improvement store and have a look at what’s available.
  • Clematis can also be planted now, remember they do best with cool soil temperatures.
  • Now is a great time to plant Camellias. They love well-drained soil with slightly acidic soil. Add some pine needles and a good handful of bone meal to the planting hole. Camellias do extremely well in containers so keep this in mind when planting up the patio.
  • Rhododendrons, also known as Azaleas can also be planted now, but don’t plant them too deep. They produce surface roots which don’t like being buried too deep. Azaleas also make great container specimens.
  • Osteospermum daisiesPelargoniumsWallflowers and Diascias as well as Poinsettias and Calliandra are in full flower during August and can all be planted now.
  • Aquilegias can also be planted this month for a spectacular show in springtime.
  • Autumn is also a good time to plant fruit trees, they need pruning now as well.


Whether it be floribundas, standards or hybrid tea’s now is a great time for planting roses. Make sure you dig large planting holes, add plenty of organic matter and a splash of the trusty bone meal. These guys tend to be fussy when it comes to their roots. Remember to water well before and after planting and make sure you have good drainage, roses hate wet feet. Remember to dig the holes nice and deep.


Planting in early spring means you can expect flowers from around mid-summer onwards. In colder areas, to be safe, wait till the end of the month to make sure severe frost has passed.

Bulbs to be planted now and throughout spring include:

View one of our regional maintenance guides for more accurate suggestions.

Garden Maintenance

Prune the following shrubs if not pruned last month:

  • Prune Pride of India trees (Lagerstroemia) to encourage flowering.
  • Cut back, neaten and clean out hedges. Remember to add offcuts to the compost heap.
  • How to prune fruit trees
  • How to prune roses
  • Prune and shape vines.
  • Remove dead, diseased and damaged wood from deciduous trees and shrubs.
  • Now is the time to clean up the tacky trees and shrubs, remove low growing branches, diseased and dead wood and thin out the crown to improve air movement and plant structure.
  • Remember not to prune spring-flowering plants, they flower on wood produced last season and have already set flower buds. Pruning now will not harm the plant but may leave the gardener without those spectacular spring colours.
  • In colder climates now is a safe time to cut back those deciduous grasses, shrubs and perennials, the killer frost has passed and the dead foliage has completed its deciduous job of protecting the heart of the plant.

Pest and Disease

  • Treat conifers with Aphicide if cypress aphids are still present.
  • Powdery mildew may become a problem as damper conditions creep in.
  • Only spray where necessary to keep the garden free of pests. – There are a number of organic products and remedies available.
  • Treat fruit trees for pests with a spray. Remember to spray your roses and affected ornamentals as well as many of them harbour pests which attack fruit trees, Particularly spray Pyracantha and quince.


  • Remove weeds from the lawn by applying a broad-leaf weed-killer, weeds in the garden bed are best removed by hand before they flower and set seed.
  • Minimise weeds by applying mulch and weed guard or landscape fabric and refrain from turning or cultivating the soil.
  • Click here for more on weeds

Feed and fertilize 

  • Give fruit trees their first application of fertiliser, then mulch and water them well.
  • Feed shrubs, trees, climbers and mulch well.
  • Feed flowering annuals every 14 days with a water-soluble fertilizer like Nitrosol or Multifeed.
  • Freshen up vegetable beds with fresh compost and organic fertilizer, after harvesting your vegetables and herbs.
  • Liquid fertiliser can be applied every 14 days to encourage a heavy yield
  • Leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce can be fed with 2:3:2 or a liquid plant food like Multifeed Classic.
  • Lemon trees can be fed 2 kg (for a mature tree) of 3:1:5 and mulch with compost around the tree.
  • Summer and Spring flowering bulbs can be fed with bulb food and should be kept moist, but not overwatered.
  • A dose of 3:1:5 would do your summer-flowering bedding plants well.

Lifting and dividing

  • Lift and divide perennials that were not divided in autumn.
  • Overgrown Zantedeschias or arum lilies can be lifted and divided now.
  • Daylilies or Hemerocallis can be lifted, divided and transplanted now. Prepare the planting holes well with organic matter or compost and some bone meal.
  • Some advice when dividing perennials:
    • Water clumps well before lifting.
    • Some perennials prefer not to be divided into two small sections as this often leads to a longer recovery period.
    • Don’t lift all the plants to be divided at once, lift them as you divide them to minimise exposure of the roots.
    • Remove and replant the young growth and plantlets from the outer edges and discard older growth in the centre of clumps.

Indoor plants

  • Make sure that the water is room temperature. om temperature when watering plants.
  • With a wet cloth or sponge, gently wipe and dust the leaves every two weeks.
  • It’s best to keep your indoor plants away from draughts moving through the room.
  • Single and double-flowered begonias should also be available now.

General Garden Maintenance

  • Start planning the summer garden now.
  • Remember to deadhead annuals and bedding plants regularly and feed every 2 weeks or so with diluted liquid fertilizer.
  • Scarify, aerate, fertilize and water lawns thoroughly.
  • Water and feed hardy summer-flowering annuals regularly.
  • Pull up spent winter annuals and vegetables and prepare the soil for new planting.
  • Continue to remove weeds from lawns and pavings.
  • If your plants are damaged by frost now is a good time to start cutting them back. (wait till the end of the month in cooler areas)
  • Remember to water liliums once a month.
  • Dead, diseased and damaged wood from deciduous trees and shrubs can be removed.


  • Summer and spring-flowering bulbs can be fed with bulb food and should be kept moist, but not overwatered.
  • Start watering dahlias; feed daylilies and liliums with a general fertilizer.
  • Water irises regularly and apply a dressing of superphosphate.


  • Mulch the entire garden well, avoid mulching up against the base of your plant
  • Mulching will prevent the soil from losing moisture on hot days in the warmer regions. Mulch is also great for suppressing weed growth.

For more accurate garden maintenance tips in your climate visit this link and select the most suitable region.

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