How to keep your flowers blooming through summer and beyond


Careful planning can keep the garden colourful for another year.

Words: Jane Wrigglesworth

Sow seeds of campanulas, carnations, cornflowers, dianthus, granny’s bonnets, and hollyhocks for spring flowering.

Collect seeds of bellflowers (campanula), cleome, delphiniums, foxgloves, granny’s bonnets, mallows, marigolds and snapdragons. Sow the granny’s bonnets and foxgloves now or save some seeds for next year.

Sow pansy and primula seeds for winter flowering.

Take verbena cuttings. Choose non-flowering side shoots off a main stem and cut just below a leaf joint, to around 8cm long. Remove leaves from the lower half of the stem. Dip ends in rooting hormone and plant in pots with propagating mix.

You can fit five cuttings around the edge of a 10cm pot. Water and place in a warm, bright position out of direct sunlight. When rooted (6-7 weeks), pot up individually and keep in a frost-free spot over winter until spring.

If your delphiniums had their peak flowering period in December, they should be throwing up new growth about now, or will do by March. Water well, and feed with a fertiliser with NPK 12-10-10. Apply a mulch of compost and sprinkle around slug bait. Spray with a fungicide if you see powdery mildew.

Pruning your lavender bush? Use some of the clippings as tip cuttings. Cut off non-flowering side shoots just above a pair of leaves. The cuttings need to be about 2.5cm long. Plant in a pot with propagating mix and gently water. Place the pot in a warm, sheltered position to root. If using a heated propagator, the cuttings will root in two weeks.

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Collect godetia seeds, which mature about 30 days after flowering. Remove seed heads, leave to dry completely, then open the pods and pour the seeds into an envelope or airtight container. Label and store in a dry, cool place.

Clear and burn rose leaves that are infected with disease.

Keep bedding plants and hanging baskets looking good with frequent pruning, deadheading, weeding, feeding, and watering. If annuals are looking straggly, cut them back by about one-half their length. In high heat, hanging baskets may need watering twice a day. Feed with a quick-acting, high potash, liquid, tomato-specific fertiliser.

Re-pot last year’s cyclamens into fresh potting mix or soil, in a container one size bigger.

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NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
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