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Published on December 1st 2021

by Unknown.

A close up of a flower
‘Tis the season to prepare your garden for the holidays. Whether you’ll be home for December’s festivities or relaxing on a sunny beach, your garden needs the proper preparation and protection for the merry time ahead.
In this first month of summer, gardens are once again filled with colour as roses come into their second flush, vibrant annuals burst into bloom, and gorgeous hydrangeas and Agapanthus flowers give dazzling displays.
A close up of a flower
Whilst you enjoy the summer display, remember to check these garden tasks off your to-do list early in the month to enjoy a restful festive season.
Garden tasks to take care of in December:

MUST dos in the garden this month

  • If you're going away for the holidays, remember to prepare your garden for the time you'll be away. Find a list of garden to-dos and tips on preparing your garden for the holidays in the article below.

Holiday Garden Checklist


  • Mulch every bed, container plant, hanging basket, shrub, tree and indoor plant. Mulch keeps the soil cool, combats evaporation, discourage weeds and protects tender new roots.
A bird that is standing in the dirt
A pink flower on a plant

General tasks

  • Stay on top of weeding this month.
  • To ensure your lawn is picnic-perfect, feed with high nitrogen fertilizer and water well. Don’t feed the lawn if you are going away.
  • Ensure all areas in the garden, including containers plants and hanging baskets, receive sufficient water during the long summer days.
A person is holding a bat
Not sure how to take softwood cuttings? Dig into this easy step-by-step guide below.
  • Remove faded crinum flower heads and feed. Be sure to save the fleshy seeds for planting.
  • Divide overcrowded bearded irises and gazanias.
  • Lift and divide Acanthus if necessary. Cut down faded and old leaves and flower stems down to the ground. Give it a good layer of mulch and compost and water once a week during hot, dry weather.
A bird sitting on a branch
  • Prune all hedges for neatness.
  • Clean out all ponds and water features, and invest in some new floating greenery. Water lilies and other water plants will be at their best now.
  • Plant up insect-repellent plants like lemongrass, rosemary, lavender, mint and lemon thyme to keep the bugs at bay during a braai.
A plant in a garden
*Tip: Be careful not to over-water Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, lavender and thyme. They like it dry in summer.
  • Trim back spring growth and pinch back perennials such as Fuchsias, chrysanthemums and Pelargoniums to encourage bushy growth.
  • Stake tall perennials to prevent them from falling over.
  • Continue planting Gladioli for succession.
  • After the flowering, lift and divide and overcrowded irises.
A close up of a flower

Rose care

  • Feed with 8:1:5 granular fertilizer.
  • Keep a good layer of organic mulch around your roses.
  • Spray preventatively against fungus, black spot, insects, and red spider mite before leaving.
A pink flower on a plant

Food garden

  • Sow or plant a final summer crop of carrots and beetroot, tomatoes, fennel, dill, sweet peppers, eggfruit, and spinach.
  • Cut rocket back to encourage new leaves.
*Tip | If you’re going on holiday, postpone delicate tasks like seed sowing, division, potting up and the taking of cuttings until you are home again.
  • Harvest all your veg before going away and share with neighbours and friends.
A pile of fresh produce
  • Harvest onions by lifting with a fork, shake off any extra dirt and hang out to dry in a cool, shady area.
  • Give citrus trees their mid-season feed of granular fertiliser.
  • After harvesting fruit from deciduous trees, apply a post-harvest feed and cut back watershoots.
  • Give citrus trees their mid-season feed, apply a layer of organic mulch and water well.
  • After fruiting, remove dead or diseased canes from berries and cut out old woody canes down to soil level.
A close up of a flower

Indoor plant care

  • On hot, dry days spritz leaves with water to increase humidity.
  • Wipe dusty leaves with a wet cloth or give them a good wash in the shower.
*Tip | Do not wet leaves with hairy or grey leaves as they are prone to rotting.
  • Keep feeding Hippeastrum lilies every two weeks with liquid fertiliser.
A vase of flowers sitting on top of a green plant

Look out for these pests

  • Watch out for red spider mite.
  • Avoid blight and mildew on tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and pumpkins.
  • Put out bait for slugs and snails.
  • Splash bait on the leaves of pumpkins, squashes, and fruit trees to prevent attack by fruitfly.
  • Discard fallen fruit responsibly to prevent fruit fly infestation.
  • Amaryllis caterpillar on crinums and other bulbous plants.

A few festive tasks!

  • Hang a welcoming festive wreath made from plant material from your garden on the front door.
  • Christmas is a time for a lot of whites to cool down the garden. Plant white roses, gardenias, begonias, agapanthus, chrysanthemums, impatiens, star jasmine and orange jasmine.
  • String up fairy lights all over the garden add a festive touch.
A close up of a flower
White blooms to inspire your festive garden:

December's flowering favourites


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