Here are four easy plants to brighten up your garden, with tips to keep them looking their best. We asked our Horticulturist, Javiera Bolivar, for some tips and tricks that you can apply to your own garden this winter.
Rhodanthe Paper Daisy
Paper daisies are will known for providing grand annual displays. They come is a variety of species with most flowers coming in pinks, whites and yellows. They are a great alternative for people that like to grow annuals but prefer natives to exotics, They take little room only requiring small pots. They are also a great cutting flower as they flowers last long but can also be used for dead fower displays. Paper daisies are short lived and have a long flowering season. When in pots make sure to water well as they can dry out fast and give a native fertiliser during the warmer months.
Ceratopetalum NSW Christmas bush
NSW Christmas bush grows into a small tree in its natural habitat, but it can still be grown as a small bush in a pot with a prune after the red sepals have finished. NSW Christmas bush flowers similarly to a Bougainvillea, small cream coloured flowers appear in late spring/ early summer that give way the red flush that most people know. Popular as cut flowers for vases the plant can be pruned back at this stage for a floral display. Plant in a native or sandy soil mix in full sun or part shade where it is wind protected. Make sure the soil is well drained but keep the soil moist. Dwarf versions are also available in nurseries.
Geranium and Pelargoronium sp
Geraniums and Pelargoniums are usually conflated, though they have different flowers. Some prefer moist soils while some prefer dry. The varieties most commonly available in nurseries will fall under the Pelargonium genera and come in bright colours. The Geranium genera, while also available from nurseries tend to be more available from specialised retailers.
Both benefit from a prune in Autumn as they tend to get leggy if left to their own devices. Planting in a good premium soil mix will help with draining and for those that prefer wet or dry soils. A good slow release fertiliser when planting will also help with nutrition. Dead head as needed and remove any dead or yellowing foliage that appears throughout the season.
Rhododendrons are acid loving plants that should be planted in an Azalea or Rhododendron specific potting mix or have compost mixed into a premium potting mix. The best position for a Rhododendron is where it can receive filtered or early morning sun and is sheltered from wind, cold and direct afternoon sun.
Rhododendrons have a shallow root system which requires consistent watering. If the soil mixture is adequate the soil should drain well, and water logging will be avoided. Add a slow release Rhododendron fertiliser and follow the instructions. When pruning, you can either dead head after flowering or if needed it will bounce back after a hard prune.