Winter sowing

There are still beautiful flowers you can sow in the depths of winter. Here are some ideas for gorgeous floral colour to sow now and enjoy in the months to come:

For temperate areas:

Yates® Statice is tough annual that produces paper textured, vibrant coloured flowers in white, yellow, blue and rose, that can be picked fresh for a vase or dried for a long lasting floral display. Sow seed 6 mm deep into trays or punnets of Yates Seed Raising Mix and transplant into a sunny spot in the garden when the seedlings are large enough to handle.

Just for the tropics and subtropics:

Yates Pink Paper Daisy creates a gorgeous display of papery pink flowers around 14 weeks after sowing. Paper daisies are a drought hardy annual that grow to around 50 cm tall and create a beautiful mass display or potted flower. It’s as easy as scattering seed direct where they are to grow and lightly covering with soil or Yates Seed Raising Mix and keeping the area moist while the seedlings establish.

Yates Ageratum Blue Mink is a beautiful dwarf plant with soft, fluffy blue flowers. Ideal for a sunny or partly shaded flower bed, border or container, ageratum will flower around 12 weeks from sowing. They also make a lovely cut flower.

In cool climates you can continue to include flowers in your garden during July by planting seedlings. Look in your local nursery to see what seedlings and bright potted colour they have to tempt you!  

Flower tips: protect seedlings from damaging snails and slugs with a light sprinkling of Yates Blitzem® Snail & Slug Pellets and then feed flowering plants every week with Yates Thrive® Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food. It will encourage strong healthy plants and lots of beautiful flowers. Trim off spent flower heads regularly to help keep the plants looking tidy and promote more flowers. 


Easy plant propagation

If you have a favourite deciduous shrub or vine growing in your garden that you would like more of, then July is an ideal time to get cloning. Why not try your hand at taking some ‘hardwood’ cuttings. It’s easier than you think!  

Hardwood cuttings is the technical sounding term for taking pieces of stems from plants like hydrangeas, wisteria and grapevines during winter and encouraging them to grow their own roots and create brand new plants.

Here’s a step by step guide to propagating plants from hardwood cuttings:

  • Choose leafless stems around 0.75 – 1 cm thick and cut off 15 – 18 cm long pieces.
  • The top cut should be just above a node (the bud where the new leaves develop) and the bottom cut just below a node. Make a slanted cut at the top so you can remember which way is up.
  • Dip the bottom ends of the cuttings into Yates® Clonex® Red Rooting Hormone Gel. Clonex Red contains a concentrated plant hormone which helps promote root development as well as sealing and protecting the cutting.
  • Insert the dipped ends of the cuttings into pots filled with Yates Seed Raising Mix and keep in a cool, sheltered, well lit position. A Yates Mini Greenhouse provides an ideal environment to keep cuttings until they form roots in a few months time.

Once roots are well established, individual cuttings can be transplanted into small pots to grow until they are big enough to be planted out into the garden.

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Lavender Violet Lace

The Lavender Lace Collection from Plant Growers Australia is a series of early flowering forms of lavender, bearing a range of gorgeous winged flower heads throughout winter and into early spring. The flowers are born on stems that sit proudly above the plant, forming tight domes of bright colour and an impressive display for any landscape during what can be a dreary time of year.

Like all lavenders, the foliage releases a delightful fragrance when brushed against, so hedging a pathway with lavender provides a lovely aroma as well as beautiful flowers. Lavenders also work well when planted repeatedly throughout border gardens and are perfect plants for containers.

Images and Lavender Lace information courtesy of Plant Growers Australia. 

Lavenders attract pollinating insects, so are ideal to include in vegie patches and near fruit trees. They prefer a sunny spot with well-drained soil and should be lightly pruned each year after flowering to keep the plants bushy.

In the The Lavender Lace Collection is Lavandula ‘Violet Lace’ (pictured above), which has intense deep purple flowers on a plant that grows to around 70 cm high and wide.

Every 6 – 8 weeks feed lavender with Yates® Thrive® Natural Roses & Flowers Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food. Spread the pellets around the root zone of both in-ground and potted plants. Yates® Thrive® Natural Roses & Flowers Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food contains a special combination of more than 50% natural ingredients, boosted with fast acting fertilisers, including flower-promoting potassium, to encourage both vigorous green leaf growth and lots of beautiful lavender flowers. 


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Stactice

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Ageratum flowers are tough plants that can even handle a bit of shade. They are the truest blue annuals you can find for your garden.