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The festive season heralds the vibrant colour of Pohutukawa, the “New Zealand Christmas tree”. Its stunning red flowers are a feature of our coastline in mid-Summer and are a rich source of nectar for bees and native birds.
Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsea) can be started from seed and will eventually grow to around 5 – 8 m tall when mature. There are also new dwarf varieties that grow to a much more compact 1 – 3 m and can be planted into containers or grown as a dense hedge. They’re hardy plants, tolerating dry, coastal and full sun conditions.
Native plants like Pohutukawa will benefit from being fed each spring and autumn with Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food. It’s a pelletised blend of composted chicken manure, blood & bone, fishmeal and seaweed and releases organic nutrients slowly to gently feed plants.
Regular applications of Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food will help to improve the levels of organic matter in the soil, which encourages earthworms and beneficial soil microorganisms as well as promoting improved soil moisture and nutrient storage.
After the floral frenzy of spring, it’s fantastic to be able to include summer flowering plants like Pohutukawa in your garden, to help ensure an ongoing supply of food for birds, bees and other beneficial insects.
Dahlias are one of the ultimate summer floral statements, with showy flowers in beautiful colours that are a wonderful treat after spring flowers have faded.
Dahlias are often planted as tubers during Spring, but if you didn’t get around to planting some, there’s no need to miss out on this spectacular flower, with potted dahlias being available in garden centres during Summer.
The Dahlinova™ series of dahlias from Rainbow Park Nurseries have been specifically chosen for their eye catching and uniquely shaped flowers. They’ll flower from Spring until Autumn and come in a spectacular range of colours and bi-colours including Dahlinova Florida which has white and deep pink double flowers, Dahlinova Lisa Burgundy with double burgundy flowers, creamy white Dahlinova Lisa White and Dahlinova New York which has double white flowers with pink accents.
Dahlinova dahlias create a stunning display in garden beds and pots, where they’re perfect for a brightening up a patio or veranda. They like a warm, sunny spot and these dahlias have outstanding rain and temperature tolerance. To keep these dahlias looking their best, keep the soil or potting mix moist and remove spent flowers to promote repeat flowering. They’ll also appreciate a regular feed with a high potassium plant food like Yates Thrive Roses Flowers Liquid Plant Food, which will encourage healthy leaf growth and lots of gorgeous flowers.
Pest watch: Slugs & snails love to devour tender dahlia foliage. Keep them under control with a light sprinkling of Yates Baysol Slug & Snail Bait
Whether your Christmas colour theme is purest snowy white, sparkly silver and purple or traditional green, gold and red, you can coordinate your decorations with some gorgeous pots of flowers to brighten up your Christmas dinner table or outdoor entertainment area. A bonus is that your floral creation can last for months!
Here’s some inspiration:
To promote lots of healthy growth and festive flowers, keep the pots well-watered and feed each week with Yates Thrive Roses Flowers Liquid Plant Food. It’s a complete plant food that’s boosted with additional flower-promoting potassium. Regularly trim off any dead flowers to help keep the plants looking tidy.
Festive touches – before guests arrive you can add some final pizzazz to the pots such as ribbons, baubles, sprigs of holly and tinsel or even magical fairy lights.
The Northern hemisphere enjoys vibrant red poinsettias during their chilly Christmas weather, which is when they naturally flower and produce their showy coloured bracts.
New Zealanders can also enjoy beautiful poinsettias during our hot summers due to some very clever light control done by plant nurseries.
They create an artificially short 10-hour day in special greenhouses, for around 2 months, to convince the poinsettias that it’s no longer summer and they should start flowering!
Gorgeous pink and white poinsettias are also available and provide some friendly festive competition to traditional red poinsettias. A white poinsettia planted into a decorative pot and teamed with Christmas ribbon makes an impressive table centrepiece or gift.
And the pink poinsettias are just so pretty and are perfect when combined with white and silver decorations.
You can also repot the poinsettia into a slightly larger pot, using a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix, or plant it out into the garden in a sheltered spot with well-drained soil.
Summer is when crepe myrtles start their fabulous flower show, with trees being smothered in vibrant flowers for many weeks. Available in a range of different flower colours, from white through to light and dark pink, lavender and almost red, crepe myrtles also have fabulous autumn foliage colours and very attractive bark.
There are crepe myrtles to suit both large and small gardens, with tall varieties like crimson ‘Saint Emilion’ reaching 4 m and pink flowered ‘Little Chief’ being a compact 1.5 m tall.
After flowering has finished, where possible trim off the spent flower heads to help keep the crepe myrtle tidy and spread Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food around the root zone to encourage new growth and improved soil health.