You’re invited…into the garden!

April is a wonderful month to be in the garden, planting winter and spring colour and tidying up summer’s excess.

April is mild, sunny, and perfect for gardening. It is the best time for planting winter and spring flowers that will keep the blues away when the days get shorter and colder.  If space is a problem, think pots or hanging baskets. Even the lawn can get a last boost to keep it green until winter.

For non-stop colour we’re planting petunias and there is a mouth-watering range of novelties to choose from. Here are our favourites:

Queen of Hearts features a red heart on each petal. What could be more dramatic? Plants grow into a flower-covered ball of colour, spectacular for pots and hanging baskets.

Bees Knees is the most intense yellow petunia on the market and holds its colour. It has a spreading growth up to 55cm wide, producing lush blooms all season long with very little attention.


Circus Sky is the latest in the Sky series of Petunias, with white flecks and stripes on bold pink petals. Like Night Sky it is a strong growing, semi-trailing petunia that tolerates wet weather.

Hippy Chick Violet is so bright and happy, the perfect patio companion. The sparkling white edging gives the vivid violet petals a frilly effect. The semi-trailing plants flower non-stop and are showy enough for hanging baskets or containers in pride of place.

What keeps Petunias happy?

  • Plant in full sun or in a position that gets morning sun.
  • When planting in containers, don’t use old potting soil. Wash out the container and fill with new potting soil. Old potting soil can carry disease.
  • Don’t over water. Water once or twice a week. Let the soil dry out before watering.
  • For non-stop flowers, fertilise monthly with a slow-release fertiliser like Vigorosa.

Garden tasks for April

Wait until Easter to plant daffodils and other spring bulbs. Reduce watering of aloes and succulents to prevent stem rot. Use a systemic pesticide to get rid of rust, snout beetle, aphids, and mealybugs.

Divide overcrowded perennials. When replanting, choose healthy, young growth from the edge of the clump.

Fertilise spring flowering shrubs and creepers monthly with Vigorosa and watering regularly.

Trim and shape shrubs that flowered in summer. They only need watering once a month.

Mow the lawn once a week and fertilise with 5:1:5: or Vigorosa once more before winter.

Collect falling leaves and make compost.

Try thisgrow your own strawberries.

Strawberries can be planted this month. Mix acid compost and fertiliser into the soil. Don’t plant too deep – the crown of the strawberry should not be covered by soil. Water regularly during the growing phase and feed weekly with a liquid feed like Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger. When the fruit starts to ripen reduce watering but don’t let the soil dry out. A mulch with pine-needles will keep the fruit off the ground.

‘Durban F1’ is a strong grower with high yields. It produces many side crowns of bright red, conical fruit that is easy to pick and has a good shelf-life.

Pest patrol: protect conifers from conifer aphids by spraying monthly with Ludwig’s Insect Spray. Put the spray nozzle against the stem or branches and, at low pressure, allow the spray mixture run down the stem and branches. This will kill the aphids but not the ladybirds.        

* Compiled by Alice Coetzee

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