A lot of plants in the garden lie dormant throughout the winter months, which makes it easy to forget about our sleeping greenery.

But now is the time to start thinking about how you can prepare for the flowers that will soon start shooting up as the cold weather leaves us. A bit of careful pruning and planting will ensure your garden is in tip-top condition when the spring sun shines.

As we approach the end of winter it’s time to take a good look at your hibiscus and consider how to prune it. It’s more common to prune in September, but if you prune hibiscus in August instead, the new growth will arrive early and toughen up before the erinose mite has time to breed. Erinose mites like nothing better than soft new growth on a hibiscus flower in September. After pruning, give the hibiscus a good drink of Seasol and Power Feed to encourage it to form new growth.

Canna Lilies
It is time to tidy up your canna lillies. They will be pretty dormant now and starting to look untidy. Cut out any spent flowering stalks right down to ground level but be careful not to destroy any new shoots. Dig up the whole clump and get rid of all the old dead and rotten rhizomes. Dig in a lot of good compost and cow manure, then replant the good healthy rhizomes with the neck of the rhizome sticking out of the ground. A good layer of sugar cane or straw mulch will complete the job.

Passionfruit vine
How is your passionfruit vine going? If it has been growing for a few years then it is time to go and have a look at it and prune out any dead vines and bare stems. Clean up any accumulated rubbish from the ground and get rid of any fallen fruit in the garbage bin not the compost bin. As the weather warms up and the vine starts to put out new growth, scatter several handfuls of Dynamic Lifter around the base and give it a good watering. Putting Dynamic Lifter on the surface will ensure the ground gets a steady, slow feed of fertiliser every time it rains.

Cacti Gardens
If you have a cacti garden then beware. At this time of the year the cacti will be dormant, but with all this rain and humidity about, they can be subject to attack by black spot fungus. This is the same black spot that attacks and kills roses. Check in all the crevices and between the ribs of the cacti. Spray with Triforine if you see a sign of black spot to stop it in its tracks.

By Hugh Meyers*

*Hugh Myers is a member of the Ku-ring-gai Horticultural Society inc. The society meets on the first Tuesday of the month at St Ives Village Hall, Memorial Rd, St Ives (opposite Woolworths) at 7:30 pm. Visitors are welcome. Phone 9449 6245.