Autumn planting guide
Flowers and shrubs
Plant flowering bulbs from mid March to late April so they get established before they flourish in spring, says Warren Worboys, curator of horticulture at Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne.
“Colourful beauties like daffodil, jonquil, freesia, ranunculus, anemone, crocus, hyacinth, tulips and even the native calostemma do well,” says Warren. Or choose pansy, viola, polyanthus, primula, primrose and cineraria or Australian natives like correa, bottlebrush, banksia, lilly-pilly, gum tree and grevillea.
“Planting shrubs when autumn rains have started reduces hand watering and plants are always happier with real rain,” says Warren.
Where to plant them: Choose a spot with plenty of sunlight or dappled shade when planting bulbs. Evergreen trees and shrubs like shadier locations.
Autumn is an ideal time to plant tasty herbs like coriander, garlic bulbs, marjoram, oregano, parsley, thyme, tarragon, lemongrass, mint, rosemary, shallots and native river mint.
“Annual herbs such as parsley and coriander planted in autumn grow particularly well over winter, but consider planting a few seeds every month so you have a succession of plants ready for picking,” says Warren.
Where to plant them: Parsley, basil, thyme, chives, rocket, rosemary and sage like sunny spots, while mint prefers a partly shaded area.
Citrus fruits like lemon, lime and orange trees thrive in autumn. But they don’t like competing for space so don’t allow lawn to grow up close to the trunk and when plants start flowering, feed them with a fruit and citrus fertiliser. Stonefruit trees also do well in autumn.
“Strawberry plants are another gem. They flower in September with the first crop of fruit arriving late spring. Avoid putting fertiliser directly into the hole in which you plant the strawberries – too much nitrogen can produce huge leaf growth and not much fruit,” says Warren.
Where to plant them: Citrus likes plenty of sun exposure and areas that don’t get too much wind. Strawberries also like sunny areas but in hot summers they like some afternoon shade.