Fragrant frangipani

BUNDLES OF SWEETNESS: Grapes enjoy a warm dry summer, perfect for Gisborne.
File picture

There’s plenty to keep you busy during February, including enjoying fragrant frangipani, planning for floral colour and creating new plants for free.

If you live in a frost-free area, frangipani can create a lush tropical look in your garden, make a superb shade tree and of course the summer flowers are beautiful and heavenly scented.

Frangipanis can also be grown in pots, where they can be positioned in a warm, protected spot in the garden or on a deck or patio.

Frangipanis come in a range of gorgeous colours, from the traditional white through to apricots, pinks, yellows and rich burgundy, with many varieties having multi-toned blooms. Here are some tips to help keep your frangipani looking fantastic:

  • Feeding — frangipanis will appreciate a feed in February with a fertiliser that will provide a good blend of nutrients for encouraging lots of flowers and healthy leaf growth. Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food is a complete fertiliser that gives frangipanis and other flowering plants a nutrient boost. It’s as easy as diluting 1 x 2 capfuls in a 9 litre watering can and applying around the root zone of both in-ground and potted frangipanis.
  • Watering — if the weather is hot and dry, frangipanis will appreciate deep watering once a week, especially if the tree is still young and the root system is small. There’s no need to keep the soil constantly moist, as frangipanis do best in slightly drier conditions. Regular watering is particularly important for potted frangipanis, as pots can dry out very quickly. A 3cm x 5cm layer of mulch over the surface of the pot (kept away from the trunk itself) will help to minimise moisture loss. During the cooler months, frangipani trees usually do not need to be watered.

Flower tip: bring the beautiful fragrance of frangipani flowers indoors by floating them in a shallow bowl of water.

Keeping it neat, and plants for free

Shrubs like hibiscus that have finished flowering can be trimmed now to keep them tidy. Prune off spent flowers and give plants a quick and easy feed with a fast-acting liquid fertiliser like Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food, which will help restore the plant’s energy reserves after a busy few months of flowering.

Don’t waste any leafy prunings! Turn pruned pieces of stems into cuttings, so you can grow some more plants for your garden. Here are the easy steps to propagate plants from cuttings:

  • Choose pieces of stems 10cm x 15cm long, that are not too soft and floppy. Leafy stems (rather than stems that have flowered) are best.
  • The stem should be cut just below a node (a bump on the stem where leaves emerge). This is where new roots can develop.
  • Remove all but the top two leaves from the piece of stem, and for large-leafed plants like hibiscus, the remaining top leaves can be halved (cut in half crosswise). This helps to reduce the amount of moisture lost from the leaves.
  • Dip the bottom ends of the stems into Yates Clonex Purple Rooting Hormone Gel. Yates Clonex Purple contains a concentrated plant hormone which helps promote root development as well as helping to seal and protect the cutting.
  • Gently insert the dipped ends of the cuttings into pots or trays filled with moist Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix and keep in a cool, sheltered, well-lit position.
  • 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.

You can also take cuttings of other plants in February like rosemary, camellia, lavender and hydrangeas.

Grow your own grapes

Do you have a bare pergola or fence that is in need of some greenery. You could grow your own grapes!

Grapes are little bundles of juicy sweetness. Kids love them (especially the seedless varieties) and frozen grapes during hot weather are divine. Varieties like yellowish green Niagara and light red Flame Seedless are very popular.

Grapes are usually picked from mid to late summer through to late autumn, so can provide a delicious autumn harvest from your garden.

The best climate for growing grapes has a warm dry summer, which helps reduce disease levels as the grapes mature. Grapes are long-lived vines that require some sort of strong support to grow up and along. They can be trained up an existing fence, grown over a pergola or a new trellis can be constructed. One grape vine will need around 2 x 3m of horizontal space, and keep the height of the support such that you can easily maintain the vine and pick the grapes, usually 1.5m to 2m tall. Most grapes are self-pollinating, so you only need to have one vine, though having a few different varieties will help to extend the harvest season.

Grapes are usually available for planting during winter while they are dormant. Before planting, mix some Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone into the planting hole, which improves soil quality and provides the vine with gentle slow release organic nutrients as it establishes. Make sure the vine is well watered during spring and summer and feed every fortnight with Yates Thrive Flower & Fruit Soluble Fertiliser to encourage healthy leaf growth and lots of bunches of grapes. Early training and regular pruning will help maximise the harvest.

Grape disease watch: grapes can be susceptible to diseases like downy mildew (pictured right). Downy mildew is more common during periods of wet, warm or humid weather and symptoms include yellowing and mottled foliage. Yates Liquid Copper Fungicide is an easy-to-use, broad spectrum fungicide that protects grapes from downy mildew. Start spraying at the first sign of disease.

There’s plenty to keep you busy during February, including enjoying fragrant frangipani, planning for floral colour and creating new plants for free.

If you live in a frost-free area, frangipani can create a lush tropical look in your garden, make a superb shade tree and of course the summer flowers are beautiful and heavenly scented.

Frangipanis can also be grown in pots, where they can be positioned in a warm, protected spot in the garden or on a deck or patio.

Frangipanis come in a range of gorgeous colours, from the traditional white through to apricots, pinks, yellows and rich burgundy, with many varieties having multi-toned blooms. Here are some tips to help keep your frangipani looking fantastic:

  • Feeding — frangipanis will appreciate a feed in February with a fertiliser that will provide a good blend of nutrients for encouraging lots of flowers and healthy leaf growth. Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food is a complete fertiliser that gives frangipanis and other flowering plants a nutrient boost. It’s as easy as diluting 1 x 2 capfuls in a 9 litre watering can and applying around the root zone of both in-ground and potted frangipanis.
  • Watering — if the weather is hot and dry, frangipanis will appreciate deep watering once a week, especially if the tree is still young and the root system is small. There’s no need to keep the soil constantly moist, as frangipanis do best in slightly drier conditions. Regular watering is particularly important for potted frangipanis, as pots can dry out very quickly. A 3cm x 5cm layer of mulch over the surface of the pot (kept away from the trunk itself) will help to minimise moisture loss. During the cooler months, frangipani trees usually do not need to be watered.

Flower tip: bring the beautiful fragrance of frangipani flowers indoors by floating them in a shallow bowl of water.

Keeping it neat, and plants for free

Shrubs like hibiscus that have finished flowering can be trimmed now to keep them tidy. Prune off spent flowers and give plants a quick and easy feed with a fast-acting liquid fertiliser like Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food, which will help restore the plant’s energy reserves after a busy few months of flowering.

Don’t waste any leafy prunings! Turn pruned pieces of stems into cuttings, so you can grow some more plants for your garden. Here are the easy steps to propagate plants from cuttings:

  • Choose pieces of stems 10cm x 15cm long, that are not too soft and floppy. Leafy stems (rather than stems that have flowered) are best.
  • The stem should be cut just below a node (a bump on the stem where leaves emerge). This is where new roots can develop.
  • Remove all but the top two leaves from the piece of stem, and for large-leafed plants like hibiscus, the remaining top leaves can be halved (cut in half crosswise). This helps to reduce the amount of moisture lost from the leaves.
  • Dip the bottom ends of the stems into Yates Clonex Purple Rooting Hormone Gel. Yates Clonex Purple contains a concentrated plant hormone which helps promote root development as well as helping to seal and protect the cutting.
  • Gently insert the dipped ends of the cuttings into pots or trays filled with moist Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix and keep in a cool, sheltered, well-lit position.
  • 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.

You can also take cuttings of other plants in February like rosemary, camellia, lavender and hydrangeas.

Grow your own grapes

Do you have a bare pergola or fence that is in need of some greenery. You could grow your own grapes!

Grapes are little bundles of juicy sweetness. Kids love them (especially the seedless varieties) and frozen grapes during hot weather are divine. Varieties like yellowish green Niagara and light red Flame Seedless are very popular.

Grapes are usually picked from mid to late summer through to late autumn, so can provide a delicious autumn harvest from your garden.

The best climate for growing grapes has a warm dry summer, which helps reduce disease levels as the grapes mature. Grapes are long-lived vines that require some sort of strong support to grow up and along. They can be trained up an existing fence, grown over a pergola or a new trellis can be constructed. One grape vine will need around 2 x 3m of horizontal space, and keep the height of the support such that you can easily maintain the vine and pick the grapes, usually 1.5m to 2m tall. Most grapes are self-pollinating, so you only need to have one vine, though having a few different varieties will help to extend the harvest season.

Grapes are usually available for planting during winter while they are dormant. Before planting, mix some Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone into the planting hole, which improves soil quality and provides the vine with gentle slow release organic nutrients as it establishes. Make sure the vine is well watered during spring and summer and feed every fortnight with Yates Thrive Flower & Fruit Soluble Fertiliser to encourage healthy leaf growth and lots of bunches of grapes. Early training and regular pruning will help maximise the harvest.

Grape disease watch: grapes can be susceptible to diseases like downy mildew (pictured right). Downy mildew is more common during periods of wet, warm or humid weather and symptoms include yellowing and mottled foliage. Yates Liquid Copper Fungicide is an easy-to-use, broad spectrum fungicide that protects grapes from downy mildew. Start spraying at the first sign of disease.

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