June is the start of winter – on the calendar at least!

For this month, days are short and nights long and the garden is truly entering winter dormancy. Deciduous plants will have lost most of their leaves and even most evergreens are marking time waiting for spring. Not all plants are biding time over winter, some embrace cooler conditions with flowers.

. Winter vegies are also producing. Bare-rooted plants are available and need to be planted so there’s still lots to do in the garden.

What to do in your garden in winter in June 2023 including looking after winter flowering plants

The shortest day falls this month

June 22nd is the date of the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere this year and marks the shortest day (and longest night). After this date, day length gradually increases although cold wintery conditions may hold sway for many months.

Plants respond to lengthening days, which can trigger flowering in some species. Beneath the soil, roots will also be growing in preparation for new spring growth.

Despite the wintery conditions a surprising number of plants flower now. To appreciate the bounty of winter, spend some time on the winter solstice picking a bunch of winter flowers from your garden. Common flowers of winter include narcissus, red hot poker, camellia, hellebore and many natives including wattle, grevillea, banksia and boronia.

When picking flowers, feed them regularly every two weeks with PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers to keep the flowers looking good and blooming all season.

Japonica camellias light up winter gardens

Camellias continue to be an important part of winter flower colour in many gardens as japonica camellias (Camellia japonica) burst into bloom taking over from the long-lasting sasanquas. These camellias too will flower over many months bringing colour to winter gardens, particularly in temperate zones. These tall shrubs produce beautiful flowers – usually in tones of white, pink or red – in a range of flower shapes and sizes.

They can be grown in the ground or in large containers and tolerate shade. Japonica camellias grow best in acidic soil with protection from frost, which can damage flowers. In areas with alkaline soil, grow camellias in large pots with a premium potting mix such as Seasol Advanced Potting Mix.

Winter is an ideal time to find and plant camellias to enjoy winter flowers now and for many years to come.

What to do in your garden in winter in June 2023
What to do in your garden in winter in June 2023 including looking after and plant bare-rooted plants

Planting bare-rooted shrubs, trees and vines

Dormant plants are sold through winter while their branches are bare. These plants are often a bundle of bare branches with exposed roots – they are not potted into potting mix.

To protect the roots from drying out, bare-rooted plants are usually wrapped in coir peat and cardboard. Although the plants are dormant, they should be planted as soon as possible, or put into pots with potting mix if you can’t plant immediately.

To help bare-rooted plants get established in their new position, soak them in a bucket of Seasol before planting or potting and then use the water to water in the plant so it settles into its new home.

TIP: Check our planting guide for more information.

Rose pruning tips

While it is still planting time for bare-tooted roses, it is also time to prune existing rose bushes in warm temperate and subtropical gardens. In cooler areas wait until August until the last of the frost has gone.

To prune a Hybrid Tea rose, make sure you have sharp secateurs, a pruning saw or good strong loppers and tough gloves to protect your hands and arms. Cut back all over the bush, reducing the size by about one-third to a half. Also, remove old wood cutting it at the base of the plant to leave a framework of three to five strong stems. Remove diseased branches (for example stems showing signs of dieback) and branches that are crossing over.

Finally, go over the rose cutting back to just above an outward facing bud. When completed, spray the bare stems and branches with Lime Sulphur such as Sharp Shooter Lime Sulphur. It helps to eliminate fungal spores and eggs from pests and acts as a preventer for spring diseases such as black spot and rust.

Five important jobs for early winter

Early winter is the time to prepare for the onset of the season and to get all those maintenance jobs done to prepare for spring. Here are a few jobs to get you started:

  • Keep gutters clear of fallen leaves and check plants underneath eaves to ensure they are getting enough moisture.
  • Regularly apply liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives to the whole garden including leafy winter vegetables, brassicas and winter annuals such as pansies and poppies.
  • Plant a deciduous tree for summer shade and incorporate Seasol Plant + Soil Booster into the soil to aid plant establishment and improve soil health.
  • Keep indoor plants away from hot air from central heating systems. Check plants before watering and only water if the potting mix has begun to dry out.
  • Invest in garden lighting to illuminate the bare branches of deciduous plants and extend your enjoyment of the garden even when it’s cold outside.
What to do in your garden in winter in June 2023 including looking after and planting winter vegies

Vegetables to grow in winter

Although it is cold, there are vegies that enjoy this time of the year and can be grown to produce a healthy and delicious harvest right through winter.

It is the season to grow peas (both podded and snow pea varieties), cabbage, cauliflower, silverbeet and spinach, which are all available as seedlings at hardware and garden centres.

In tropical and subtropical climates where winter cold and frost is not an issue also plant cherry tomatoes. Water in new plantings with Seasol GOLD to reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment for healthy growth.

For the best results over the months ahead, grow vegetables in sunniest part of the garden or plant in pots using a good quality potting mix then place the pot in a warm, sunny and convenient spot. Water when the soil begins to dry. Regularly apply a liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables every two weeks for tasty edible produce and healthy soil.

Act now to keep weeds at bay

Despite the cold weather, weeds are growing. Keep bare soils covered with mulch to deter weeds and also keep an eye for the appearance of weed seedlings. These can be easily removed in garden beds or the vegie garden with gentle hoeing. For an infestation of weeds including those in driveways and paths control them with a natural weedicide such as EarthCare Organic WeedKiller spray.

Also, watch for the appearance of bindii in lawns. These prickly weeds begin their life cycle in winter when they appear as small, bright green ferny leaves. They quickly flower, with the flower low in the plant. That flower forms the prickly seed that sticks in feet, animal paws and fur.

Hand weed as soon as the plants are noticed or treat with an appropriate herbicide. It is important to act before the seed forms. Bindii is often an indication of compacted soil, so if there is an infestation in the lawn, it is a sign that it’s time to aerate the lawn.

What to do in your garden in winter in June 2023 including successfully removing weeds