What To Do In Your Garden in October

September 30, 2020

What To Do In Your Garden in October


October is the month for planting! Whether you are a keen vegetable gardener or love ornamental gardening, or a combination of both, a huge number of species and cultivars will love to take advantage of October’s warming soil conditions, burgeoning sunshine and spring rainfall (depending on where you live – most temperate regions in Australia still have reliable rainfall in October). The only disadvantage will be fighting the hordes off at the garden centres to get that plant that you’ve been keeping your eye on all year!

Many Australian native plants are still in full flowering swing – others, such as many of the Hakea’s, are starting to wind down. Many non-natives are taking advantage of the warmer weather and damp soil to throw out flowers, so the garden should be a very pretty sight indeed.

It’s another roll-up-the-sleeves month: hopefully you already spread compost around your existing plants and fertilised last month so that you could enjoy as many spring flowers as possible – if not, it’s not too late! If you’re not a composter then obtaining some good quality garden compost from your local nursery or landscape yard will be an investment in your soil well worth making. Remember: it’s almost impossible to over-compost!

Plus, if you get the timing right, October is a beautiful month to be outside. The searing summer sun is still a couple of months away, so whilst you might raise a light sweat, it is a pleasure to be warming your winter bones in the beautiful spring weather of our continent.

October jobs include:

  • Planting evergreen shrubs and trees
  • Last chance to cut back perennials
  • Planting and sowing summer vegetables
  • Plant summer flowering bulbs
  • Prune shrubs that have already flowered
  • Tie up and prune back espaliers
  • Feed lawn and mow mow mow!
  • Weeding, followed immediately by mulching
  • Tie in climbing plants such as roses and Clematis sp.


Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

If you haven’t yet discovered the beauty of perennial grasses, this is the perfect place to start. Named for the famed plantsman, this adaptable beauty is a staple of perennial gardening in Europe and North America for a reason: it’s vertical plumes and lush green foliage seem to provide both a dramatic and yet subtle statement at the same time. Long flowering, relatively drought tolerant and easy to maintain (cut back once a year in early spring), it will provide plenty of excitement in the perennial border.


It’s a great time to monitor your pots and ensure that the soil is not staying dry for too long. As the weather warms, soil conditions can change quickly, particularly in pots like terracotta that absorb water from the soil. Keep your plants in optimal health by taking them out of their dishes and outside and giving them a good water, allowing all of the excess to drain away before bringing them back inside. This will ensure that the root zones of your favourite indoor plants will stay oxygenated.

As the sunshine increases, give the foliage of your indoor plants a clean with a damp cloth so that they can take advantage of as much light as possible to photosynthesis and put on as much growth as possible. After all, it’s spring! October will see your favourite indoors plants putting on lots of growth and doing their job of providing you with clean air whilst also ensuring your house looks fabulous!


Ctenanthe setosa ‘Grey Star’. Pronounced ‘teh-nan-thee’ (the C is silent).

Hailing from South America, this gorgeous and easy to grow plant looks great in pots that complement its stunning grey variegated foliage and rigid magenta stems. Mimic its natural forest floor conditions by providing bright indirect light, a watering regime that allows the root system to be well drained, and a humid environment for optimal growth and health. A bathroom spot works perfectly for this Brazilian stunner.

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