The Garden Diaries: New South Wales in December

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It’s December. Summer is here and it’s really heating up outside. It’s time to get the garden ready for the festive season. Here is some inspiration for what to do in your garden this month.

It's a great time to plant poinsettias

Poinsettias are a wonderful plant in store at this time of year. With their showy bracts, they provide exceptional colour, make a great Christmas gift or could be used as a centre piece on the dining room table. Indoors, they like indirect sunlight and don’t over water. Only apply water to the soil, not the leaves. Once the flowers are finished, prune back and plant in the garden or a larger pot. Fertilise after flowering.

A poinsietta

What else to plant

Plant magnolias too, ‘Little Gem’ is a good choice. It’s compact growing, evergreen and makes a wonderful specimen tree but can also be pruned as a hedge. Plant along a fence line to create a screen.

Bougainvilleas make a great splash of colour. Plant in full sun and they will reward you with their brightly coloured bracts. Plant as a ground cover or let your ‘bougie’ climb a trellis. There are also compact and smaller growing dwarf varieties that suit pots.

Other sun loving plants available this month include geraniums. These hardy plants make a great show in a pot or the garden.

Get in some edibles too. Plant beans, which like the heat, also put in lettuces for summer salads. Blueberries suit a pot, as well as the garden.

If you’ve got some room and climbing space, you can’t go past a passionfruit. Plant in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. Mangos and avocados are in store now too.  

A purple Bougainvillea


With summer, also comes prolific growth. Keep up with mulch. This will help the soil retain moisture and protect plant roots. Lucerne or sugar cane are great options. Be sure to keep the mulch away from the plant trunk, because if it’s located too close to the trunk, it can cause collar rot.

Fertilise the lawn. Water before application and then again after. Don’t fertilise on really hot, dry days as it will likely burn the plants.

Feed ferns and palms with a slow release fertiliser.

Check irrigation and sprinkler systems. Warmer temperatures dry out the soil, so monitor the water needs of the garden regularly and drench plants if they need it. A good tip is to get a soaker hose.  

Before turning on sprinklers, be sure to check with your local authority about watering regulations and restrictions in your area.

A person mulching the garden


December is a peak time for harvest in the garden. Everything is plentiful and abundant. Sweetcorn is ready to pick, tomatoes are ripening on the bush, as are cucumbers. Summer berries taste delicious. Zucchini are ready, so are chillies. Keep picking herbs to promote growth. They are also perfect chopped up in salads.

December is a great time to be in the garden in NSW. It’s the ideal time to get the garden ready for the barbecue and festive season. 

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A plate of vegetables and fruit

Start planting today

Check out the wide range of plants online or visit your local Bunnings Warehouse to find out how you can bring your garden to life.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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