The Garden Diaries: South Australia In October

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The Garden Diaries: South Australia In October

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In South Australia, October is a great time to be in the garden. Spring is in full swing and there are loads of things to do. So here are some ideas to get you started.

Hero plant this month: Palms

This month in South Australia, it’s all about palms. 

Plant them in a sheltered position, away from hot and cold winds. Water deeply and regularly when it’s hot and dry. 

Palms are ideal planted around a pool. They make a bold statement, look tropical and don’t make a mess. There are palms that grow well in pots too.  For example, the rhapis or lady palm. These palms do well away from full sun and draughts and love a well-lit position. 

Another favourite is the kentia palm (Howea forsteriana). These are long-lived palms, that adapt well to indoor conditions and thrive in low light. Only water when the top of the soil starts to dry out. 


What else to plant

October is a great time to get shrubs established before it’s really hot and the soil is still moist.

Rosemary is a great choice, with its pink, purple or blue and white flowers and fragrant foliage. Plant in a pot near the kitchen, hedge it in the garden or for a ground cover, try the prostrate variety ‘Blue Lagoon’. 

Other hedging or screening plants are Murraya paniculata with its beautiful, white fragrant flowers. Another favourite for South Australian gardens is Viburnum tinus  or Laurustinus.  From the Mediterranean, it’s hardy in full sun or shade.

For striking foliage Nandina ‘Moonbay’ is a perfect option. Its fine leaves look beautiful in the garden and they also give great colour. 

Don’t neglect the food forest either as it’s a great time to get some vegies in the garden. Planting lettuces in succession will give a constant harvest. Sow tomato seeds this month and put in some basil too as it’s a good companion to tomatoes.

Sweet corn is another favourite, but you’ll need to keep the water up to it. Plant in blocks for better pollination and increased yield. 



There’s lots of garden maintenance to do this month. Tidy up perennials, such as liriopes. Remove any dead leaves or spent flowers. 

Fertilise the garden. In addition, regular doses of seaweed solution is a great tonic. It helps strengthen plant cell walls and boosts root growth. 

Spread mulch too. Pea straw or Lucerne are good alternatives. These mulches nourish the soil as they break down.



There’s nothing better than picking your own produce and in October winter vegies are still coming into their own. Harvest Asian greens and broccoli before they go to seed. Pull carrots when they’re young to help thin the crop or leave to grow larger. They should still be sweet. Strawberries start ripening too. Pick them before the birds and other pests get to them. 

So make the most of the spring weather in South Australia and get out into the garden.

mandina moonbay

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