Summer is the perfect time to start your garden in Australia.
Daytime temperatures are warm but not too hot, and plenty of rainfall keeps your plants healthy and hydrated.
Summer Planting Guide
How to prepare the soil for planting in the summer
The summer heat scorches the ground and sucks out moisture, so it’s important to loosen the soil and add some organic matter to keep moisture.
Here are a few tips on preparing soil for summer planting:
- Check the soil temperature. Just because the weather is hot doesn’t mean your garden has to suffer. The soil temperature will give you a good sign of how well your plants will grow. If the soil is too cold, your plants will struggle to take root. If the soil is too hot, your plants may not be able to absorb water properly.
- Test the acidity of your soil. The ideal pH for most plants is between 6 and 7, but you can test your soil to see where it falls on the pH scale.
- Add organic matter to your soil. Organic matter helps improve the texture and drainage of your soil while providing nutrients for your plants. You can add organic matter to your soil by using compost, well-rotted manure or peat moss.
- Loosen up compacted soils. If your soil is compacted, it will be difficult for roots to penetrate and grow. You can loosen up compacted soils by tilling them with a rototiller or gardening fork. If you want a more in-depth guide on how to aerate your lawn or garden, check out our blog post here.
- Amend clay soils with sand. Clay soils tend to be heavy and dense, making it difficult for plants to grow. To amend clay soils, mix in some sand to improve drainage and aeration.
When to start planting in summer in Australia
If you’re thinking of doing some summer planting in Australia, you’ll need to pay attention to the climate in your area.
Generally, the summer growing season is from December to February, but in some parts of the country, it can be as early as November or as late as March.
Once you’ve determined when summer begins in your neck of the woods, it’s time to think of what to plant.
What to Plant in Summer in Australia
Vegetables to grow in summer
Capsicums are a sweet addition to any summer garden. They come in various colours, so you can choose the ones that best complement your other plants.
They prefer a warm climate, so make sure to choose a sunny position in your garden.
Corn is best planted in late spring or early summer, as it takes around three months to reach maturity.
It’s a bit of a hungry plant, so make sure you give corn plenty of room to grow — and don’t forget to add some extra organic matter to the soil before planting.
Cucumbers are another summer vegetable that loves hot weather. They’re a refreshing addition to any salad or sandwich, and they couldn’t be easier to grow.
Like tomatoes, all you need is a sunny spot and some well-drained soil, and you’ll be harvesting your own produce before you know it.
Eggplants are another delicious vegetable that does well in hot weather. They can be used in all kinds of dishes, from stir-fries to ratatouille.
Choose a sunny spot for your eggplants, as they won’t do well if they don’t get enough summer sun.
Tomatoes are a versatile addition to any meal, and they’re easy to grow in warm weather.
All you need is a sunny spot in your garden and some well-drained soil, and you’ll be on your way to harvesting juicy tomatoes in no time.
Herbs to grow in summer
Basil is a versatile herb that goes well with a variety of dishes. It’s also relatively easy to care for, making it a great option for herb garden beginners.
When planting basil in summer, be sure to choose a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. Basil likes well-drained soil and should be watered regularly.
Chives are perfect for adding flavour to salads, soups, and sauces. They’re also a lovely addition to any summertime buffet table.
Chives can be grown indoors or outdoors and prefer well-drained soil. Be sure to water chives regularly, especially during hot summer days.
Mint is refreshing, delicious, and perfect for summertime drinks like mojitos and mint juleps.
Mint also does well in partial shade, so it’s a good option if you don’t have a spot in your garden that gets full sun exposure.
When planting mint in summer, be sure to use well-drained soil and water regularly.
Rosemary is another herb that does well in hot, dry conditions. It’s perfect for growing in pots or containers, so it’s ideal if you don’t have a lot of space to work with.
Rosemary is often used as a flavouring for meats like chicken and lamb, but it’s also delicious in focaccia bread or sprinkled over vegetables.
Thyme is another versatile herb that goes well with many different dishes. It’s also very drought-tolerant, so it’s perfect for hot summer days.
When planting thyme, choose a spot in your garden with full sun exposure and well-drained soil.
Water thyme regularly and trim back any stems that begin to flower (this will help encourage more leaf growth).
Flowers to grow in summer
Hibiscus is a plant that loves heat and can tolerate dry conditions. It comes in a wide range of colours, from white and cream to pink, red, purple and orange.
If you’re looking for a summer plant that will attract extra wildlife to your garden, hibiscus flowers are known to attract butterflies and birds.
Lavender is not only beautiful, but it’s also incredibly fragrant.
If you’re looking for a flower that adds beauty and scent to your garden, lavender is the way to go.
It’s also known for being an excellent source of nectar for bees, so it’s great for attracting wildlife to your garden.
Marigolds are another flower that does well in hot, sunny conditions.
They come in a variety of colours, including yellow, orange and red, and they’re known for their ability to deter pests like nematodes and rabbits.
Marigolds are also pretty low-maintenance, so they’re a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot of time caring for your flowers.
There’s nothing like a big, beautiful sunflower to brighten up your garden in summer.
Sunflowers are easy to grow and make a great addition to any summer garden, large or small. Plus, they’re sure to bring a smile to any passerby.
These showy flowers come in a wide range of colours, including pink, red, purple, orange, yellow and white.
Zinnias grow best when planted in full sun but will also tolerate partial shade — be sure to water them regularly as they do not like dry soil.
They are relatively low-maintenance summer plants but require deadheading (removing spent blooms) to encourage continued flowering throughout the season.
Trees to plant in summer
Eucalyptus trees are known for their tall, straight trunks and round, blue-green leaves.
They are native to Australia and come in a wide variety of species, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your garden.
Eucalyptus trees are fast-growing and relatively low-maintenance, making them a great option for those who want instant results. Just be sure to water them regularly during the summer months.
Jacarandas are small, deciduous trees with beautiful purple flowers.
They originate from South America but have been naturalised in Australia, meaning they’ve adapted to our climate and soil conditions.
Jacarandas are best suited to temperate areas but can tolerate short periods of drought once established.
The bottlebrush tree is an Australian native with distinctive cylindrical red or pink flowers that resemble bottlebrushes!
These hardy plants are drought-tolerant and thrive in full sun or partial shade.
They make excellent hedges or screening plants and attract nectar-feeding birds, making them a great choice for those who want to create a wildlife-friendly garden.
Frangipanis are tropical trees with large, aromatic flowers that come in various colours, including white, pink, orange, and red.
They prefer warm climates and well-draining soil, making them the perfect tree to grow in a pot on a sunny patio or decking area.
However, they can be sensitive to frost, so make sure you choose a variety that is suited to your climate zone.
Gum trees are tall evergreens native to Australia. They grow best in full sun or partial shade and can reach a height of 30 metres!
Gum trees are also low-maintenance trees and only need occasional watering.
Looking for More Seasonal Planting Guides?
How to Water Plants in Summer
Summer in Australia means long, hot days — which can take its toll on your garden. If you’re not careful, your plants can become stressed from the heat and lack of water, leading to wilting, leaf drop, and even death.
- Check the forecast. Before you water your plants, it’s a good idea to check the forecast and see if any rain is on the horizon. If there is, you can cancel your watering plans for the garden and let nature take its course.
- Water your plants in the early morning or evening. This will help reduce evaporation and prevent sun scorch. If you water during the day, make sure to do it in the shade, so the water doesn’t evaporate before it has a chance to reach the roots.
- Set up an irrigation system with a timer. If you have a lot of plants, or if you’re going to be away from home for extended periods of time, it might be worth investing in an irrigation system. Irrigation systems can automate the watering process and ensure that your plants always have enough water, even when you’re not around.
- Mulch is your friend. Mulching is a great way to help your plants keep moisture during summer. Add a 5-10cm layer of mulch around your plants (without touching their stems), and this will help keep the soil cool and moist for longer periods.
What Pests or Diseases Affect Summer Plants?
As the temperatures start to rise, so do the opportunities for pests and diseases to take over your garden.
Whether you’re growing vegetables or flowers, it’s important to be on the lookout for these potential problems so you can nip them in the bud early on.
Aphids are tiny insects that suck nutrients out of plants, causing them to weaken and yellow. They are most active during spring and can affect summer plants if left untreated.
There are a few different ways to get rid of aphids organically. One is to blast them off with water from a hose.
You can also try using a mixture of soap and water sprayed directly onto aphid-infested plants.
For severe infestations, you may need to use an insecticide specifically designed for aphids.
With summer comes heat, humidity and a chance of powdery mildew.
Powdery mildew is a type of fungi that appears as a white or grey powdery film on the surface of leaves.
Powdery mildew can cause leaves to discolour, curl up, and eventually drop off.
The best way to prevent powdery mildew is by planting disease-resistant varieties of plants.
If you already have powdery mildew, you can try treating it with a fungicide.
Spider mites are tiny spider-like creatures that suck the sap out of plants, causing leaves to become yellow or bronzed.
They’re most commonly found on houseplants but can also affect outdoor plants, especially during hot, dry summer weather.
You can try spraying your plants with water or using a miticide to get rid of spider mites.
Whiteflies are small winged insects that feed on plant sap. Like powdery mildew, they thrive in warm, humid conditions and can cause serious damage to crops if left unchecked.
Whiteflies can quickly become a problem in gardens and greenhouses, and controlling them can be difficult.
To control whiteflies, removing infested leaves and using insecticidal sprays is important.
In the Summer-thyme, That is Where I’ll Be
Summer in Australia is a time for the outdoors, BBQs, and good times with mates.
It’s also a time to get your hands dirty in your own backyard. If you get stuck or need help, don’t hesitate to contact our expert gardeners.
Whether you’re looking to add some flavour to your dishes or want something pretty to look at, we’ve got you covered.