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As the sun shines brighter and days get longer, summer is the perfect time to turn your garden into a lively canvas of colours and flavours.

Each region in Australia presents unique opportunities for gardeners with a diverse range of climates across the vast continent.

Whether you’re in the temperate climes of Melbourne or enjoying Darwin’s tropical sun, our summer planting guide will help you make the most of your summer garden.


The Different Climate Zones of Australia

Australia’s varied climate encompasses tropical, temperate and arid zones.

Understanding your specific climate zone is crucial for a successful garden.

Local nurseries, gardening clubs, and online resources are great starting points to determine the best plants for your area.


When to start summer planting in Australia

Australia is a huge continent with six climate zones – equatorial, tropical, subtropical, desert, grassland and temperate.

Below is a list of each region and its designated climate to see when you can start your summer garden activities.

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT): With its cool to mild climate, it’s best to start your summer garden activities in the ACT in early summer to make the most of the growing season.
  • New South Wales (NSW): It’s best to start your summer garden in the early to mid-summer in NSW.
  • Northern Territory (NT): Your best bet is to start summer planting at the beginning of the dry season. If you live in the central arid areas, you should also consider early summer and pick heat-tolerant crops.
  • Queensland (QLD): If you live in the northern tropical regions of QLD, you can start your summer gardening activities at the beginning of summer and all throughout summer.
  • South Australia (SA): SA has a coastal Mediterranean climate, so you should start planting early in the summer. Those living in the northern arid regions should also aim for early summer planting.
  • Tasmania (TAS): If you’re based in Tasmania, you can start planting in early summer to ensure crops can mature before the colder months.
  • Victoria (VIC): Victoria has a predominantly temperate climate, so early summer is your best shot at summer gardening.
  • Western Australia (WA): Those living in the temperate south of WA should start in early summer, while the tropical north can plant throughout the summer, adjusting for dry season conditions.


Summer Gardening Tips

Gardening tools and straw hat on the grass in the garden.

Before going into what to plant, let me share some of our top tips for a smooth start to growing produce from your very own backyard.


Gardening tools for summer planting

  • Spades and shovels: Essential for soil preparation and planting.
  • Watering can or hose with adjustable nozzle: For controlled watering.
  • Gardening gloves: To protect your hands from dirt and thorns.
  • Secateurs: For pruning and shaping plants.


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. 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 garden beds 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. 
  • 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.


Tips for planting seedlings outdoors when it’s hot

  • Plant in the evening: Planting at night when it’s not as hot will reduce transplant shock and prevent heat stroke.
  • Water well: Make sure the soil is moist before and after planting seedlings.
  • Provide shade: Use shade cloth to protect new seedlings from intense sun.
  • Gradual acclimatisation: Harden off seedlings by exposing them gradually to outdoor conditions.


What to Plant in Summer in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Cherry picking

Canberra has a distinct summer that is ideal for a range of gardening activities.

Gardening enthusiasts can take advantage of the warmer weather without the extreme heat experienced in other parts of Australia.

  • Vegetables: Leafy greens (Lettuce, Spinach), Root vegetables (carrots, radishes)
  • Fruits: Berries (Strawberries, Raspberries), Stone fruits (Cherries, Apricots)
  • Herbs: Parsley, Chives, Mint
  • Flowers: Petunias, Marigolds, Zinnias


What to Plant in Summer in New South Wales (NSW)

Fresh and delicious peaches in the orchard.

In NSW, the diversity from coastal to inland regions offers a broad planting palette for the summer. 

Gardeners can enjoy a variety of plants that thrive in both subtropical and temperate climates.

Here’s what to plant in summer in Sydney:


What to Plant in Summer in Northern Territory (NT)


The NT’s predominantly tropical and arid climates present unique opportunities for summer gardening, emphasising plants that can tolerate heat and humidity.

  • Vegetables: Okra, Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant
  • Fruits: Mangoes, Bananas, Papayas
  • Herbs: Lemongrass, Mint, Thai Basil
  • Flowers: Frangipani, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus


What to Plant in Summer in Queensland (QLD)

Etlingera elatior torch ginger flower

Queensland’s gardeners have the advantage of a warm climate, allowing for a wide range of tropical and subtropical plants to flourish throughout the summer.

Here’s what to plant in Brisbane in the summer:

  • Vegetables: Capsicum, Chillies, Sweet Corn
  • Fruits: Pineapples, Lychees, Passionfruit
  • Herbs: Ginger, Turmeric, Dill
  • Flowers: Zinnias, Cosmos, Gingers


What to Plant in Summer in South Australia (SA)

Sydney Australia, leaves of a origanum vulgare or oregano plant in the sunshine.

With its Mediterranean and arid zones, SA is perfect for growing a variety of plants that enjoy hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.

Here’s what to plant in Adelaide in the summer:



What to Plant in Summer in Tasmania (TAS)

White poppy fields ready for harvest near Moorina on the north eastern area of Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania’s cooler climate means summer gardening focuses on plants that can grow well in mild conditions, offering a distinct gardening experience.

  • Vegetables: Leafy Greens (Lettuce, Spinach), Peas, Broad Beans
  • Fruits: Berries (Strawberries, Raspberries), Apples, Pears
  • Herbs: Chives, Parsley, Sage
  • Flowers: Poppies, Nasturtiums, Snapdragons



What to Plant in Summer in Victoria (VIC)

The Briars community homestead and farm in Mount Martha on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

Victoria’s temperate climate allows for a diverse range of plants to be grown, especially those that prefer cooler summer temperatures.

Here’s what to plant in Melbourne in the summer:

  • Vegetables: Cauliflower, Broccoli, Silverbeet
  • Fruits: Cherries, Raspberries, Apples
  • Herbs: Coriander, Mint, Basil
  • Flowers: Dahlias, Roses, Lavender



What to Plant in Summer in Western Australia (WA)

Watermelon in summer.

WA’s vast expanse includes both arid inland areas and a temperate coastal climate, making it ideal for a variety of summer plants.

Here’s what to plant in Perth in the summer:


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.



Green plum leaves colonized by aphids

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.


Powdery mildew

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

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 on a leaf

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.


FAQs About Planting Produce in the Summer


Can you plant potatoes in summer?

Yes, you can plant potatoes in summer, especially in cooler regions of Australia like Tasmania or Victoria.

In warmer areas, it’s best to choose a location that gets morning sun and afternoon shade to protect the plants from intense heat.

Consider using mulch to keep the soil cool and moist.


Can you plant spring onions in the summer?

Green onions growing in a garden bed.

Yes! You can plant spring onions in summer across most regions in Australia.

They are quite adaptable and can tolerate a range of conditions.

In hotter areas, provide some afternoon shade and consistent watering to help them thrive.


Can fruit trees be planted in summer?

Sure! While spring is generally the best time to plant fruit trees, some can be planted in summer, especially in cooler regions of Australia.

Make sure to give them adequate water and protect them from the hottest part of the day.


How do you protect plants from summer heat?

Provide adequate water, use mulch to retain soil moisture and regulate temperature, and offer shade during the hottest part of the day.

For sensitive plants, use a shade cloth or plant them in a location that receives afternoon shade.


Are all pests or plant diseases the same across the regions?

No, pests and diseases vary significantly across different regions.

Factors such as climate, humidity and local flora can influence the types of pests and diseases prevalent in each area.

For instance, fungal diseases might be more common in humid areas, while dry climates might see more issues with mites and aphids.


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.

About Author

Jamie Donovan

Jamie is an Australian horticulturalist and landscape designer. He enjoys writing about landscape architecture, garden design and lifestyle topics.


About Author

Jamie Donovan

Jamie is an Australian horticulturalist and landscape designer. He enjoys writing about landscape architecture, garden design and lifestyle topics.