What to Plant in April

The following is a list of vegetables that you can plant in April in Sydney, a temperate zone (just click on the link for the growing guide for each vegetable):

Plant of the month- The stunning Pink Ice Plant-(Oscularia deltoides)

Click image to view detail of the Oscularia deltoides flowers.

The Pink Ice plant or oscularia deltoides is a native of South Africa and is a beautiful low spreading succulent that can grow in any well drained soil and survives drought conditions. It grows well in hot, dry parts of the garden where other plants fail.

Oscularia deltoides is perfect for pots on sunny balconies or as a rockery plant to add colour to your garden in early summer. The beautiful yellow centred mauve/pink flowers cover the entire plant with lightly almond scented blooms that close at night and open in profusion during the day. The flowers attract pollinator insects and butterflies.

Leaves are triangular shaped with soft red teeth on margin and stems that are tinged purple.

Even when oscularia deltoidis is not in flower is lovely fleshy green sculptured leaves add interest to the garden and it grows to a height of 30 cm and can spread out over a large area to carpet rockeries or spill over embankments or pots.

Soil Requirements:

As the native conditions for this plant are rocky areas, it is most important for successful growth, that the soil should be well draining and the plant can thrive even in poor soils if the drainage is good.

For growing in pots, fill the pot with 1/3 stones at the base, then a mixture of 1/3 cactus and succulent potting mix and 1/3 river sand. This provides a free draining soil mix that allows the roots to develop well.

This Oscuaria deltoides plant faces west and is partly shaded by a taller tree. You can see that the shaded part of the plant does not have as many flowers.

Light Requirements:

Select a sunny site with 5-6 hours of bright sunlight a day which will encourage flowering. Oscularia deltoides can tolerate part shade, thoughit will flower more sparsley. It can survive the extreme heat of Sydney with proper care, even at the highest temperatures.

Later in the season the flowers have become a dense spreading mass.

Watering Needs:

Water moderately in summer as needed to keep the leaves fleshy during the hot summer months but take your lead from the plant itself. Allow to dry out in winter as the local rainfall conditions will be enough to sustain the plant.

This glorious specimen has spread down the rocky embankment to carpet the area in colour. What a spectacular sight!

Propagation:

Propgate oscularia deltoides by taking stem or leaf cuttings and allow them to harden for a day. Then grow in a sandy mix until the roots form. Water well at first when planting the stems and then allow the soil to dry out to a depth of 2.5cm before watering again. Then water regularly to keep the plant growing.

The plant can also be propagated by air layering and tip layering.

Keep the propagated plants in the shade at first and after 5-6 weeks, when the roots have developed, gradually move into more light until acclimatised ready to plant out into its final sunny site.

General Care:

When flowering is finished trim off the spent flowers to maintain its lovely lush appearance.

Trim back to maintain the shape that you need for your site or allow to spread naturally if you have the space.

Look out for this easy to care for, beautiful, spreading succulent and enjoy the masses of flowers carpeting the area where it grows.

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