May Your Garden Grow: What to Plant in Winter

May 19, 2023

In Australia, winter is the time for hot chocolate and warming your feet by the fire at night. But during the day? If you’re a bit of a green thumb, there’s no reason you can’t do some outdoor gardening work without the overbearing heat. But it can be confusing working out what to plant in winter, so we’re here to give you some tips for planting and some maintenance ones as well.

Recommended Plants To Grow

If you’re looking to grow plants like flower bulbs and vegetables but you’re not sure about what to plant in winter, this planting guide can provide some helpful tips. Remember that the cooler weather may affect your results, but by preparing in the autumn, in this transitional season into winter, you can enjoy a colorful garden in the spring.

Flower bulbs

May is the perfect time to plant flower bulbs, allowing them to settle and grow in the beds over the colder months for an easy way to add vibrancy, colour and character to your summer garden beds. If you wondering what to start with when deciding what to plant in winter, bulbs are easy to grow and don’t require too much maintenance or care to grow. Some great types can include daffodils, freesias, tulips, hyacinths and jonquils. 

For the most part, they’re all pretty similar to plant and care for. Find a sunny spot with warm soil either in your garden bed or a plant pot and pop each one into a hole around about twice their height. Finally, gently tuck them in with a light covering of compost to help provide nutrients over the winter. You will only need to water once little green leaves start to sprout, to prevent rot during the dormancy period. 

As long as the bulbs can get equal amount of water and sun, they can be bunched together pretty closely. Give them around half a hand’s width in space to allow for some growth, and then go to down with placement.


So, what veggies to plant in May in Melbourne then? As May is late autumn it’s the best time to grow almost all legumes like peas, chickpeas and broad beans. Legumes are great crops for autumn and winter and are easy enough to grow. They will take roughly 2 months to grow. Just plant them about 3-5cm deep into the soil and give it a solid watering. Ensure that the soil is moist throughout its growing period, but not saturated, a decent watering once a week should suffice. 

In terms of what to plant in winter, root vegetables like carrots, onions and garlic, do great over the colder months. Some, like carrots and radishes, will need a little maintenance, just a bit of watering once or twice a week but apart from that, plant them and leave them alone. 

Maintaining Your Garden In The Cooler Months

We’ll cover a few general garden maintenance tips to prepare for the cold weather. 

Weeding and insect watch

Unfortunately, weeds thrive in wet conditions, so you may have to keep on top of it through the colder months. With the increase in food, insects like snails and slugs will go to town on your beds so whilst you’re weeding, get as many as you can by hand.

Tip: If you have coffee grinds, use them in the garden. They’re a fantastic fertiliser and causes the insects to stick to them, making it harder for them to grip onto the leaves.


Mulching is like your garden’s quilt over the colder months, protecting the delicate roots from the weather. Organic mulch is best in the long run, lacking harsher chemicals that won’t harm your plants. Use a shovel or rake to generously coat your garden beds, leaving a little room around the plant bases so they can breathe and not overheat.


With pruning, it’s a by-the-plant basis, but there’s a good rule-by-green-thumb that sun-loving plants that bloom in spring and summer are the best to prune in the colder months. It gives them the ability to grow over the winter and allow for a colourful array come the next cycle. 

Utilising Your Outdoor Space

There are a number of ways to utilise your outdoor space, and as the weather cools down for, it’s a great time to do a little landscaping.

Fence line garden beds

Fence line garden beds

Smaller garden spaces may need to utilise the fence line for garden beds. Following the fence is a simple and easy way to give you the most room for space in your outdoor living area for those who have children or pets that like to run around. 

Vertical gardens

Who says gardens need to be on the ground? Perhaps your garden is horizontally challenged, so why not use up the free real estate and grow a vertical garden? You can use fences, lattices, and ladders to hang garden beds and plant pots. 

Garden paths

If you want to keep the planting to a minimum over winter, why not do some garden landscaping instead? Adding a pathway can create flow and help with structure. By placing one along the edge of your grass, it allows people to admire your hard work without damaging it. You can use natural shapes for a more organic look or go for a minimalist style, it’s completely up to you. 

Calling A Professional

Maybe you have bigger plans for your garden that are a little out of your wheel house or maybe you need some help planting and maintaining your garden plants. Whilst it can be satisfying building up your garden from scratch with your own hands, there is nothing wrong with getting some help. At Waddell Landscape Design, we can help transform your garden into your own wonderland no matter the season, so why not get in touch for a quote!


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