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What to do in the garden in November

Winter is well and truly making its mark now, but don’t be so quick to pack up your tools as there’s still plenty to be done to prepare for next year. Planting, bird feeding and a good old tidy up will all keep your garden ticking over during wrap up warm and let’s get cracking!

  • Rochelle - copywriter
  •  5min read
What to do in the garden in November

Give it some flower power

Whilst much of the summer colour has now faded, your flowers still need your attention in the colder months. Plus, you’ll want to plant spring-flowering bulbs too, for a carpet of colour come next year!

Cut back any faded herbaceous perennials. If the old foliage and stems are disease free, pop them on the compost heap. If borders have gotten a little crowded over the summer with clumps of perennials, lift a few out, divide into smaller pieces and replant. This will stop disease spreading and give them the best chance of flowering next year. Dividing your perennials is a great way of filling out empty borders. You could even donate a few to friends and family or raise money for charity with a plant sale.

Don’t forget to finish planting your spring-flowering bulbs too. There are lots of bulbs to choose from including daffodils, tulips, snowdrops, crocuses and hyacinths. For the best displays, plant in bold groups of one type and variety, rather than scattering the bulbs thinly. It’s also a good time to plant lily bulbs for gorgeous colour next summer.

November garden

Go potty for patio plants

Now’s the perfect time to plant up patio containers with permanent plants such as small trees, shrubs, fruits and climbers. Experiment with evergreens, long-flowering shrubs, plants that produce autumn foliage colours, autumn berries and fruit as well as plants with colourful or interesting stems.

When planting up containers always make sure you use the right compost. For trees, shrubs and other long-term plantings you’ll get the best results with a loam-based compost.

Although temperatures will be cooler than in summer, don’t forget to keep an eye on patio planters and other containers to make sure the compost doesn’t dry out. Even when it rains, containers might not always get enough water. Our tub and basket compost contains water retaining gel to hold moisture and feed for 4-6 weeks.

Top tip - Raise patio containers on to bricks or specially-made pot feet so they’re not sitting in water during the winter, which can lead to root rots. Check tree ties and stakes are secure before strong winds cause damage too.

November garden

Love your lawn

There’s not a lot that needs to be done to the lawn this month, but a little attention now will make all the difference come spring.

Depending on the weather, the grass may still be growing, so may need a mow. Raise the height of cut slightly higher than that for summer, since the grass grows more slowly during autumn. Mowing when the grass needs it will help the lawn to withstand the last of any warm, dry weather and help resist treading when the cold and wet weather arrives. But don’t mow when the grass is wet or frozen.

Don’t forget to remove fallen leaves off the lawn, as they stop light and air getting to the grass, which can cause it to die. On larger lawns, a powered leaf collector will make the job much easier, or remove them using the lawnmower with the blades set at their highest cutting height. This will make it easier than raking and will chop them into smaller pieces that can be added to the compost heap.

Give a helping hand to houseplants

Autumn and winter can be stressful times for houseplants, so give them the care they need to keep them strong and healthy.

Regularly pick off yellowing or dead leaves and faded flowers to keep plants looking their best and help prevent disease problems developing and spreading. Check houseplants for greenfly and other pests as they can multiply quickly now that the central heating is on. Either rub them off or spray them with a suitable insecticide.

Be careful not to overwater – the biggest killer of most houseplants – and never leave water sitting in plant saucers as this can cause root rotting.

There’s no need to feed foliage houseplants now. Flowering houseplants will give a better display for longer if fed weekly with a liquid houseplant fertiliser.

Give foliage houseplants a break from the dull winter indoor light by moving them nearer to windows or to a conservatory.

Tweet our feathered friends

Winter can be a tough time for birds. The good news, though, is you can help by making sure they have access to plenty of food and fresh water. Simply keep bird baths clean and topped up with water, making sure they don’t freeze over. And for some food – they’ll all come flocking if you keep bird feeders regularly topped up.

How about trying your hand at making your own feeder? All you’ll need is a slice of stale bread, peanut butter, bird seed and some string. Simply make a hole in the top of the bread and thread a piece of string through, then tie at one end so it’s secure to the bread. Make sure the string is long enough to allow you to hang it from a tree or other bird-friendly place. Then spread the bread with peanut butter and press it face down into the bird seed. Hang it outside and let the local birds flock to your garden!

November garden

Give it a good tidy

Now the colder weather has arrived, your shed and greenhouse will benefit from a good tidy. In fact, it’s probably the last chance you’ll get to tidy the garden as a whole this year, so make the most of it. Rake leaves, cut back yellow foliage from herbaceous perennials and clear the veg patch of any plants way past their best. If you’ve found yourself with some empty space in your veg patch, apply some fresh manure on top to rot down over winter, which will fill your soil with loads of nutrients. If your beds are looking a little more sparse, take advantage by edging your lawn while things are a little quieter!

November checklist

Fruit and veg

  • Plant bare-rooted fruit brushes and canes (delay planting if soil is water-logged or frozen)
  • Sow overwintering broad beans in mild areas
  • Plant garlic cloves in a cold frame


  • Plant tulip bulbs
  • Clear fallen leaves
  • Clean up borders
  • Last planting for winter bedding
  • Plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs

Hard Gardening

  • Clean greenhouses
  • Clean and maintain tools
  • Plan hard landscaping jobs
  • Drain garden hoses and store away

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