What to do in your garden in November

Lettuce 'Vailan Winter Gem' from Suttons

Here’s a list of all the jobs to do in the garden during November to keep your containers, flower beds and vegetable patch looking their best. Winter is finally here with frosts starting to take hold and Christmas just around the corner. You can still sow flower seeds in November, and if you want to keep your veg patch productive until spring, pop in some winter lettuce, onions sets and garlic to overwinter.

Flowering plants in November

  • Sow geranium seeds at the end of this month, maintaining a minimum temperature of 15ºC (60ºF) to enable germination and for growing on. Try ‘Super Hybrid Mix’ for a glorious range of colours and use an electric propagator to maintain a steady temperature.
  • Sow cactus seeds ‘Prickly Characters’ this month in a warm space like a sunny windowsill.
  • Cut down the foliage and lift dahlia and canna plants once the tops have been frosted.
  • Keep potted chrysanthemums moist and remember to deadhead regularly to keep the flowers coming.
  • Remove cyclamen leaves that are yellowing along with faded flowers by pulling them from the corm. To prevent leaves from turning yellow keep in a cool and bright place.
  • Water potted plants that are kept for flowering over winter. Cut down on the watering for dormant plants being overwintered in a frost free place.
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs as early in the month as possible, ensuring they’re at the correct depth.
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs in large pots too for patio displays come spring.
  • Plant bulbs like crocus, tulip and daffodils in special bulb baskets to make lifting them after flowering in spring easier.
  • Cut perennial plants right down, adding all the remains to the compost heap.
  • Plant wallflowers in gaps in the border as they will give strong, bright colour when many other flowering plants are over. Plant tulip bulbs among the wallflowers to give a good contrast of colour come spring. Or, plant an attractive winter flowering evergreen shrub instead like Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’.

Vegetables in November

  • Sow broad bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ outdoors. ‘The Sutton’ can also be sown now but must be protected by a cloche.
  • Continue planting suitable varieties of garlic such as ‘Kingsland Wight’ until the middle of the month.
  • Crowns of globe artichoke should be protected from frost by wrapping straw around the base of the plants.
  • Sow an early variety of mangetout pea like ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ under cloches this month. In colder areas it might be worth waiting until spring to make sowings.
  • Bring potted herbs indoors for the winter.
  • Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of chives. Plant small clumps in pots on the kitchen windowsill for garnishes and flavouring through the winter.
  • Grow winter lettuce ‘Vailan Winter Gem’ in pots, borders or growbags in a warm greenhouse for a continuous supply of leaves during the winter.
  • Protect outside crops with either Envirofleece, to reduce the risk of frost damage, or Enviromesh which acts as a barrier to garden pests as well as providing some frost protection.
  • Warm, damp, humid weather increases the risk of potato blight. The first symptoms are brown or blackish irregular patches on the leaves, which quickly spread to all the foliage. The disease easily spreads to neighbouring plants. At the first sign of blight, remove all infected foliage and tubers, and burn. Don’t add to your compost heap to prevent the pathogen spreading to other plants in the garden.

Fruit in November

  • Plant soft fruit plants in ground that has been enriched with well rotted manure or garden compost.
  • Cut the blackberry canes that produced fruit this year back to soil level, and tie new ones into their place.
  • Train any very long blackberry and loganberry canes back down towards the soil or wind the longest stem length in circles. Bury the growing tips of canes in the soil to encourage root production for new plants.
  • Pick ripe apples and, depending on the variety, either eat or store in a cool, dry place for later in the year.
  • Wrap glue bands around the trunks of fruit trees to guard against pests during the winter.

Pots, baskets, and containers in November

  • Use pot feet to raise your patio containers up and make sure they don’t become waterlogged.
  • Plant amaryllis bulbs this month and keep them in a warm place to force indoor flower displays at Christmas.
Leaf Sacks from Suttons

Image: Leaf Sacks

November lawn care

  • Give grass a light trim with the lawn mower if weather conditions are still mild and the grass is still growing. Continue to remove any fallen leaves that have blown onto the lawn.
  • A handy piece of equipment to have for removing leaves (plus other garden debris) from the lawn and paths is an electric garden blower and vacuum.
  • Gather all the fallen leaves in your garden to create your own leaf mould, the equivalent of garden gold-dust. Use environmentally-friendly packs of biodegradable leaf sacks.
  • Use an aerator for spiking lawns and brush horticultural grit into the holes to improve drainage.
  • Keep off the lawn if soil conditions are wet or frosty to avoid damaging the grass.

General November garden jobs

  • Give the outside of your greenhouse a good wash down this month. Try to do it on a warm day, removing any algae and grime that has built up on the glass over time.
  • It’s also a good idea to insulate greenhouses now with bubble air insulation material.
  • Retain warmth in the greenhouse by closing vents by mid-afternoon.
  • Water houseplants less frequently this month as temperatures drop.
  • Check that plants being over-wintered under glass stay healthy and free from disease. Remove any dead flowers along with leaves that may become discoloured.
  • Clean and disinfect pots and seed trays ready for next season’s planting.
  • Plan your garden for next year to make sure you order plants and seeds early.
  • Feed garden birds regularly as temperatures start to fall. Visit our garden bird food and care section for ideas.

November pond care

  • Protect gunnera from frost by covering the plant’s crown with the upturned gunnera leaf, like a hat.
  • Stop feeding fish as the weather cools this month.
  • Remove barley straw bags from the pond this month and add to the compost heap. Allow insects to escape the bags by leaving them overnight by the edge of the pond.
Lead image: Lettuce ‘Vailan Winter Gem’ from Suttons
More Monthly Gardening Tasks by Month