What To Do In Your Southern California Garden in November

Tomorrow we “Fall Back” (if you are reading this in 2011) don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour and enjoy and extra hour of sleep. I am a winter baby and a night bird, so I just love this time of year! I hope you enjoy it too.

Here is your list of gardening chores for November, grab a cup of cocoa, a hot spiced cider, put your gardening gloves on and get out into that Southern California Garden!

1. Plant Winter Vegetables – If you haven’t turned over your summer veggie crops to winter, get a move on! I’m big on bok choy and Chinese vegetables this year, and I’m tucking a lot of leafy greens and leafy red greens (oxymoron?) into my container designs! Even if you don’t love deep red mustard greens to eat, they pack a powerful punch with some blood red snapdragons in a pot! For more about those winter edibles, check out my post. How To Grow Winter Veggies

2. Plant Cool Season Herbs – Try some dill, parsley, cilantro, and chives. They flourish in the cooler weather. Your tender summer herbs like basils and French tarragon can be put into pretty pots and brought into the kitchen to extend their use. Your oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage should continue to do just fine, they are perennial and don’t need replanting.

3. Fall Clean Up – Clear out around your fruit trees. It is time to discard old leaves under your trees, split fruit, you can also check your berry plants. Remove old raspberry & blackberry canes now – and let the plants breath. You can also thin them out and move some to new locations.

4. Plant Winter Blooming Shrubs, vines, and perennials. Plant your Clivia, Carolina Jessaming Hardenbergia, Breath of Heaven, Ceanothus, and Cyclamen (which are a great Christmas addition) now and they will be well established and blooming in the winter months

5. Select new deciduous trees – November is a great time to select a colorful new tree for your yard. If you select while the leaves are changing you are more likely to get just the color you like best. Remember planting on the south or west side of your home will help save energy. Cooling you house in summer, and defoliating in winter to let more sun into your home.

6. Prune Evergreen Trees - November is the time to trim evergreen shrubs; you can also remove & replace overgrown shrubs if necessary. Don’t prune evergreen OAKS!!!! They should be pruned in the summer.

7. California Native Plants - This is an excellent time start planting that native garden you planned last month, Fall and winter are the best time to plant natives because your plants will receive the winter water that comes around and they are happy not to be planted in the hot, hot heat.

8. Plant Cool Season Annuals - Peruse your local nursery, the cool season annuals are starting to show up, ageratum, and pansies – also think out of the box and plant some kale or mustard greens in pots or right in the ground. Annuals don’t make up a very large part of my garden style, but they sure can add punch to a garden that is maturing.

9. Fertilize - This should be your last fertilizer application of the year—that includes your lawn! So don’t let this opportunity slip by. You’ll want to feed citrus trees with a citrus fertilizer at a rate of 1 pound per foot of tree spread. It is also a great time to fertilize summer bloomers with a high organic phosphorus fertilizer. The phosphorus takes some time to absorb into the plant so November application will mean May – July flowering plants. Remember that the organics will be dog attractants, so be sure to keep an eye on those digging pups!
Note for Palm Trees, shrubs, and ornamentals:

I like slow-release fertilizers because they provide a steady supply of nutrients for the plants over a long period of time. The main advantage of a slow release fertilizer is its convenience. As you can imagine, slow release fertilizers do not need to be applied as often as water-soluble fertilizers. The optimum fertilizer regimen is three applications per year: once in early spring, once in early summer, and once in late fall. Use a balanced fertilizer (equal numbers) with micronutrients.

Give those houseplants their last fertilizer for the winter too – lower light, and heaters will stress them out if you force more growth, but please don’t stop watering them!

10. Plant Citrus Trees – There is still a nice selection of fruit trees, and they might be on sale to make room for Christmas Trees! Check your local nursery (not big box stores) for the varieties that grow best in your area.

11. Repot Cacti & Succulents – If they are outgrowing their container and are not in bloom, it is a good time to give them a new fresh look for the holidays? Who doesn’t like a new outfit

12. Look for Bare Root Plants – You can keep an eye open for bare root plants, in California we can plant them right through February. Fruit trees, grapes, roses – keep a look out for your favorites and save money!

13. Notice the Shadows - Take a little time during this time of the year to notice how the shadows are changing around your landscape. Notice what is getting sun and what is getting shade, it might shed some light on why some of your plants are not thriving. You may not realize what little sun they are really getting during the winter months, and by noticing you might decide to transplant a few. Since the time has changed you will get a completely different view than last month!

14. Mulch! - Don’t forget to apply a nice 3” layer of mulch to your plants. It will keep them warm, discourage weeds, and help retain the winter rains.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, I’m available for consultations, and designs – I would love to be a part of your project!

I would also like to remind you that next Sunday November 13, 2011 – Tami Smight and I are going on a Design Destination and we’d love to have you along.
Designers Tami Smight & Julie Molinare have been shopping flea markets & antique stores for select clients, let them help you find one of a kind treasures for your home and garden. On Sunday November 13, 2011 you are invited to….

Learn how to shop like a designer with a guided tour of the Rose Bowl Flea Market

Gain creative inspiration from two designers for the day!
Lean the art of accessorizing your home and garden!
Purchase one of a kind treasures that will make your home/garden sing!


  • Sunday November 13, 2011
  • 8:00 am: Meet at Courtyard by Marriott parking lot
  • Return between 1-3 pm
  • Dress for sunny, warm weather (layers work well) bring a hat & water!
  • Carry your own purchases to the car
  • Food and drinks available for purchase at the Bowl
  • Bring cash for purchases (some vendors do accept cc)
  • Your investment is $275/person --- discount!!! $250/person
  • Fee includes transportation, parking, admission, items selection assistance & design advice.

This event is limited to only five (5) people and we only have THREE (3) spots left!
email our team email and we will coordinate payment via cash, check or credit card


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