Tips and Advice

Pro gardening tips from the experts at Kings Plant Barn

Need help in the garden?  The team at Kings Plant Barn are here to help

I want to sow a lawn in a shady spot. Is there any way this can be done?
It is not impossible, however you need to choose a shade-tolerant lawn seed. If the area is under a tree, prune away any lower limbs to let more light through.  As your grass is establishing, remember that the shaded spots won’t need as much water – a common mistake is overwatering, causing moss to form.

I live in Auckland. Can I use garden soil for my pot plants?
We don’t recommend using garden soil for pots. This is because most of Auckland’s soil contains clay, which turns into a slushy mess or a solid brick, depending on the weather. A free-draining mix is best for pots. Potting mix is best for indoor plants, cacti, succulents and bulbs. Container mix (or mixes with water-absorbent granules) will help lock in moisture for longer, while still draining well. If clay soil was to be used in a pot, it would dry quickly, becoming compact and making it hard for the plant to access any water you give it.

Is there any way I can grow peonies in the Auckland area?
Most peonies don’t do well in Auckland due to not getting a cold enough snap over winter. However, if you are in South Auckland or have a patch on the property that gets frosts, this is probably the best place to try and grow them.

I want to grow an abundance of strawberries this year. What should I do?
Strawberry seedlings can be planted in winter in warmer regions. This helps them settle into the ground and become established in early spring, giving you an extra flush of berries before anyone else. Protect your berries from birds with bird netting, as once they find your crop you will essentially be feeding them instead. Plus, top up the plants with strawberry food throughout spring and summer for larger, sweeter tasting fruit.

Head to for more gardening advice and inspo.

Home experts are just a click away