Fail-safe Autumn Planting Guide

When you’re starting out in the garden it can be pretty demotivating when your carefully tended plants fail to flourish. We joined forces with Tui’s Facebook friends to provide some advice on succeeding in the garden this season so you can successfully 'grow your own'.


Key to success is planting plants suited to your environment:

  • Where are the sunny, shady and windy spots? Some plants require more sun than others, and some more shade.
  • What kind of soil do you have – rich dark brown, clay or sandy? Plants thrive in different kinds of soil, and by knowing what kind you have, you can add the right soil amendments to your garden before planting.
  • What is growing well locally? Check out the neighbours to see what plants are thriving, that you like the look of.
  • Head along to the garden centre and ask them what plants will suit your conditions.


To ensure your plants get off to the best start and grow successfully it is so important to make sure you are planting into nutrient rich soil. Add organic matter to your soil like Tui Sheep Pellets or a layer of Tui Compost before planting, and plant into a planting mix designed for the type of plant – like Tui Vegetable Mix.

Plants that can thrive with less attention include:

  • Veges & herbs: silverbeet, garlic, Miner’s lettuce, rocket, rhubarb, Jerusalem and globe artichokes, leeks, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley.
  • Fruit: raspberries and blackberries.
  • Flowers: calendula, lavender, marigolds, sunflowers, salvia, yarrow, daylily, red hot poker.

For something different, succulents are a great option as they are easy to grow and low maintenance. They will thrive without water for weeks!

Tui’s Facebook friends had success with the following veges, with little effort: lettuce, peas, microgreens, silverbeet, radish, beetroot, basil and rhubarb.

Feed & Water

Water is the lifeline of your garden and lack of water is a common cause for plants dying. Installing a watering system will help – you can easily create your own with a soak hose, or setting up sprinklers around your garden. Alternatively there are more sophisticated systems you can buy. A watering system will save you the time and effort of walking around the garden with the hose or watering can.

Layers of Tui Pea Straw Mulch around plants will conserve moisture, making your watering efforts last longer.

Like people, plants need food too, so make sure you feed your garden as required and give plants an application of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic at least once a month to help them thrive.

Click here for more top garden tips and tasks.

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Fail-safe Autumn Planting Guide Comments

  • I agree that when planting new plants make sure that they are in a nutrient rich soil, however, having done that when planting Erica a year or so ago the planting guide said not to put organic matter anywhere near Erica! So I'm wondering what other plants hate organic matter?


  • All your advice is great help! I have a small boxed ( roughly 3 metres by 2) where I grew tomatoes,stawberries and small things this summer. Once I take everything out soon what could I put in for the winter? It is more a little hobby than a serious gardening ...! Many thanks.


  • how long does it take for rose cutting to take , i live in gisborne

    lesley lincoln

  • Hi Dominique, thank you for your feedback. Once you have taken everything out you could plant the following options: lettuce, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflowers, cavolo nero, celery, kale, leeks, silverbeet, spinach, coriander, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme. You could also remove runners from strawberry plants and pot into Tui Strawberry Mix, ready for planting out in the winter. Check out our Gardener's Diary here: Remember to replenish your soil with organic matter such as sheep pellets or compost before planting. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team


  • Thank you for the hints - I always read them - this last season has been poor for growth compared to other years and there is quite an increase of birds into the garden. My vegetables (having been grown in seed mix in punnets on my sunny bay window and they have not adjusted this year plus there seems to be a lot more birds around and plants cabbage, lettuce spinach are full of holes and being stripped - at Oderings the staff are having the same problems - I use mushroom compost, supegrow seaweed pea straw etc

    Annette Carlyon

  • Hi Annette, firstly the best mix to use for vegetables is a vegetable mix or garden mix, seed raising mix doesn't have enough nutrients in it to sustain plant growth. Seeds can be planted in seed raising mix and then the seedlings transplanted into another mix once they have germinated and have two true leaves. Bird theft is a problem, birds will strip foliage as well as pull plants out. I suggest putting whirly gigs (from the $2 shop) or humming tape up to deter them. Do you or your neighbours feed the birds? If you do stop feeding them and they will hopefully go elsewhere. The holes are likely to be slugs and snails, use Tui Quash to control. Mushroom compost needs to be dug into the soil and is not suitable to use in pots, punnets and containers on its own, seaweed and pea straw are ideal for add organic matter to the soil as well. Unfortunately gardeners are at the mercy of the weather so each season is different and we need to adjust what we do and when accordingly. Thanks, Tui Team


  • Hi Jane, Ericas like acidic soil, like rhododendrons, azaleas, daphne, protea and leucadendron. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team


  • Hi Lesley, rose cuttings take about 3-6 months to root from a cutting. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team


  • I am starting a new garden and would like to know if I can use pea straw around plants like erica and camellias that like more acidic soil. If not, how far away can I place the pea straw slabs?

    Marcia Ringle

  • Hi Marcia, yes pea straw is great to use, it conditions the soil adding valuable organic matter, is rich in nitrogen, keeps weeds down and moisture in the soil over the summer months. Erica’s and camellias have very fibrous roots that are close to the surface and they benefit from having a cool moist root run so pea straw slabs are perfect. As with any plant that has mulch applied around it keep the straw about 5-10cm away from the base of the plant to prevent stem rot. Thanks, Tui Team


  • I'm having trouble growing veggies this year. They start of well then just stop growing not worthing picking realy. I grow everything in those long plant boxes screwed on to fences as I don't have room for a garden. I use a mix up garden manure allso compost. Last few years every thing grew well. Regards pthere


  • Hi Pthere, what a shame you are not getting the results you normally do. From what you say it sounds likely your soil may have run out of nutrients or could be lacking in its ability to hold onto moisture. Over time soil gets tired and each season its nutrients need to be replenished. Suggest blending in a mixture of sheep pellets or compost, then add in specific vegetable fertiliser. Compost and manure alone isn’t enough on its own for most crops to thrive. All the best, Tui Team.


  • I have planted well over a dozen fejoia trees over the years and have not had any fejoias. Some trees have lots of healthy looking leaves, others get stick-like branches. We have tried watering them a lot + feeding + mulch. They are in clay and get lots of strong Wellington wind.

    Pip Hart-Smith

  • Hello, my broccoli has only been in the ground a few weeks but the leaves are being stripped by snails! What can I use to get rid of these pests that is safe on edible plants? Many thanks, Gill

    Gillian kerslake

  • Hi Gillian, we recommend Tui Quash slug & snail control - Apply around the plants rather than on the plants. Also check under the leaves of the broccoli for signs of caterpillars, as they could also be enjoying your plants (the white cabbage butterflies love to lay their eggs on brassicas including broccoli). Squash any you see and wash with soapy water. All the best, Tui Team


  • Hi Pip, feijoas are subtropical fruit and are frost tender, clay soils and strong winds are not ideal for subtropical fruit such as feijoas. Is there any way to provide shelter for the trees by planting a wind break hedge or similar? Apply plenty of organic matter to the soil in the way of mulch, sheep pellets, compost and gypsum to help break up the clay soil as they prefer full sun and a well drained soil. Do the feijoas flower or are there no flowers ever? Apply a citrus fertiliser or Tui Novatec which is rich in potassium which is the nutrient plants require to flower and ultimately fruit. Feijoa flowers are predominantly pollinated by birds. You may need to create a microclimate sheltered from the wind for them to thrive. All the best ^Tui Team


  • Excellent information. Thank you

    Jenni Berkers

  • Hi Jenni, you're welcome. Happy gardening from the Tui Team


  • I use slug and snail pellets regularly but after a heavy downpour and over time they dissolve into the soil. Can I just dig them in and replace? Are they harmful to the soil?

    Ron Baker

  • Hi Ron, thanks for getting in touch. Our slug and snail control product (you'd have to check on other brands), Tui Quash, is a flour and bran-based pellet containing iron as the active ingredient. They do break down over time or in wet weather. When they break down the flour and bran nutrients will simply break down in the soil. The iron in the soil can be taken up and used by plants for healthy plant growth so yes they can simply be dug in and replaced. Hope this helps ^Tui Team.


  • Hi my perpetual spinach is getting attacked, looks like lace so many holes. I've put out tui snail bait, also done garlic/detergent spray. I'm out there every day picking of different catapillars and tiny snails. Marigolds are hard to get. Any household remedies or tricks?

    Lisa A

  • Hi Lisa, it is a real challenge when this happens. Suggest you cut your plant hard back, this will remove any leaves that are harbouring eggs which will soon hatch, and as the new growth appears be vigilant and keep an organic bug spray on hand. Continue with Tui Quash, making sure you apply more if it rains. Thanks ^Tui Team


  • Can I clarify from what you said above - use compost OR sheep pellets, but not both? I'm a newbie to vege growing and want to get it right.


    • Hi Lynne, thank you for your question. It is great to hear you have started your own vege garden. You can use either or both together - neither option is wrong. Using them together will provide the ultimate soil conditioner (even more goodness for your soil) so don't be afraid to use both! Happy gardening.

      Tui Team

  • I would like to plant blueberries in pots - Do they grow and fruit well in posts? What size pot is best? Which varieties grow best in Whakatane? thank you Jacqui

    Jacqui Gibson

    • Hi Jacqui, great idea. Yes you can grow blueberries in pots. Choose a container approximately 50cm in diameter - check at your local garden centre. Any of the Rabbiteye or Blueberry Southern Highbush varieties will grow well in the warmer Whakatane climate. Check out the Blueberry Growing Guide on our website for more information on these varieties, along with growing tips. Happy growing! 

      Tui Team