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Plant care directory

Find out how to get the best from your garden, from choosing good plants, to controlling troublesome pests and diseases.

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  • Acacia boormanii

    Acacia: pruning

    Acacias are attractive trees and shrubs grown for their sweetly-scented, tiny yellow flowers. Commonly known as mimosa or wattle, mature plants need minimal pruning, but young plants need more care to establish an attractive shape.

  • Agapanthus


    Agapanthus (African lily) are summer-flowering perennial plants, grown for their showy flowers, commonly in shades of blue and purple, but also white and pink. They thrive in any well-drained, sunny position in the garden, or grow these beauties in containers.

  • Air layering. Copyright: GPL

    Air layering of plants

    Air layering is a method of propagating new trees and shrubs from stems still attached to the parent plant. The stem is wrapped with damp moss to encourage roots to form.

  • Moss can add character to garden features. Image: John Trentholm/RHS

    Algae, lichens, liverworts and moss

    Algae, lichens, liverworts and moss are often found growing in damp or shady places in the garden on plants, soil and hard surfaces. They do not cause any harm, and can usually be tolerated as they can give a mature look to a garden. But they can make paths and lawns slippery and make ponds and borders unsightly so control is sometimes necessary.

  • Alliums. Image: RHS


    Alliums, also known as ornamental onions, are grown for their showy flower heads, which come in wide range of sizes and shades of blue, purple, white and yellow. Even when the plants die back, the dried flower heads look attractive in the garden, or can be cut for indoor display.

  • Starting an allotment

    Allotment: getting started

    Finding an allotment and readying it for cultivation can seem a daunting task, but with these simple steps a productive plot is easier than you might think.

  • ©RHS PUB0031977

    Alpines for dry stone walls

    Alpine plants thrive in the well-drained crevices of dry stone walls and along their top where the foliage and flowers can be seen to their best effect.

  • ©RHS RHS-0007050


    Alstroemeria are tuberous perennials originating from South America. They are a great addition to borders combining well with other plants and making excellent cut flowers. Alstroemeria are free flowering, producing attractive flowers in a wide range of colours from June until the first frosts.

  • © RHS / Andrew Halstead (SCN0002362)

    Apple tree problems: frequently asked questions

    Apples are easy to grow, productive, and there are cultivars, shapes and sizes for every garden. They can be susceptible to a range of pests (such as the woolly aphid pictured below), diseases and disorders, but in most cases action can be taken to prevent or control the problem. Susceptibility to the problems differs between cultivars – you would be very unlucky to have a tree that suffers from all of the problems listed below!

    Here we give answers to many of the common problems encountered. They are grouped by the area of the tree affected: shoots; leaves and flowers.

  • Apple 'Cox' trained as a cordon. Image: Tim Sandall/RHS


    Apples are easy to grow, productive and there are varieties and growth forms for every garden. You can even grow them in containers. They should be valued as a long term investment as they take a few years to crop, but once they start, they will do so for many years.

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