What to plant in Melbourne in Summer (December, January, February)

Melbourne summers can get brutally hot, often with periods around 40 degrees Celcius.

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Anything you plant now is going to have to be able to handle whatever the Melbourne summer can throw at it.

If you love your homegrown veggies and want some great new ideas on what to plant in Melbourne and Victoria during summer, this guide should help.

Our Melbourne summer planting guide is broken into sections by month. Click the links below to jump to a specific month:

What to plant in December in Melbourne

December can be a tricky month for planting in Melbourne and the rest of Victoria.

The focus for most gardeners will be keeping plants and vegetables alive as the days heat up.

However, there are still a few plants that can be sowed this month:

Direct sowing in December

Grow Guide: Carrots

Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Daucus
Plant type: Perennial grown as annual
Height: Up to 50cm
Climate: Suitable for most climates
How to plant carrots
Soil: Well-drained soil with compost
Soil pH range: 6 to 7
Soil temperature: 21°C – 27°C
Spacing needs: Thin to 3cm once seedlings have sprouted
Seed depth: 2cm
Germination days: 10 days
When to sow: Any time of year depending on location
Caring for carrots
Sun: Full sun
Water: Water regularly to keep soil moist (but be careful not to over-water)
Feeding: Not necessary but may benefit from a low nitrogen fertiliser
Harvesting carrots
Time to harvest: 8 to 12 weeks for small, sweet carrots (max 16 to 18 weeks).
When to harvest: The top of the carrot should start to poke out of the ground when it’s ready for harvest. The top of the carrot should be 1.9 – 2.5cm in diameter.

Grow Guide: Beetroot

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Beta
Plant type: Annual
Height: Up to 90cm
Climate: Suitable for most climates
How to plant beetroot
Soil: Well drained soil with compost and decomposed manure
Soil pH range: 6 to 7
Soil temperature: 10 to 25°C
Spacing needs: Plant a seed every 2cm then thin to 7cm spacing when they sprout.
Seed depth: 2cm
Germination days: 5 to 8 days
When to sow: Year round in warm areas, from July to March in temperate areas
Caring for beetroot
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Water regularly to keep soil moist
Feeding: Apply a seaweed-based fertiliser like Seasol (avoid high-nitrogen fertilisers)
Harvesting beetroot
Time to harvest: 2 to 3 months
When to harvest: The top of the beetroot will rise out of the soil when it is mature. Harvest before they grow too large (7cm max).

Grow Guide: Pumpkin

Family: Cucurbits
Genus: Squash
Plant type: Annual
Height: Up to 90cm
Climate: Can be grown in most climates
How to plant pumpkin
Soil: Rich, well-draining soil with lots of compost and aged manure
Soil pH range: 6 to 6.5
Soil temperature: At least 20°C
Spacing needs: 60-80 cm between plants
Seed depth: 2cm deep in a 10cm high, 40cm wide mound
Germination days: Up to 10 days
When to sow: After last frost in temperate and cool climates, year round in warm climates
Caring for pumpkin
Sun: Full sun
Water: Regular watering to keep the soil moist. Avoid getting the leaves wet.
Feeding: Feeding is not necessary but they may benefit from a balanced fertiliser
Harvesting pumpkin
Time to harvest: 15 to 20 weeks
When to harvest: Harvest pumpkin when the skin is dull and hard. If you can pierce the skin of the fruit with your fingernail, it’s not ready yet.

Grow Guide: Cucumbers

Family: Cucurbits
Genus: Cucumis
Plant type: Annual
Height: Up to 1.5m
Climate: Suitable for most climates
How to plant cucumbers
Soil: Well-draining soil amended with compost
Soil pH range: 6 to 7
Soil temperature: 20°C – 30°C
Spacing needs: 40 – 50cm (two seeds per mound)
Seed depth: 3cm
Germination days: 3 to 10 days
When to sow: September – January in temperate climates, July – March in subtropics
Caring for cucumbers
Sun: Full sun in cooler climates, partial shade in warmer climates
Water: Water regularly (roots only) to keep the soil moist, but be careful not to over-water
Feeding: Feed with seaweed based fertiliser when planting and when fruit starts to appear.
Harvesting cucumbers
Time to harvest: 8 to 10 weeks
When to harvest: When the fruit reaches the target size

Seedlings to plant in December

December is also a suitable time to plant out the following seedlings:

  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Capsicum
  • Chilli
  • Lettuce
  • Salad greens
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Silverbeet
  • Sweet corn
  • Zucchini

What to plant in January in Melbourne

January is not a good time to plant directly into the soil in Melbourne because of the potential for extreme temperatures.

Instead, focus on watering, mulching, feeding and weeding the plants you already have in the ground.

If you really want to get something in the ground this month, try planting seedlings of basil, parsley, mizuna, chives, lettuce, salad greens, mustard greens, or rocket.

However, keep in mind that you may need to provide them with some shade in high temperatures.

RELATED: What to plant in Melbourne in September

What to plant in February in Melbourne

February can be another challenging month in Melbourne due to high temperatures and low rainfall.

The focus in February should be on keeping the soil moist for whatever plants you have in the ground.

Brassicas like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussel sprouts can be planted into containers in February.

Other plants suitable for punnet planting include celery, spring onion, silverbeet, and spinach.

Options for direct sowing include the following:

Direct sowing in February

  • Beetroot
  • Coriander
  • Carrot
  • Chives
  • Parsnip
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Silverbeet
  • Fennel
  • Rocket
  • Mustard greens
  • Asian greens

Grow Guide: Radish

Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Raphanus
Plant type: Annual
Height: 5 to 30cm
Climate: Can be grown in most climates
How to plant radish
Soil: Loose, well-drained soil
Soil pH range: 6 to 7
Soil temperature: 13°C to 24°C
Spacing needs: Thin to 10 to 15cm
Seed depth: 1 to 2 cm
Germination days: 5 to 7 days
When to sow: Year round depending on variety and local climate
Caring for radish
Sun: Full sun
Water: Regular watering to keep the soil moist
Feeding: Not required
Harvesting radish
Time to harvest: 4 to 6 weeks for summer varieties, 8 to 10 weeks for winter varieties
When to harvest: When they reach around 2.5cm in diameter. Summer radishes should be harvested young while winter varieties can be left in the ground longer.

Grow Guide: Silverbeet (Chard)

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Beta
Plant type: Biennial
Height: Up to 75cm
Climate: Can be grown in most climates
How to plant silverbeet
Soil: Rich, well-draining soil with lots of compost and aged manure
Soil pH range: 6 to 7
Soil temperature: 10°C to 30°C
Spacing needs: 20 – 30cm
Seed depth: 2cm (soak before sowing)
Germination days: 10 to 14 days
When to sow: Spring, summer, or autumn in temperate climates, or year-round in warmer climates
Caring for silverbeet
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Regular watering
Feeding: Use a high-nitrogen liquid fertiliser during the growing season
Harvesting silverbeet
Time to harvest: 8 weeks
When to harvest: When leaves are mature. Harvest as much as you need.

Grow Guide: Parsley

Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Petroselinum
Plant type: Biennial grown as annual
Height: 15 to 45 cm
Climate: Can be grown in most climates
How to plant parsley
Soil: Rich, well-draining soil with lots of compost and aged manure
Soil pH range: 6 to 7
Soil temperature: 18 to 21°C
Spacing needs: 20cm
Seed depth: 1 – 3cm
Germination days: 14 to 30 days
When to sow: Spring, summer, or autumn
Caring for parsley
Sun: Full sun
Water: Regular watering
Feeding: Feed with seaweed based fertiliser when planting and then weekly after that
Harvesting parsley
Time to harvest: 10 to 16 weeks
When to harvest: Once there are a few healthy stems and a decent amount of foliage

Seedlings to plant in February

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Spring onion
  • Lettuce
  • Salad greens
  • Leek
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery

FAQ

What herbs grow in Melbourne summer?

Basil, chives, coriander, mint, oregano, and parsley will all grow in Melbourne summer.

What vegetables grow all year round?

Vegetables that grow year round in Melbourne include beetroot, lettuce, potato, and radish.

Photo of author

Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY, and is always up for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking delicious meals from fresh produce picked from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.