January Gardening Tips, Tasks, and Problems



  • To clean heavily encrusted clay pots, scrub them with a steel wool pad after soaking them overnight in a solution of 16:1 water and white vinegar.
  • Be sure to keep houseplant foliage dust-free. This will allow the leaves to get the most light possible.
  • Humidity levels are usually lower in the winter. Be sure houseplants are receiving adequate humidity by providing pebble trays, placing houseplants near each other, or using a humidifier. 
  • Be sure to quarantine new houseplants and inspect carefully for pests.
  • After amaryllis have bloomed: remove spent flowers and set the plant in a sunny window to allow the leaves to fully develop. Keep the soil evenly moist and fertilize occasionally with a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. 
  • Evenly water plants with tepid water. Uneven watering can lead to oedema, and watering with cold water can shock the plant. 
  • Some plants such as spider plants, dracaenas, calatheas, and peace lilies, are sensitive to harsh chemicals in tap water like fluorine and chlorine. Damage can appear as tip browning. Water with distilled or filtered water, or allow tap water to sit for 24 hours to allow the chemicals to evaporate.

Trees, Shrubs, & Ornamentals

  • Allow ice to naturally melt off as it can cause branches to easily break. Prune off broken or damaged branches promptly to prevent the bark from tearing.
  • Check fruit trees for evidence of rodent injury to bark. Use baits or traps where necessary. 
  • Sow pansy seeds indoors now.
  • Avoid foot traffic on frozen lawns as this may injure turf grass.

  • Sow seeds of broccoli and cabbage indoors now to transplant into the garden in early March.


  • Use sand, birdseed, sawdust, or vermiculite to gain traction on icy paths. Avoid salt or chemical ice melt as these may injure plants.
  • Monitor overwintering dormant plants, bulbs, and tubers by ensuring they are not completely dried out or rotting.
  • Be on the lookout for seed and nursery catalogs. Now is an excellent time to start planning this year's garden.
  • Check seeds for viability by placing 10 seeds on a damp paper towel and keep them warm and moist. If fewer than half the seeds sprout, order new seeds.
  • If you didn't get bulbs in the ground before it froze, plant them in peat pots, place outside, and bury under a thick layer of leaves or mulch.
  • Now is a great time to start a garden journal. Write down what plants you currently have, how they have performed, and what you plan on growing this year. Make a resolution to keep records of your garden this year.
  • Swap seeds and plant information with fellow gardening friends. 
  • Make tools easier to spot by applying brightly colored paint or tape to the handles.

  • Christmas tree boughs can be used to mulch garden beds.