Residential Lawn & Garden

Gardening Almanac

January

What to Plant in January

Flowers

Annuals: Alyssum, Bracteantha, Calendula, California Poppy, Carnation, Delphinium. Dianthus, Diasscia, Dusty Miller, Foxglove, Gaillardia, Geranium, Lobelia, Ornamental Cabbage/Kale, Nemesia, Osteospermum, Pansy, Petunia, Snapdragon, Statice, Verbena, Viola.

Vegetables

Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Endive-Escarole, Green Onions, Lettuce, Mustard, Peas, Potatoes, Turnips

Herbs and Spices

Anise, Basil, Bay Laurel, Borage, Caraway, Cardamon, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro/Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Horehound, Lemon Balm, Lovage, Marjoram, Mexican Tarragon, Mint, Nasturtium,Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Thyme, Watercress.

Bulbs

African Lily, Alstroemeria, Amaryllis, Aztec Lily, Calla, Crinum, Daylily, Gloriosa Lily, Hurricane Lily, Louisiana Iris, Moraea, Shell Ginger, Spider Lily, Tritonia, Tuberose, Voodoo Lily, Walking Iris.

What to Do in January

For more details on the following, call your local Extension office or visit the University of Florida’s publication website: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu  

Plant or transplant cold hardy shrubs and trees. Dig a planting hole twice the width of the root ball, but no deeper. Place the plant in the soil at the same level it was growing in the container or ground. Do not compact soil or prune foliage; the plant will shed what it can't support.

Prune deciduous fruit and ornamental plants. Leaf -losing plants like Crape Myrtle can be pruned at this time. Certain fruiting plants, such as grapes and peaches, have specific pruning requirements. Contact your County Extension Service for pruning information.

Protect tender plants from cold. Use covers that extend to the ground, but that do not touch the plants. Properly arranged, the covers will trap heat from the ground and protect tender plants.

Lightly prune annuals. Remove 1/2 - 1 inch of tip growth from each stem. Remember flowering annuals produce blooms on the new growth. The more branching you encourage the lovelier the flowering display.

Test soil. It takes time to change soil pH. Have your soil pH tested now in readiness for the spring gardening season. County Extension offices provide soil testing services and recommendations.

Irrigate to meet the needs of plants. Plants have reduced water needs during the cool, short days of winter. One-half to three-quarters inch of water every 7-10 days (or less often) will suffice for lawns and landscape plants. Adjust automatic time clocks to a winter watering schedule.

Plant deciduous fruit trees. Winter is an excellent time to establish hardy, leaf-losing fruit trees. Certain varieties of apples, blackberries, blueberries, figs, peaches, pears, and persimmons do well in Central Florida .

Plant and fertilize cool season annuals and vegetables. Check the planting guide to see what annuals and vegetables can be planted this month. Annuals and vegetables benefit from frequent, light applications of fertilizer. Apply 6-6-6 or a similar complete fertilizer at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet (or 1 pound of 12-12-12 ). Repeat on a monthly basis. An alternative approach is to use timed-release fertilizers such as Osmocote or Dynamite. These fertilizers release nutrients slowly and only one application every 2 to 4 months is necessary.

Fertilize citrus trees. Young trees (to 4 years old) should be fertilized four to six times per year, from January to October. Do not use a fertilizer with an analysis higher than 8-8-8 . Apply 1 pound of fertilizer per year of tree age per application. For mature, bearing trees older than 4 years, apply fertilizer three times each year: in January-February, May-June and October-November. Apply 1 pound of fertilizer per year of the tree’s age up to a maximum of 10 pounds per application. An 8-8-8 fertilizer containing secondary nutrients (particularly magnesium, manganese, copper and boron) is recommended. Fertilize an area twice the diameter of the tree canopy.

Stockpile leaves. Find a corner of your yard where fallen leaves from oaks and other leaf-losing trees can be stockpiled until grass mowing begins again. Mix leaves and grass clippings together to form a "hot," fast-working compost pile.

Spray persistent scale insect problems with horticultural oil. Spray the trunks and main branches of deciduous fruit trees with horticultural oil that smothers and kills these damaging insects.

Establish shade tolerant ground covers under trees. Growing grass in heavy shade is often futile. Try planting plugs of Seville , Amerishade, or Palmetto. If these St. Augustine cultivars don’t survive, it is doubtful any grass will. Substitute the grass with shade tolerant ground covers like Asiatic Jasmine, Ivies, or Mondo Grass.


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