Check the potting mix in pots that will be forced indoors. The mixture
should be evenly moist without standing water. The easiest way to
determine moisture is to lift the pots. A dry pot will be lighter than a
Spot water any dry areas to avoid plant desiccation, but do not
overwater. Overwatering encourages root rot.
Water all plants and the lawn in absence of rainfall.
If a freeze is forecast, well-watered roots are less susceptible to
Use horticulture oil or dormant oil as needed and when
weather is on warming trend for scale-prone trees, such as: oaks,
hollies, camellias, euonymus, pecan and fruit trees, and deciduous
Houseplants: mealy bugs, spider mites, scale: insecticidal soap.
Quarantine gift plants for a few days until determined that they do not
have any problems.
Watch for gray mold on clustered plants in high moisture conditions,
Watch for damping-off, HY Captan.
Watch for grass fungus (brown patch, take-off, etc.), FL
Weed-Out, Spectrum Weed Stop.
Pre-treat for early season weeds – Late January: Spread
pre-emergent herbicide, balan.
Handpull winter annuals such as common chickweed and henbit.
Handpull wild garlic (wild onions) when the soil is moist to make sure
the bulb is removed, otherwise it will resprout.
If you don’t already have one, start a gardening journal. This will
allow you to have a record of your activities so you can learn and
improve your techniques. Take time to check out some garden catalogs for
new plants and techniques. If you had in persistent pests, consider new
varieties that are pest-resistant.
Make a growing chart to determine where and when you need to plant.
Organize your seed packets (not only your flowers, remember vegetables
and herbs too) for your sowing schedule.
If you are preparing a new border for bulbs, now is the time to mix
compost, lime or other amendments into the bed. Make sure soil is not
wet. If it does not crumble easily in your hand, let it dry out.
Southern and Coastal: now is also the time to prepare your site for
roses. Make sure soil is not wet. Dig and work the soil thoroughly over
as large an area as possible. Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic
matter. Add limestone to increase soil pH (if recommended by soil-test).
Mix material into bed 8 to 12 inches deep. Allow the bed to settle for a
few days before planting.
Northern: check winter protection on roses. Mulch should cover crown of
plant, particularly at the bud union.
Bring out one or two pots of bulbs each week so that there will be a
steady stream of flowers in your home. Start them out in the coolest
spot in your home, which will allow the flowers to last longer in
bright, but indirect, light. When the leaves turn green and begin to
grow, place in a sunny window and flowers should open up shortly. As
blossoms fade, either compost the bulbs or put the pots in a sunny place
where the leaves can recharge the bulbs to be planted outdoors later.
To encourage amaryllis to bloom next year: remove withered flowers and
give plenty of sunlight and nutrients to strengthen the bulbs.
Try propagating houseplants by air-layering.
Turn compost pile monthly or more often and keep moist.
Add compost to and till the garden plot (make sure soil is not wet).
Keep a layer of mulch at the feet of your bulbs, especially in Northern
Check stored bulbs and discard rotten ones.
Give houseplants a bath in lukewarm water to remove dust.
Make sure indoor plants are receiving enough light with the shorter days
and low sun angle.
Move tender plants away from windows on extremely cold nights. Curtains
or windowshades between the plant and the window will reduce the chances
of cold injury.
To keep poinsettias that have finished flowering, turn pots on their
sides and let them dry completely. Cut them back lightly. Keep in a
temperature of 550 to 600.
To keep flowering holiday gift plants looking their best, move them to a
spot that is 100 cooler at night.
Plants growing under fluorescent lights need to rest at night. Rely on
an automatic timer to keep the lights on for about twelve to sixteen
(but no more the eighteen) hours per day before shutting them off
automatically at night.
Dust your houseplants. Use a damp cloth on smooth hairless leaves and a
soft paint or cosmetic brush on hairy leaves.
Continue to harvest carrots, radishes and turnips. Also, lettuce and
spinach in cold frames or under protective coverings.
Maintain non-dormant ryegrass-overseeded bermudagrass lawns at a height
of 1 inch.
Service your mower and equipment before storing.
Feed the birds!