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Published on January 2nd 2022
A close up of a flower
It is high summer and the garden is ablaze with vibrant colour. January is the perfect time to re-assess your garden and plan for the gardening year ahead. So, before rushing out into the garden with shovel and secateurs in hand, take a moment to start a gardening journal and scribble down your dreams, new strategies and resolutions for your 2021 garden.
Here are a few tasks to take care of in January:

MUST dos this month

  • Avoid the heat of the midsummer sun by doing your gardening chores in the early morning or late afternoon.
  • Plant out bulbs of Amaryllis belladonna (March lily) as soon as they are available. Keep the necks of the bulbs above ground level when planting.
  • Keep all beds mulched to preserve soil moisture and prevent weeds from germinating.
A pile of dirt

General tasks

  • To conserve water, water in the evenings and early mornings when temperatures are lower.
A hand holding a bat
  • Get on top of weeding!
  • Give shrubs and trees their second feed of the season as they put out a flush of growth. Apply one or two handfuls of a general fertilizer like 2:3:2.
  • Mow the lawn regularly and apply a balanced granular fertilizer like 5:1:5 or 3:1:5 towards the middle of the month and water well.
A close up of a green field
  • To extend the flowering period of annuals, keep feeding with a foliar feed.
  • Deadhead flowering plants to encourage more blooms.
  • Rejuvenate lanky Salvias, Petunias and Nicotianas by cutting back, mulching and feeding.
  • Lightly prune early summer-flowering shrubs which were not pruned in the previous month.
  • Cut back untidy wild rhubarb plants.
A pink white Acanthus mollis flower on a plant

Wilde Rabarber

Acanthus mollis

A bird sitting on a branch
  • For late summer to early autumn colour, fill in gaps with seedlings of fast-maturing annuals like Cosmos, Marigolds and Alyssum.
  • Divide and replant overcrowded Arum lilies which are beginning to die down.
  • Collect ‘plantlets’ on the older stems of Daylilies to propagate.
A close up of a flower
Not sure how to propagate by cuttings? Dig into the easy step-by-step how-to guides below.

Grow from softwood cuttings

A softwood cutting is a shoot terminal with the growing tip intact. They are mostly taken very early in the season before there is any sign of hardening in the new shoot. They can take about 4 - 8 weeks to root and herbaceous plants (those plants that die down in winter) are usually best propagated by taking 8 - 10cm softwood cuttings in Spring. They include: Chrysanthemum, Fuschia, Dahlia, Hydrangea, Impatiens, Pelargonium and geranium. However, in this how-to guide, we took softwood cuttings from lavender which is not a herbaceous plant.

Grow from hardwood cuttings

Hardwood cuttings are taken from deciduous trees and plants (ones that lose their leaves in winter) when they are dormant between April and October. Hardwood cuttings are taken from well-ripened wood, and growth is made directly from buds that are dormant when the cutting is taken - the buds are usually visible. Unripened cuttings of this type will not propagate successfully and the best cuttings are made from the middle wood of the long shoot. Cuttings can take anything from 5 - 12 months or longer to take root and shoot be planted out in late autumn or winter.

Rose care

  • Feed roses with an enriched organic food high in potash to encourage a new flush of flowers.
  • Prune lightly at the end of the month.
A close up of a flower

Food garden

  • Continue to feed vegetables at regular intervals and keep well-watered.
  • Harvest the abundance of spinach and other salads that survived, as well as beans, onions and herbs that thrive in the warm season.
  • Make your last planting of beans and plant seeds for dill, basil, borage, parsley and chervil.
  • Continue sowing fast-maturing summer veggies like radish, swiss chard, baby marrow and spring onions.
A group of fruit and vegetable salad
  • Provide support for heavily laden branches of eggplants and tomatoes.
  • Mulch lettuce and keep the soil moist to prevent bolting in hot weather.
  • Take slips of thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram and tarragon.
  • Cut back comfrey flowers to promote leaf-production and harvest leaves to compost or use as liquid fertilizer.
  • Remove all ripe or fallen fruit to avoid a breeding place for critters and fruit fly.
  • Summer prune deciduous fruit trees by removing strong branches near the top of the tree overshadowing the centre. Apply a post-harvest feed.

Indoor plant care

  • Feed Cymbidium orchids with low nitrogen, high potash feed (3:1:6) to encourage flower spike formation. Water and mist spray regularly.
A close up of a flower

Pests to look out for this month

  • Lily borer caterpillars on Amaryllis, Agapanthus, Crinum, Nerine and Clivia.
  • Powdery and downy mildew, rust and black spot on roses, dahlias, hydrangeas, and vegetables like pumpkin, squash, eggplant and tomatoes.
  • Keep an eye out for rust and black spot especially in hot humid areas.
  • Whitefly
  • Scale
  • Check your lawn for King crickets and lawn caterpillar
  • Thrips
  • Chafer beetles, especially on roses.
  • Red spiders on fuchsias, roses, hydrangeas, beans and tomatoes.

January's flowering favourites


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