What to do in your garden in January

Kim Nelson,  – December 10, 2004


Bare-root roses. Sunset climate zones 11-13: Set out bare-root plants. Forlarge flowers on sturdy stems, choose hybrid tea roses like the new’Change of Heart’ (pink blooms with spicy scent), ‘Ellé'(shell pink-and-yellow blooms with spicy citrus scent), or’Voluptuous’ (deep pink with sweet scent). For large clusters ofsmaller flowers, consider these new floribunda types: ‘FragrantWave’ (white and spicy) and ‘Tuscan Sun’ (apricot orange with lightspicy scent). All of these roses are available from Jackson &Perkins (www.jacksonandperkins.comor 800/292-4769).

Cool-season flowers. Zones 10, 11: Set out transplants ofbachelor’s button, calendula, sweet pea, and violet. Zones 12-13:Set out transplants of pansy, petunia, snapdragon, sweet pea, andwallflower. Sow seeds of African daisy, ageratum, gaillardia,hollyhock, larkspur, nasturtium, poppy, and stock.

Fruit trees. Zones 11-13: Set out bare-root stock of apples,apricots, peaches, and plums.

Herbs. Zones 11-13: Sow seeds of cilantro, dill, epazote,and parsley.

Peppers, tomatoes. Zones 12, 13: Start seeds of peppers andtomatoes in a warm, bright spot indoors. Seedlings should be readyto transplant outdoors in 8 to 10 weeks. Two good seed sources:Natural Gardening Company (www.naturalgardening.comor 707/766-9303) and Totally Tomatoes (www.totallytomato.com or800/345-5977).

Veggie seeds. Order vegetable varieties that perform well inthe Southwest from these local firms: Native Seeds/Search (www.nativeseeds.org or520/622-5561); Roswell Seed Company (505/622-7701); and Seedsof Change (www.seedsofchange.com or888/762-7333).


Control insects. Indoors, inspect houseplants for aphids,scale insects, spider mites, and mealybugs. Rinse infested plantswith commercial insecticidal soap or a solution of 1 tablespoon ofdishwashing liquid mixed with 1 gallon of water. Blast gray aphidsoff plants with a strong jet of water.

Feed bearded irises. Zones 11?13: Spread a fertilizerformulated for bulbs around plants, gently scratch it into thesoil, and water well.

Propagate houseplants. For ivy, snip a few inches off thetips of the parent plant, dip cut ends in rooting hormone, andplace in moist potting soil. For pothos, snip off elongated stemsand immerse cut ends in water until roots form, then transplant topotting soil. For spider plant, remove runners, dip cut ends inrooting hormone, and place in potting soil.

Prune roses. Zones 10-13: On floribunda and hybrid tearoses, remove unhealthy canes, then cut out thin, crossing, andinward-growing canes. Leave only five or six sturdy canes and prunethem back to 18 inches long. Drop a dot of all-purpose glue on eachcut end to seal the wound and discourage insects and diseases.

Spray dormant trees, shrubs. After pruning dormant deciduoustrees and shrubs, spray horticultural oil to kill overwinteringinsects, eggs, and larvae.

Transplant perennials. Zones 11-13: Relocate seedlings ofperennials such as desert marigold, penstemon, salvia, and Sphaeralcea (globe mallow).