Published on January 4th 2021
A close up of a purple 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.
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  • 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 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.

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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