If you’re anything like me, by January you’ll have had enough of being content with looking forward to sunnier days, and will be longing to get outside and plant something.
I dearly love the whole process of coaxing plants into life, and it feels like an age since I last pushed a seed into some earth and willed it to grow. I think I have the gardening equivalent of itchy feet!
To satisfy my cravings, I’ve been looking at which plants will tolerate being planted in January and go on to thrive. If you’d like to do some planting this month, here are some suggestions for what to plant in January.
Flowers to plant in January
*Sweet peas are ideal for sowing now if you can keep them indoors in seed trays until they germinate. Move them to a frost-free greenhouse or cold frame once this has happened.
Sowing sweet peas now to plant out later will give you bigger plants than if you hang on until spring. They’re perfect for little hands too, because the seeds are quite big and therefore easy to handle.
Winter bedding plants
It’s not too late to use winter bedding plants to give your garden an instant lift. Garden centres, DIY stores and supermarkets usually have a good range on offer.
Pansies, violas, cyclamen, ivy and heather are all great options for creating a colourful winter display. Consider also using evergreen grasses to bulk up containers and provide foliage, texture and height.
Bare root roses
If you’d like to add some roses to your garden, bare root plants are a cost-effective way to do it.
You can plant *bare root roses from November to March, while they are in their dormant phase. Before you start, add plenty of organic matter, such as manure, to the area you’ll be planting. Your hole needs to be about a spade’s depth, and twice as wide as the roots.
Tease out the roots before planting, to encourage them to grow outwards and stabilise the plant. The base of the stem should be just below soil level. Once you’re happy with the position, backfill the hole with soil and firm the plant in well.
Summer bedding plants
Summer may feel like a long way off, but if you have access to a propagator or a sunny windowsill you can make a start on growing flowers from seed this month.
Fruit and vegetables to plant in January
If you’ve got a sunny windowsill, you can grow *herbs indoors throughout winter. Choose varieties that you use regularly in your cooking and you’ll save yourself some money. My post on growing a windowsill herb garden takes you through the process step-by-step.
This is perfect for that post-Christmas health kick. You will need to choose hardy varieties of salad to ensure success outdoors at this time of year, and try to put them in a sheltered spot. Good varieties to try are *lambs lettuce (also known as corn salad), *wild rocket, *land cress and *mizuna.
The easiest way to get a variety of leaves is to buy a pack of mixed seeds from the garden centre or an online seed supplier. Look out for varieties labelled ‘cut and come again’ as these will give you the biggest quantities per plant. You just keep picking the leaves regularly to stop the plants flowering, and make them produce new tasty leaves instead of running to seed.
If the kids are helping you to plant this crop you might want to check out my guide to growing salad with kids.
Raspberries & blackberries
Like roses, *raspberry canes and blackberries can be planted as bare root plants any time from November to March. With raspberries, you can choose from summer-fruiting and autumn-fruiting varieties.
If you’ve got lots of space, a row of plants works well, but you can also grow them in containers. Bear in mind you will need to provide the plants with support; this is usually in the form of a post-and-wire fence for rows of plants, and a single post for container plants.
Now this isn’t strictly planting, but it still involves growing so I think we can allow it! If you’ve already got rhubarb plants, you can ‘force’ the stems to grow earlier than usual this month.
To force rhubarb, you need to cover the crown (the bit above ground) with a layer of straw, then put a large container over the whole thing. The aim is to block out the light, which forces the stems to grow. You can buy terracotta pots which are designed specifically for the job, but a large bucket will also work perfectly well.
Bare root fruit trees
Like roses, winter is a good time to plant bare-root fruit trees, as this is when they are in a dormant state. You can also plant pot-grown fruit trees now.
Bulbs to plant in January
*Lily bulbs flower in summer, and you can plant them now for blooms later this year. If you’re planting them in the ground, choose a spot that enjoys full sun or partial shade, and add some grit to the soil if it’s heavy.
You can also plant lilies in pots, which gives you the option to encourage early blooms by moving them into a greenhouse in spring.
I can’t wait to get started on all of this! Will you be doing some planting this January?
If you’re hoping to tackle some garden maintenance this month, you might also like to check out my post on garden jobs for January.