January To-Do List

Even in the doldrums of winter, there are garden tasks to tackle. Find out what HGTVGardens contributors are up to in their gardens.
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Paperwhite Narcissus

My paperwhite narcissus are in full bloom, so need water added frequently. I’m savoring the fragrant flowers.—Julie Martens/Frostburg, Maryland

Scented Geraniums

I took cuttings of scented geraniums in October, and they’re growing well now. I find I’m watering them every three days. I’ll bump them into larger pots this month.—Julie Martens

New Arrivals to the Vegetable Garden

I like to grow something new in the veggie garden each year. I’m finalizing my crop rotation plan and figuring out where I can tuck my new edible.—Julie Martens

Cutting Spent Perennials

We’re having mild winter weather, so I’m still doing garden chores on nice days, like cutting down spent perennials.—Julie Martens

Rabbit Trouble

Rabbits are gnawing the ‘Chicago Hardy’ fig. I need to cage that on a warmer day.—Julie Martens

Combating Whiteflies

This is the time of year my Greek basil often succumbs to whitefly. I keep an eye on plants to clip problem leaves before things get out of hand.—Julie Martens

Top Dress Beds

Remove old mulch from beds and top dress with compost or composted manure.—Danny Flanders/Atlanta, Georgia

Fertilize Annuals

Continue feeding annuals with water-soluble fertilizer containing nitrate bi-weekly.—Danny Flanders

Water Before Freeze

Water everything well if a hard freeze is expected.—Danny Flanders

Prune Fruit Trees

Prune fruit trees (except for peach) and vines.—Danny Flanders

Sow Seeds Indoors

Start early spring vegetable seeds indoors.—Danny Flanders

Sharpen Tools

Sharpen garden tools and mowers.—Danny Flanders 

Take Some Photos

I love everything about winter garden photographs. They move me to reflect on my garden (and other gardens) in ways I don't have time to do in the midst of the busy gardening season. Now's the perfect time to shake that camera out of hibernation and capture the beauty of fresh snowfall on the garden. You'll see things in a whole new light.—Kim Vioskey/Winnetka, Illinois

Visit a Garden Center

Visit your local florist or garden center and walk their greenhouses. I love doing this after the holiday rush and before they get really busy with Valentine's Day orders. Often they help me with questions I have about propagating and clue me in on new plants to look for in the spring. I even convinced my fave guy to hold a workshop for my garden club. —Kim Visokey

Check for Snow Damage

Take a quick survey after a fresh snowfall. Carefully removing any accumulated snow from shrubs takes just a few minutes and can save the plant from breakage and your wallet too! Make sure not to force frozen or heavy snow or you might do more harm than good.—Kim Visokey

Take a Garden Trip

Traveling somewhere in January? Why not research before you go and plan to check out local gardens and botanical attractions for inspiration? —Kim Visokey

Florid Correspondence

January is a great time to write letters. If you're old school, you can hand write yours on pretty floral stationary—even try making your own with pressed flowers from your garden. The more tech-savy option is to email someone but try using only floral emojis to tell a story.—Kim Visokey

Order Seeds

We'll be ordering seed catalogs. —Mark and Debbie Wolfe/Atlanta, Georgia.

Pull Spent Veggies

We'll be pulling spent vegetables in the winter garden.—Mark and Debbie Wolfe

Paint the Shed

Nothing brightens a gray winter day like a pop of color. We'll paint the tool shed.—Mark and Debbie Wolfe

New Compost

It's a new year, time to turn over a new...compost pile. We'll be starting a new one.—Mark and Debbie Wolfe

Order Seeds

It's time to plan my spring garden and order seeds.  —Mick Telkamp/Raleigh, NC

Clean Bird Feeders

Bird feeders must be kept clean to reduce risk of disease. Wash with bleach or a mild disinfectant, rinse and dry before refilling.—Mick Telkamp

Extend (Pseudo) Daylight in the Chicken Coop

Leaving the light on in the chicken coop for an extra hour or two after dark may help to encourage egg production during these lean months.—Mick Telkamp

Dormant Seeding

Giving the lawn a head start by seeding some bare patches in the back yard. The cycle of freezing and thawing this time of year can help set seeds and encourage germination.—Mick Telkamp

Turn the Garden

If the ground is soft enough, turning the garden mid-winter is good for the soil and exposes overwintering pests.—Mick Telkamp

Till the Garden

When the ground is dry enough, I’ll till my garden spot, so the air and sunlight can help kill off weeds and pests. —Lynn Coulter/Atlanta, Georgia

Cut Back Amaryllis

One of my amaryllis is almost ready to bloom. When the flowers fade, I’ll cut back the stalks and treat it as a houseplant until I can move it outdoors in spring.—Lynn Coulter

Prune Evergreens

I’ll prune the evergreen shrubs around my house, but I’m not a fan of “meatballs,” so I’ll aim for a natural, informal look.—Lynn Coulter

Make Window Boxes for the Deck

On mild days, I’ll start re-staining my back deck. I want to add flower boxes on the railings this year, and hooks to hold hanging baskets. Since I can see the deck from inside my house, I’ll plant flowers that attract pretty butterflies and hummingbirds. —Lynn Coulter

Sod, Plugs or Seed?

My lawn is in desperate need of a revitalization. Considering the various options out there and whether sod, seed or plugs are my best option. —Felicia Feaster/Atlanta, Georgia

Vivacious Violas

So happy I picked up pansies and violas when I bought my Christmas tree, poinsettias and wreath at the garden store. Their happy faces are lifting my spirits now that the holiday is over. I will make this a Christmas tradition: to pick up some long-lasting winter annuals for containers and the garden when I buy my tree, knowing I'll want a little pick me up when the decorations come down.—Felicia Feaster

Fill Feeders

I'm filling bird feeders for self-serving purposes, to see these feathered beauties brightening gloomy winter days.—Felicia Feaster

Pussywillows in Vase

I cut branches from my pussywillow bush and forced them indoors. I am enjoying them in a tall vase where my Christmas tree once stood. Did you know that pussywillows, from your own bush or fresh from the store are remarkably easy to root? These gorgeous branches originated in a bunch of cut branches I bought last year at the market and placed in water. They quickly sprung roots and I planted them directly into my garden where one produced an incredibly tall, productive pussywillow tree. Garden magic!—Felicia Feaster

Surveying Damaged Trees

I'll be keeping an eye out for dead or damaged branches on the many trees that surround my home in leafy Atlanta and call my tree-guy if any limbs look dead or dying and are likely to fall.—Felicia Feaster

Purple Potatoes

Note to Self: Start searching online now to find a source of purple and other unusual potatoes for planting in March. The most fun ones typically sell out early.—Felder Rushing/Jackson, Mississippi

Repotting Stuff

I am repotting a root-bound ribbon Dracaena that I rooted last winter from an overgrown plant; it should be well established by spring.

Leaving Wildflowers

I usually leave a few clumps of Oxalis and other lawn and garden weeds alone as a cool weather flowering plant for the occasional warm day when bees are out foraging. Later it’ll be a place for the Easter bunny to leave colored eggs.—Felder Rushing

Winter Garden Protection

To keep my winter garden going as long as I can, I’m ready with a little hay and some frost cloth to cover my winter veggies quickly should the temps drop rapidly.—Felder Rushing

Cold-Tolerant Veggies

Spinach, mustard, garlic, and kale are my main winter veggies that tolerate cold weather well into January.—Felder Rushing

Winter Accent

Colorful garden accessories, including this whimsical glass accent, helps banish the winter blahs.—Felder Rushing

Yellow-Berry Nandina

I plan on asking a neighbor for a rooted "start" of her yellow-berried Nandina, which not only looks great in the winter garden, but also which seem unattractive to birds because they don't look ripe like regular red berries.—Felder Rushing

Fun in the Snow

Once the snow arrives, we'll get ready for snow tubing in the yard.—Melissa Caughey/Osterville, Massachusetts

Ice Skating

Ice skating family adventures at the nearby pond. —Melissa Caughey

Beehive Fix-Up

I'll be assembling some new parts of the beehive that need to be replaced come spring.—Melissa Caughey

Becoming a Master Gardener

The Master Gardener program that I enrolled in begins.—Melissa Caughey