January garden jobs you can do now

Here are all the different jobs you can crack on with in the garden during the month of January.

Woman planting a plant

by Bryony Firth-bernard |

It may be wet, cold and a little bit frosty outside, but there’s still plenty of jobs that can be done in the garden in January, not to mention it's a great time to start mapping out what you want to do with your garden for the year ahead.

From flowers you can plant in the winter, to pruning your fruit trees and simple maintenance tasks, here’s a breakdown of what January garden jobs you can get started on.

What to do in the garden in January


pansies with snow no them

• As long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can plant bare-root roses (pick an area that gets at least 4 hours of sunlight a day) and ornamental trees and hedges. This is also a good time to prune your rose bushes, cut their branches to just above the bud and cut off any dead branches.

• Tidy up your perennials plants (these are plants which last more than 2 years, such as lavender, oriental poppies, acanthus and verbascums). If their stems appear soggy or collapsed, cut them down and compost them.

• Sow antirrhinum, lobelia, sweet peas and verbena seeds.

• Take hardwood cuttings from deciduous shrubs, such as forsythia, willow and viburnum, so they can be propagated.

• Remove and dispose of any foliage affected by downy mildew.

• Remove any dead or faded looking pansies to help them continue blooming.

• Get rid of hellebore foliage that have black spots and marks on them to prevent the spread of leaf spot disease.

• If you’ve ever wanted to grow your own mistletoe plant, now is a great time as it’s still in bloom. Simply get some mistletoe berries, push out the seed then push this into the bark of an apple tree (these are the best hosts). Make sure to wash your hands afterwards, as mistletoe is poisonous.

Vegetables and fruit

• Prune apple and pear trees. Get rid of any branches that are dead, damaged or diseased.

• Chuck out any old out of date packets of vegetable seeds and create a list of new ones that are needed.

• Plan your crop rotation for the year ahead. This is where you grow your plant in a different bed to the previous year, to reduce the chance of soil deficiencies developing.

• Prune any currant plants and gooseberries to ensure healthy branches continue to grow.

• Remove any old crops and weeds from your vegetable plot. Dig over the soil while mixing in some fresh compost at the same time.

• If there’s no frost on the ground, you can plant bare-root fruit bushes, canes and trees.

• Cover rhubarb with pots to encourage an early crop of longer, blanched stalks.

• Order your seed potatoes, onions, shallots and garlic bulbs, which you can begin planting in the early spring.

• Create a polythene shelter for outdoor peach and nectarine trees to protect against peach leaf curl.

Other January gardening jobs

garden covered in frost

• Continue to put out food and water for birds that visit your garden and make sure bird baths are kept clean.

• Make sure any climber plants are attached securely to their supporters and trim them back back to avoid birds nesting in them during the nesting season..

• Put up bird boxes before the nesting season begins (February to August) in sheltered spots.

• Clear up any soggy leaves or moss that may be lurking on your path, patio, steps or decking - they can be serious slip hazards.

• If you have any empty plant pots, seed trays or a greenhouse, then now is a great time to give them good wash so they are fresh and clean for the sowing season ahead.

• Make sure any debris is removed from your guttering so that rain can fill up your water butts. Also, make sure they’re clean.

• Clean and sharpen your garden tools so they’re ready to go for your year of planting ahead.

• While your lawn mower isn’t in use, now is the best time to give it a service and make sure that everything is working properly.

• If you still haven’t got rid of your Christmas tree, shred it down and add it to your compost bin or, alternatively, you can use it as mulch.

• If you have a pond, make sure you’ve put a layer of pond netting over it to reduce the amount of leaves falling in.

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