January in the Pacific Northwest is the first full month of winter and is a time of rest and dormancy. Houseplants take center stage this month by providing us with much needed greenery and new life. In the garden, January is the perfect time for planning and reflection in preparation for spring!
January To Do List in the Garden
Spruce up your front porch with fresh flower pots of annuals like Primroses and Violas, and evergreen perennials such as Heucheras and Hellebores!
Planting & Maintenance
Keep bird feeders clean and fill regularly.
- Invest in multiple feeders with various seed types for the greatest diversity of visiting birds.
- Hang an additional hummingbird feeder—keep it no more than 3 feet away from your existing hummingbird feeder to reduce male domination.
Dormant spray fruit trees, dogwood trees, and roses for disease and pest prevention. Make sure your sprayer is in good condition or purchase a new one that sprays at least 25 feet high if you have tall trees. Our favorite dormant spray products include:
- Bonide Liquid Copper Fungicide: disease prevention of fruit trees
- Bonide All Seasons Horticultural Oil: suffocates overwintering insect eggs; prevents spider mites
- Neem Oil: addresses insect and disease issues before they get out of control
Give your Christmas tree new life!
- Fresh-cut Christmas tree: Scatter cut branches over herbs, roses, or perennial plantings as mulch for added winter protection.
- Living Christmas tree: Plant with G&B Soil Building Conditioner and G&B Starter Fertilizer.
Look through seed catalogs and notes from last year’s garden to begin planning for this year.
- Take inventory of your seeds—make a shopping list and a plan to use existing seed packets.
- Stop in one of our garden centers and browse through new seed arrivals!
January Lawn Care
Rake leaves off lawns: Fallen leaves can suffocate lawns and should be raked off and placed into garden beds as mulch.
Organizing the Garden Shed
Keep a supply of frost blankets, burlap, or row covers easily accessible for last-minute plant protection in case of a cold spell. Landscape staples, clothespins, or binder clips are useful to keep covers in place.
Inspect gardening tools—clean, sharpen, and apply Camellia Oil to condition blades and prevent rust. Replace worn-out blades or rusty springs on Felco pruners; replacement parts are available at our Garden Centers.
Indoor Gardening in January
Replace poinsettias with new houseplants—try a ZZ Plant, Peace Lily, Dracena, or Snake Plant.
Tidy up houseplants: Dust leaves, rotate plants, wipe down pots, replace old dirty drainage saucers, and top-dress plants with a thin layer of fresh potting soil and/or worm castings.
Force Christmas Cactus to rebloom: When flowers fade, pinch off blooms and begin a 5-week dormant period—don’t water or fertilize during that time. Around the second week of February, resume biweekly feedings and watering; another round of flowers should arrive in mid-March!
Shop for a large, statement houseplant to enliven dark corners or areas where Christmas trees once stood—try a Ficus Audrey, Bird of Paradise, Monstera, or Dracaena.
What to Do for Fun in January
Make a terrarium with leftover holiday glassware. Gather charcoal, sand or soil, moss, decorative rocks, and tiny tropical plants, succulents, or air plants, and follow these instructions to create your mini masterpiece.
Get some fresh air! To chase away the winter blues, take a walk or visit local public gardens for inspiration. Portland-area gardens have a lot to offer, even in their quiet months. Call ahead or check websites for open hours and admission guidelines:
- Bishop’s Close at Elk Rock
- Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
- Hoyt Arboretum
- Lan Su Chinese Garden
- Leach Botanical Garden
- Oregon Garden
- Portland Japanese Garden