January in the garden is mostly a time for planning and preparation for spring!

For the Home

  • Take down holiday decorations.
  • Plant your living Christmas tree or scatter cut branches from your Christmas tree over herbs, roses, or perennial plantings for added winter protection. Add G&B Soil Building Conditioner and G&B Starter Fertilizer or bone meal.
  • Replace your sad looking poinsettia plant with a new houseplant. Try a ZZ plant, peace lily, aloe, or snake plant.
  • Dust leaves, wipe down pots, replace old dirty drainage saucers, and top dress houseplants with a thin layer of potting soil and/or worm castings.
  • When the flowers on your Christmas Cactus fade, pinch off blooms and begin a 5-week dormant period—don’t touch the plant during that time—no water or fertilizer. Around the second week of February, resume biweekly feedings; another round of flowers should arrive in mid-March.
  • Spruce up your front porch with a new welcome mat and freshen flower pots with primroses.

For the Lawn & Landscape

  • Keep bird feeders clean; Portland Audubon Society has recently identified an outbreak of salmonella in area birds (especially Pine Siskins). Right now, they are encouraging Portland bird lovers to clean and bleach feeders at least once per week and only fill feeders with a limited amount of seed to last 1–2 days (avoid platform feeders altogether). Take your seed feeders down for the month if you don’t think you can keep them regularly cleaned. Always thoroughly wash your hands after handling the feeders! Hummingbirds do not seem to be affected, so you can continue to fill and clean your hummingbird feeders normally.
  • Buy and hang another hummingbird feeder; keep it no more than 3 feet away from another hummingbird feeder to reduce male domination of feeder. Fill with homemade or store-bought nectar (1 part sugar with 4 parts water) and heat until sugar is dissolved; store extra in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Spray fruit trees, dogwood trees, roses, etc. with dormant spray for disease and pest prevention. Make sure the sprayer is in good condition or purchase a new one that sprays at least 25 feet high. Ask us for help selecting dormant spray products: Bonide Liquid Copper Bonide, Bonide All-Season Horticultural Oil, neem oil

For the Edible Garden

Look through seed catalogs and notes from last year’s garden to begin planning for this year. Take inventory of your seeds—make a list of what to buy. Stop in one of our stores and see what new seeds have arrived.

To Chase Away the Winter Blues (or Just for Fun)

Take a walk and/or explore local public gardens for inspiration (check each garden for COVID-related specifics):

Make a few terrariums with leftover holiday jars and glassware. You will need:

  • Small bag of charcoal, sand or soil, moss, and pretty rocks
  • Small tropical houseplants, tiny succulents and/or air plants
  • Plastic spray bottle to mist plants indoors


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