While January may seem like the time to put away the shovels and retire to flipping through the seed catalogs, it’s actually an excellent time to plant. If you live in a climate with soils that don’t freeze, then you can plant all winter long. Even in cold climates, late-winter is a good time to get woody plants in the ground. By taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and slowed plant growth, you have a better chance of successfully establishing trees and shrubs now.
Spring and summer can be inspiring times in the garden; but they can also be a difficult time to establish new trees and shrubs. For climates that experience intense heat or drought, planting in late-spring and summer can mean disaster for your new specimens. When rainfall is scarce and water restrictions are tight, you may have a tough time successfully establishing new woody specimens.
Winter planting allows your new trees and shrubs to benefit from milder temperatures and additional moisture. While some plants may be dormant in winter, they’ll still put on some new root growth during winter months which will help them make it through their first tough summer. Bare-root material, fruit trees and other deciduous plants do especially well when winter-planted. They’ll experience less transplant shock. In fact, when deciduous plants drop their leaves, that’s your signal that it’s a good time to start planting them. Evergreens can be planted at any time, including winter.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to start gardening after plants have dropped their leaves, by doing so you may be giving them the best possible start in their new home.
January Featured Plants
Opuntia ficus-indica ‘Burbank’s Spineless’
Agave americana ‘Variegata’
Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’