University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
ORDERING FRUIT PLANTS AND
OTHER JANUARY GARDENING TIPS
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension Horticulturist
Caring for holiday
plants, checking stored crops, and ordering fruit plants are some of
gardening activities for this month.
If you received a
poinsettia or cyclamen as a holiday gift, keep it blooming by
care. Poinsettias need good drainage, so
if the pot is still wrapped in foil, make sure there is a hole in
the bottom so
water drains out. Of course if it’s on
furniture, place a saucer underneath to protect the finish. Keep
poinsettias away from drafts, such as
near doors or windows or hot woodstoves.
Keep soil moist, but don’t overwater.
Keep in bright light.
The latter applies,
also, to cyclamen which can last for weeks if kept cool (65 to 68
degrees F in
day, less at night). Too high
temperatures, too little water or overwatering, or too low light may
leaves to yellow and drop.
you're finished with holiday evergreen boughs, use them to mulch
perennials and shrubs. They make a lightweight but insulating layer
protect plants from alternating temperatures like our typical
followed by a deep freeze. Also they
help trap snow over these plants, for a similar insulating effect.
While snow makes a good
protective cover for plants, if you use salt to melt ice on
driveways or walks,
be careful not to pile snow from these areas on your plants or where
snow will drain onto them. Otherwise,
once snow melts in spring, flush it thoroughly with water to help
wash away any salt residue.
Potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips,
and other root crops that you have stored in your basement
or root cellar should be checked regularly for signs of decay. Any
that show any rotting should be removed and eaten (if possible)
they don't spread the disease to other vegetables. If you’ve stored
fruits such as apples, or
summer bulbs such as dahlias, check them periodically as well.
With seed catalogs arriving in the
mail, these short and cold winter days are a good time to browse
or their websites. By starting your own
seeds you can have cultivars (cultivated varieties) you won’t find
can save money, and it is just a fun process to watch those little
Although you’ll lean toward your favorites,
why not try something you’ve never grown before, either a cultivar
crop. This year I plan to grow an
heirloom—broom corn—which is actually a type of sorghum grain that
attractive and quite tall. Last year,
among other crops, I tried a new fusarium disease-resistant basil
and yes, it
did make great pesto. Consider flowers
that grew best in our All-America Selections display garden at the
Waterfront Park (perrysperennials.info/aaswp.html).
If you haven’t grown your own
fruits, consider this too, with links to sources and resources
(homefruitgrowing.info). While it is
easy to visit local growers to pick and buy quantities of fruits in
fall, such as for freezing or canning or making jams, it’s fun to
grow some of your
own. You often can grow fruits you won’t
find for sale, you’ll have some for ready picking for immediate
and you’ll know what chemicals, if any, have been used on them.
When choosing fruits, pay attention to the
space they’ll need, hardiness, and whether more than one selection
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).