January in the Garden

Birds and Wildlife

  • There are still some hummingbirds around, so keep your feeders in place.  


  • Continue to care for winter annuals.
  • There is still time to transplant pansies, dianthus, stocks, calendulas and other cool-season annual flowers. 
  • Bluebonnets will have an active growth spurt in February and March.
  • Bougainvilleas will bloom all winter if they are in a greenhouse.  
  • Many tulips, daffodils, paperwhites and other spring bulbs emerge and bloom this month.
  • If the weather is warm, watch for aphids.  
  • Spring-blooming, pre-chilled bulbs can still be planted if done early in the month.  Just remember that tulips are considered annuals in south Texas.
  • Be sure to maintain moisture in house plants.  Do not place houseplants near a heat source or in a bright-sun window.  
  • Repot Christmas cactus in a peat moss- or pine barkbased medium.  Keep the soil moist.

Fruits and Nuts

  • Apply dormant oil to control scale and other insects on fruit trees.  Follow the instructions on the label.  
  • Bare-root and containerized fruit trees, blackberries and grapes should be selected and planted as soon as possible so they will be well established before spring growth begins. 


  • Don’t prune blooms on early-blooming plants like mountain laurel, flowering peach, ornamental cherry, climbing roses, althea, etc.

Shade Trees and Shrubs

  • If you must prune oak trees, January is a good month to do it.  
  • Prune deciduous trees now while you can see damaged or rubbing limbs, misshaped parts, etc.
  • Do NOT top the trees.
  • This is an excellent time to plant new shrubs and trees.  
  • Should you need to transplant established trees and shrubs, do so now while they are still dormant and will have sufficient time to re-establish a root system before spring growth begins.

Turf Grass

  • If you don’t receive an inch of rain, water the lawn, ½ inch every 2-3 weeks.  
  • It’s a good time to aerate with the plug-cutter type and then top dress with a half-inch of compost.
  • Don’t fertilize or use weed-and-feed products.  
  • Gradually build up low spots in the lawn with ½-1 inch of compost, sand, or top-dressing.
  • You could still overseed with Elbon rye grass, but it may or may not do well.  


  • If you pluck or cut individual leaves from lettuce or spinach, they will continue to produce.
  • Harvest broccoli heads before the flowers open.
  • String-mow your Elbon rye and vetch and till it into the garden at the end of January. 
  • By the end of the month, thin onions you planted in October so that plants are 6-8 inches apart. 
  • Side dress actively growing vegetables.

Seasonal Gardening Checklist Prepared by Tom Harris, Ph.D., Honorary BCMG