Richard's top tips for January

Winter-pansy
  • Week 1

    Bowl over. Once Christmas hyacinths have finished flowering, cut off the old blooms, put in a cool, light room and water once a fortnight with Flower Power. Plant outside from the end of February.

    Chill out. Move houseplants away from windows on very cool nights so they don’t get too cold.

    What rot. Check over-wintered dahlias and gladioli for any signs of rotting off. Cut out any damage and dust the fresh cut with sulphur powder to stop the rot spreading.

    Blooming marvellous. Keep winter pansies looking their best by taking off any finished flowers to stop them from going to seed.

  • Week 2

    Sweet pickings. For a beautiful display of scented summer flowers, sow sweet pea seeds in small pots indoors. When the plants are 2in high, pinch out the tops to make them grow bushy, then plant in the garden in March.

    Happy hippies. When the last flowers have faded on amaryllis (hippeastrum), cut them off but leave the stalk to die back naturally. When the leaves start growing feed once a week with Flower Power to build the bulb for next year’s flowers.

    Check out. It’s the prefect time to take stock of the garden. Does it need more winter colour or perhaps a few more evergreens? Take a photo and show it to your garden centre to help them pick the perfect plants.

     

  • Week 3

    Splash out. Check your winter pots and baskets to see if they need watering. They can dry out surprisingly quickly in windy weather.

    Sale on. Don’t miss out on the January sales at the garden centres. It’s a great time to get compost, seeds and other garden essentials, many of which are half price.

    Lift off. Freezing weather may have caused recently planted bedding like pansies and wallflowers to lift slightly from the soil. Gently firm them back into the ground.

     

  • Week 4

    Rose time. Bare root roses are great value and now’s a good time to buy them. They can be planted anytime until late March as long as the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen.

    Take root. Poppies, drumstick primulas and phlox can all be propagated from root cuttings now. Dig up the plants, cut off some pencil thick roots and chop these into 2in sections. Pop them into pots of gritty compost, keep in a sheltered spot outdoors and pot on when growing in late spring.

    Slug it. Watch out for slugs eating young shoots of tulips, delphiniums, chrysanthemums and hardy fuchsias. Either spread a layer of grit around the plants or protect them with a light sprinkling of slug pellets.