What to do in the garden in the month of


• Continue to set out cool-season bedding plants,

such as pansies, violas, stock, snapdragons, and dianthus.

• Don’t get in a hurry to prune woody plants. Late

December through February is usually the best time to prune


• Don’t spare the pruning shears when transplanting

bare-rooted woody plants. Cut the tops back at least one-third to

one-half, to compensate for the roots lost when digging the


• Drain gasoline from power tools and run the engine

until fuel in the carburetor is used up.

• Drain and store garden hoses and watering equipment

in a readily accessible location. The lawn and plants may need

water during a prolonged dry spell.

• Berrying plants, such as holly and yaupon, may be

pruned now while they can be enjoyed as cut material inside the


• Use good pruning practices when selecting Christmas

greenery from landscape plants. Don’t destroy the natural form and

beauty of the plant.

• Prolong the life of holiday-season gift plants by

providing proper care. Check to see if the pot wrap has plugged up

the bottom drainage. Don’t overwater. Keep out of drafts from

heating vents and opening doorways. Fertilizer is seldom needed the

first few months.

• Want to start cuttings of your favorite Christmas

cactus? As soon as it has finished blooming, select a cutting with

4 or 5 joints, break or cut it off, and insert the basal end into a

pot of moderately moist soil. Place it on a windowsill or other

brightly lit area. The cuttings should be rooted within 3 to 4


• Plant spring-flowering bulbs if you haven’t already

done so. Be sure to refrigerate tulips and hyacinths for 6-8 weeks

prior to planting. 

• Take advantage of bad weather and holiday time to

study seed and nursery catalogues as well as good gardening


Gail Haynes is an Ellis County

Master Gardener, a rainwater harvest specialist and guest columnist

in the Daily Light. For further information, contact the Ellis

County Master Gardeners at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service,

701 South Interstate 35E, Suite 3, Waxahachie, or call 972-825-5175

or e-mail: ellis-tx@tamu.edu.