It’s the middle of winter and for many, the month of January can be frustrating.

It feels like winter will never end and when you look out at your garden, you see snow, ice or barren nothingness (unless, of course, you’ve got a winter garden).

Although it can be difficult to get out into the garden during this month, the fact is that if you can find the time and the weather cooperates, there are still things you can do with plants in January.

Right now is the perfect time to start thinking ahead to spring. Depending on where you live, the warmer weather may be heading your way as soon as the end of February or the beginning of March. Some areas may get a very short spring, leaving a tight window for planting.

Time to clean

January is a good time to do some cleaning. The fall and winter likely knocked down tree branches or caused dead leaves to pile up along fences or corners of the yard. Although you might have to wait for a warm-up between snowstorms, now is the time to get out into the garden and clear that stuff away. Look for dead branches on trees and year-round bushes, too, and cut away anything that looks like it might have been damaged during the cold. You will also probably want to get the snow off of branches and leaves.

If you live in particularly cold areas that get snow and ice, it’s likely that salt was put down at some point. Check your bushes and plants and see if they have been covered in salt residue. This can be damaging, so during thaws take the time to water and wash those plants.

Indoor plants need your love this time of year, too. Make sure they get enough light and that might mean moving them closer to a window (depending on the plant). It might be a good time to clean leaves and remove dead ones. When watering, make sure the water has warmed to at least room temperature before you use it on the plants.

Also, indoor plants put away in places that don’t get much light and left in rooms that get stuffy from the heater constantly running should be moved, cleaned, pruned and watered.


Check indoor plants for bugs

Some indoor plants find this time of year particularly trying because insects infest them. Indoor plants can become susceptible to insects like spider mites, mealybugs, fungus gnats and scale. Monitor your houseplants/office plants for pests and if you got a new plant for the holidays, make sure no pests got transported in along with it.

Check your inventory

If you are a gardener who stocks up on bulbs and plants before fall comes, now’s the time to go through your stores. Are they still healthy? Have they dried out? Do you see signs of rotting? Get rid of the ones that look like they may be past saving.

Plan ahead

Start mapping out your garden. If you have been doing gardening for a long time, you probably have some idea of what plants should go where and what has done well. Plan and map out what you want to put into the ground and where.

This is also the time when seed catalogs start to arrive. Consider your plans when looking through them and deciding what you want. If you’re stuck inside, now’s the time to read up on the plants, flowers, bushes and trees you think you might want to put into your garden.

If you live in warmer climates, such as the southern United States, you can even start planting seeds. Read the directions about that carefully, but some vegetables like beets, bok choy and carrots can be planted in January.


Recycle Christmas

That live Christmas tree doesn’t just have to be thrown away. It can be used for some things in your garden.

You can put a Christmas tree out in the yard, strung with garland made of things like popcorn, fruit, cranberries and even seeds that birds may like. It becomes a natural bird-feeder.

Also, the tree can be mulched and then used within the garden to provide nutrients for the plants.

Keep your thumb green

These are just a few things you can do this month to stay active and make sure that your garden comes to life once things thaw. A beautiful garden takes work and planning, year-round, even if you live in some of the more harsh winter conditions.

Staying active can also help you. You know the benefits you get from spending time in your garden and tending the plants during the warmer months. Don’t let the cold weather keep you from enjoying plants now.

Ambius offers businesses with interior and exterior plants year-round care and maintenance. Contact an Ambius representative for more information.