by Larry Williams UF/IFAS Extension Agent
January may not seem like a busy month for gardening here in North Florida but there are a number of gardening jobs to accomplish during the beginning of a new year.
Today’s article is taken from the UF/IFAS Extension publication North Florida Gardening Calendar written by Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist Sydney Park Brown and includes multiple links to additional information on each topic.
Plant cool-season annuals (bedding plants) including pansy, viola, petunia and snapdragon. See Gardening with Annuals in Florida (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg319).
Bulbs such as crinum, agapanthus and gloriosa lily can be planted now but plan to mulch to protect bulbs from cold temperatures. See Bulbs for Florida (http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00002886/00001).
Select and plant camellias this month. Visit local nurseries now for the best selection of colors and forms. See Camellias at a Glance (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep002).
In the vegetable garden continue planting cool-season crops including beet, cabbage, turnip, lettuce and broccoli. These crops can also be planted in containers or raised beds. See Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/VH021).
Plant deciduous fruit trees now to give their roots time to develop before the warm, dry spring months. Prune existing fruit trees. See Dooryard Fruit Varieties (https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg248).
Be ready to cover tender plants to minimize cold injury. Frost or freezes are likely this month and next. See Cold Protection of Ornamental Plants (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg025).
Water plants if temperatures remain higher than normal and rainfall is scarce. See Landscape Irrigation (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_landscape_irrigation).
Prune non-spring flowering shrubs and trees this month to improve form. See Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs (http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00002901/00001).
Celebrate Florida Arbor Day this month by planting a tree in your yard or community. Florida’s Arbor Day is the third Friday of January. Consider a hurricane-resistant tree such as live oak (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st564), bald cypress (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st620), cabbage palm (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st575) or crape myrtle (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg266).
If you have crape myrtles, January is a good time to remove seed pods, crossing branches and small twiggy growth to improve the appearance and form of the plant, if desired. Hard pruning is not required. See Crape myrtle Pruning (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep399).
Control scale on citrus, shrubs, camellias and deciduous fruit trees by applying horticultural oil while plants are dormant. See Natural Products for Managing Landscape and Garden Pests in Florida (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in197).