Jobs to do this month


  • Cut down deciduous ornamental grasses left standing over winter, before fresh shoots appear

  • Divide large clumps of snowdrops and winter aconites after flowering and replant to start new colonies

  • Prune late-summer flowering clematis, cutting stems back to healthy buds about 30cm from the base

  • Divide congested clumps of herbaceous perennials and grasses to make vigorous new plants for free

  • Transplant deciduous shrubs growing in the wrong place, while they are dormant

  • Pot up containers with hardy spring bedding, such as primroses, wallflowers and forget-me-nots

  • Prune winter-blooming shrubs such as mahonia, winter jasmine and heathers, once they've finished flowering

  • Cut back wisteria side shoots to three buds from the base, to encourage abundant flowers in spring

  • Give winter heathers a light trim after flowering, removing shoot tips but not cutting back into old wood

  • Prune buddleja and elder to the base to keep these vigorous shrubs to a reasonable size

  • Trim back ivy, Virginia creeper and other climbers if they have outgrown their space, before birds start nesting

  • Cut away all the old foliage from epimediums with shears, before the spring flowers start to develop

  • Sprinkle slow-release fertiliser around the base of roses and other flowering shrubs

Fruit and veg

  • Finish winter-pruning fruit trees and soft fruits, including apples, autumn raspberries and blackcurrants

  • Chit first-early potato tubers, such as 'Foremost', by standing them in trays in a light, frost-free place

  • Prepare veg beds for sowing by weeding thoroughly, then cover with a thick layer of garden compost

  • Feed fruit trees and bushes by sprinkling sulphate of potash fertiliser around the base to encourage fruiting

  • Sow mustard and cress in a small seed tray on a warm windowsill for pickings in just a few weeks

  • Put cloches or fleece over strawberry plants to start them into growth and encourage an early crop

  • Hunt out overwintering snails huddled in empty pots and hidden corners, to reduce populations

  • Plant rhubarb into enriched soil, or lift and divide established clumps

  • Check if old seed packets are worth keeping by sowing a few seeds on damp kitchen paper, to see if they germinate

  • Protect the blossom of outdoor peaches, nectarines and apricots with fleece, if frost is forecast

  • Plant bare-root fruit bushes, trees and canes, as long as the ground isn't frozen

  • Inspect Mediterranean herbs for metallic green rosemary beetles if they start to look nibbled and tatty


  • Sow sweet peas in deep pots and keep them frost-free in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill

  • Sow summer bedding and tender annuals, including cosmos, lobelia, dahlias, nasturtiums and snapdragons

  • Pot on and pinch out autumn-sown sweet peas to encourage side shoots to form

  • Sow tender crops such as tomatoes and chillies in a heated propagator or on a warm sunny windowsill

  • Plant dahlia tubers in trays to encourage shoots to develop, which you can then use as cuttings

  • Monitor greenhouse temperatures with a max-min thermometer to ensure heaters are working efficiently

  • Start planting summer bulbs in pots indoors, including liatris, begonias, gloxinias, lilies, eucomis and agapanthus

  • Cut off hippeastrum (amaryllis) flowerheads once they fade, but leave the stalk to die down naturally

  • Hand-pollinate the blossom of peaches and nectarines in the greenhouse using a soft paintbrush

  • Cut back overwintered fuchsias and increase the frequency of watering to spur them into growth

  • Remove any faded or yellowing leaves from overwintering plants to prevent fungal diseases

  • Wash greenhouse glazing inside and out to let in as much light as possible

With thanks to BBC Gardeners' World.

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