Gardener  planting a seedling
Jobs to do this month


  • Flowers

  • Protect terracotta pots from cracking in freezing weather by bringing them indoors or wrapping in bubble polythene

  • Rake up accumulated fallen leaves in borders that could be harbouring slugs and other pests

  • Plant bare-root roses and other deciduous shrubs, plus ornamental trees

  • Hang bird feeders near roses to attract hungry birds that will also pick off any overwintering pests

  • Cut stems of berried winter shrubs, seasonal flowers and evergreen leaves for festive decorations

  • Move plants in pots to a sheltered spot if conditions turn very cold, as their roots are more exposed to the elements

  • Pile straw or bracken around the base of tender shrubs and climbers to protect them from falling temperatures

  • Plant fragrant winter shrubs in pots on the doorsteps, including chimonanthus, sarcococca and Daphne odora

  • Prune climbing roses between now and February

  • Hard prune overgrown shrubs and hedges while they're dormant

  • Check stored bulbs and corms regularly for any signs of rot

Fruit and veg

  • Place straw around the base of parsnips to prevent the soil freezing, which can make harvesting difficult

  • Plant thornless blackberries, such as 'Loch Ness', for easy pickings of large, sweet, juicy fruits

  • Winter prune large fruit trees to control their shape and size, and to increase their productivity

  • Plant fruit trees trained as cordons, fans or espaliers to make good use of limited space

  • Start to plan next year's crops and order seeds

  • Tidy up raspberry and blackberry beds – weed and mulch with compost, then tie new stems to support wires

  • Lift and divide large clumps of rhubarb, replanting the outer sections into soil enriched with well-rotted manure

  • Keep kale, winter cabbages and other brassicas covered with netting to protect them from hungry pigeons

  • Finish clearing old crops and debris from the veg plot, but only compost healthy material 

  • Remove yellowed leaves on brassicas, so fungal diseases such as grey mould and downy mildew don't take hold

  • Make sure Brussels sprouts don't topple over in strong winds - tie to a cane for support and earth up the stems

  • Prune grapevines, cutting back side-branches to one or two buds from the main stem


  • Pot up a clump of rhubarb and place under a large bin to force an early crop of sweet stems

  • Pick faded leaves and dead flowers regularly from plants overwintering in the greenhouse, such as pelargoniums

  • Pinch out the tips of autumn-sown sweet peas to encourage bushier growth

  • Deadhead indoor azaleas, water regularly and provide cool conditions, away from radiators, to prolong flowering

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

  • Bring hyacinths growing in the greenhouse into your home to flower, placing in a cool, bright spot 

  • Water plants sparingly to keep the greenhouse as dry as possible, which should reduce outbreaks of disease

  • Prune greenhouse grapevines while dormant

  • Move houseplants onto a sunny windowsill over the winter, to get as much light as possible during the shorter days 

  • Water florists' cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) from below, and deadhead regularly to encourage more blooms

  • Check overwintering plants in the greenhouse for red spider mite and other pests, and treat if necessary

  • Sow cacti seeds into moist, loam-based compost and place in a propagator or on a warm windowsill

  • Plant hippeastrum (amaryllis) bulbs for spectacular flowers in about eight weeks

With thanks to BBC Gardeners' World.