Many have their own special new years traditions: some spring clean to ring in the new year, some make new years resolutions, and some see their family. Early January is also an ideal time to do certain plant care tasks. In this post, I’ll provide a list of the most important plant care tasks to complete this January for growers in each hemisphere.
Northern hemisphere — Winter
1. Water with a hydrogen peroxide mixture
Watering plants with a 3:1 mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide will kill any pest eggs and fungus spending the winter in your soil. Aphids in particular are known to lay eggs in soil in Autumn which emerge as nymphs in spring. Killing the eggs before nymphs emerge will save you a lot of trouble in the long term. Using the mixture will also kill fungus gnat eggs, helping avoid a massive explosion in their population come spring and summer.
2. Move plants closer to a window
As the days grow shorter and colder, gradually moving plants closer to windows will help them make the most of the reduced sunlight they receive.
3. Use a cold protection fertiliser
Plants don’t need a great deal of fertiliser in winter, but watering with a weak, water-soluble fertiliser that is derived from kelp or fish emulsion will help protect houseplants from the effects of the cold.
Southern hemisphere — Summer
1. Neem oil spray
Spraying all leaves (including the undersides) and stems of a plant with a mixture of neem oil and water will kill and deter pests which reproduce rapidly in the summer, including spider mites and mealybugs.
2. Up-pot root bound plants
Having spent the spring and the first part of summer growing vigorously, some of your plants have probably become root bound. When their roots start poking out of the drainage holes of the pot, it may be time to transfer them into larger pots to facilitate faster growth.
There are all kinds of reasons to propagate. Maybe you want to sell cuttings, or a climbing plant has simply outgrown its totem pole and needs a good trim. Regardless of your reasons, January is a good time to propagate, since your plants have had a while to grow and will still have the rest of the summer to establish and harden off before the colder seasons.
I hope this post gave you some ideas about what you can be doing this time of year to help prepare your plants for the year ahead. Keep in mind that nobody knows your plants and their needs better than you do, so it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to follow these suggestions, or if you’d like to modify them. If you can think of any other tasks which should ideally be done in January, feel free to leave these in the comments. I wish you all a happy and fruitful new year.