Arizona Garden in January
“Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year. For gardening begins in January with the dream." - Josephine Nuese
January is often the coldest time of the year in the Arizona garden. Although it’s colder, it doesn’t mean you should stay inside this month. There are important garden tasks that need to be done this month, such as pruning roses and fruit trees (see a list of garden tasks for January below). Harvests from fall plantings are continuing throughout the month even as you make plans for your spring and summer garden.
Keep reading for garden inspiration, a January garden checklist, and a list of which vegetables, herbs and flowers to plant in your Arizona garden in January.
Vegetables growing in the Arizona garden in January
If you aren’t growing asparagus, consider dedicating a 4 foot by 4 foot raised bed for growing it. January is a great time to plant asparagus.
If you are growing asparagus, January is the time to cut back the dormant fronds and amend the bed with a 5 inch layer of compost.
Tips for growing flowers in the Arizona garden in January
When choosing cool-season annual flowers in Arizona, look for:
- annuals rated for zones 8 or higher
- tropical or sub-tropical plants
- heat-tolerant plants
- drought-tolerant plants
- plants that do well in other yards/gardens where you live
When chosen carefully, most annuals will do well in our cooler winter and spring seasons. As temperatures heat up, these annuals will die. Keep a garden journal of what worked in the past and what didn’t.
Fruit trees in the Arizona garden in January
Plant bare-root fruit trees this month. Look for trees that have low chill hours (less than 400), mature early, and self-pollinate. This publication from the University of Arizona Extension Office has a list of deciduous fruit and nut trees that do well in the low desert of Arizona.
Herbs in the Arizona garden in January
Mint can be a perennial herb in Arizona. Find a shady spot with plenty of moisture and it can live year-round. Mint can be invasive; keep an eye on its growth.
Parsley is an annual herb that grows well in the cool-season and until it gets hot in the summer. Harvest often.
Garlic chives are a reliable perennial herb in Arizona. Consider finding a spot to tuck them in and around your garden this month. If you have garlic chives growing in your garden, January is a good time to divide the overgrown clumps. Garlic chives should be covered during freezing temperatures.
Arizona garden in January to-do list:
- If you didn’t start seeds indoors for tomatoes and peppers in December, get them started this month. The seedlings will be ready to plant by February or March.
- Continue planning for February and March plantings. This is seed catalog season; get ideas you would like to try and order seeds. A couple of my favorite seed companies that have great catalogs are Baker Creek Seeds, Botanical Interests and Seed Saver Exchange. Look at your garden and make a plan for where you will plant everything. Research different varieties to see which do well in Arizona. A good rule of thumb is to look for short-season crops. Be sure to rotate where you plant each year.
- Plant spring flowering annuals this month. (See list below)
- Plant pre-chilled (at least 6 weeks in fridge) tulip and hyacinth bulbs this month.
- Plant cold-tolerant trees, bushes, and perennials and be sure to protect new plants from freezing temperatures.
- January in Arizona is a good time to plant fruit trees. Look for varieties which require less than 400 chill hours, have early maturing fruit, and are self pollinating.
- Bare-root roses are in-stock at local nurseries – it’s a great time to plant roses.
- This is the last month of the cool season to plant strawberries. Space strawberries 12 inches apart. Plant strawberries with crown of plant above soil line. Mulch and water strawberries well.
- Wait until mid-to-late February to plant frost-sensitive plants such as lantana and hibiscus.
- If we get a heavy rain, trees and shrubs may not need supplemental watering. If not, water shrubs and trees no more than once every 14-28 days. Wateruseitwisely.com is a helpful resource for landscape watering guidelines.
- Take care to not over-water annual plants this month. Water to a depth of about 6 inches, and allow top of soil to dry out before watering again.
- Check containers with a moisture meter or make sure top inch or so of soil has dried out before watering.
- Water established citrus trees once every 3-4 weeks.
- Water established fruit trees once every 10-14 days.
- Frost-tender plants such as hibiscus and lantana should not be pruned this month.
- Prune established roses this month. Clean up all fallen leaves and debris from around roses to discourage disease and insects.
- Prune dead branches out of cold-hardy trees and shrubs.
- Deciduous fruit trees should be pruned before bud break this month. Prune dead, diseased, broken and crossing branches and water sprouts (branches shooting straight up from limbs of trees). Consider treating fruit trees with neem oil before bud break as well.
- Do not prune citrus trees in January.
- Clean-up around fruit trees. Decayed fruit and leaves are inviting for pests.
- Save all the fallen leaves. Simply bag leaves and let them begin to decompose; then spread on plants as leaf mulch in spring. If you compost, they are a great addition for the compost pile.
What to plant in the Arizona garden in January:
- Borage, Catnip, Chamomile, Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Fennell, Garlic Chives, Lavender, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme
- Alyssum, Carnation, Dianthus, Gaillardia, Geranium, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Nasturtium, Pansies, Petunia, Poppy, Primrose, Rudbeckia, Stock, Straw Flower, Sweet Pea, Verbena