What grows in low desert Arizona gardens in January? I’ll show you. All of these pictures come from my garden in Mesa, Arizona.
The low desert of Arizona includes cities in and around Phoenix, including Glendale, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Peoria, Apache Junction, Buckeye, Fountain Hills, Tolleson, Surprise, Sun City, Queen Creek, and Goodyear.
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“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
Low Desert Arizona Garden in January
January is often the coldest time of the year in the low desert 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 low desert Arizona garden in January
Kale is a superstar in the Arizona garden in January. Keep harvesting for a continuous supply. Frosty nights will sweeten the taste of kale. Grow several varieties of kale in your garden.
Broccoli harvests begin in earnest this month. Hopefully you succession planted so you can have a continuous harvest all month. Plant transplants through the end of 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 low desert Arizona garden in January
Want better blooms on your seed-grown annuals? Thin them to where each plant’s leaves are just touching one another when plant is 3-4 inches tall. Don’t remove entire plant; trim plant to be removed at ground level with snippers. Keep area weeded and fertilize late in January.
Read this article to learn how to grow alyssum.
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.
Flowers to Plant Outside & Seeds to Start Indoors Each Month in the Low Desert of Arizona.
• PLANTING GUIDE: Each month lists annual flowers and bulbs to plant outside & seeds to start indoors.
• BLOOMING GUIDE: Photos show what may be in bloom that month.
Fruit trees in the low desert Arizona garden in January
Herbs in the low desert Arizona garden in January
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.
Read this article for more information about how to grow garlic chives.
Low desert Arizona garden in January to-do list:
- If you didn’t start seeds indoors for tomatoes, eggplant, melons 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.
- Are you going to grow sweet potatoes this year? Start your own sweet potato slips now so they will be ready to plant in March. This article explains how to start sweet potato slips.
- Buy organic turmeric and ginger for planting out in March.
- 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 deciduous 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 to plant strawberries. Space strawberries 12 inches apart. Plant strawberries with crown of plant above soil line. Mulch and water strawberries well.
- January in the low desert of Arizona is a good month to propagate succulents so they establish roots before the heat of summer.
- Wait until mid-to-late February to plant frost-sensitive plants such as lantana and hibiscus.
- Begin planting blackberries at the end of the month.
- 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.
- Do 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.
- If deciduous fruit trees have been slow to drop leaves, remove any remaining leaves to encourage dormancy.
- 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.
- Fertilize deciduous fruit trees at the end of this month. Water well before and after fertilizing.
- Fertilize established fig trees in January.
Protect from freezing temperatures (below 32 degrees F.):
- Have burlap or frost cloth on hand to protect newly-planted citrus, small lemon and lime trees, and other frost-sensitive plants from frost.
- Plants in containers are more susceptible to freezing temperatures than those in the ground.
- If freezing temperatures are expected water citrus trees deeply to help protect from frost.
- Clean-up around fruit trees. Decayed fruit is 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:
Herbs to plant in the low desert garden in January
Plant from seed: Borage
Vegetables to plant in the low desert garden in January
Plant from potatoes: Potatoes
Flowers to plant in the low desert garden in January
Want more information about gardening in Arizona? This blog post shares 7 tips for how to grow a vegetable garden in Arizona.