December Gardening Tips

December Gardening Tips

Monthly task lists help to grow and maintain your gardens, indoors and out.

Scan these tips from gardening expert, Melinda Myers, and follow those that apply to your particular landscape to help increase your success while making gardening easier, less stressful and fun. 

• Selection is the first step to insuring a beautiful tree throughout the holiday season. Start by checking for freshness. Run your hand along the stem. The needles should be pliable yet firmly attached to the branch.

• Carefully add holiday lights to the winter landscape. Drape the lights over shrub branches, loosely securing them to the stems or use lighted netting. Remove the lights in spring.

• Add a bit of fragrance to the holidays by forcing paper whites into bloom. No chill is needed, just place the bulbs on stones in a shallow dish. Keep the saucer filled with water up to the bottom of the bulbs and wait for the beautiful fragrant flowers to appear.

• Make sure your holidays plants arrive at their destination alive and looking their best. Always wrap plants in paper or plastic when moving them from one location to the next. And never leave plants sitting in a cold car while running errands or shopping.

• Give the gift of an indoor herb garden. Provide your favorite gardener with all the needed ingredients or plant it up ready to go for the busy or more timid gardeners on your list.

• Make a wish list of materials needed for starting seeds indoors. Be sure to include seeds, flats, containers and other supplies that you will need. Consider giving the same type of gift or gardening gift certificate to your favorite gardeners.

• Increase the number and diversity of birds visiting your landscape by adding feeders and a heated birdbath to your landscape. They also make great gifts.

• Always shovel first before applying deicing salt. You'll need less deicing salt and prevent salt-laden snow from ending up on your lawn and garden plants. And use plant-friendly deicing compounds to further reduce the risk of damage.

• Make note of lawn areas buried in snow or exposed to deicing salts. They may need extra care or reseeding in spring.

• Monitor and secure fencing and animal barriers as needed. Winter winds may dislodge and snow may bury these barriers.

•Check on container plants stored in your unheated garage. Make sure they are watered whenever the soil is thawed and dry.

• Check on geraniums, mandevilla and other plants that moved indoors for winter. Water those growing as houseplants thoroughly as needed.

• Burn off some of those holiday calories with a walk around the neighborhood. Look for trees and shrubs that provide winter interest in the landscape. Mae a list of any you want to add to your landscape next year.

• Enjoy the winter interest your perennials provide. Watch for birds that come to visit. It is a great way to relax and rejuvenate during the hectic holiday season.

• Increase your indoor gardening success with the help of artificial lights. Keep lights about 6 inches above the top of seedlings and 6-12 inches above indoor plants. Use reflective surfaces under and around the plants to bounce light back into the plants.

• Control mites and aphids on houseplants with a strong blast of water followed by a treatment of insecticidal soap, Neem or another natural insecticide labeled for this use. As always, read and follow all label directions carefully.


Written by gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s monthly gardening tips with you!

Shred fall leaves as you cut the grass and leave them on the lawn. As long as you can see the grass blades through the leaf pieces the lawn will be fine. The shredded leaves will break down adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil below.