January is bare-root planting season, but hectic schedules and weather don’t always coincide to get these transplants in the ground right away.
If you have bare-root roses, fruit trees or other dormant plants awaiting transplant but don’t have time (or a prepared space) to plant them in the ground, keep them happy and healthy while they wait.
If the delay is less than a week, put the plants’ roots in a bucket of water. If it’s a large plant or tree, use a wheelbarrow or large trash can as a “vase.” It’s important to keep the roots moist and hydrated, even while the plant is dormant.
Another option: Plant your new bush or tree in potting mix in a 5-gallon or larger container. Add two spoonfuls of bone meal, but hold off on any high-nitrogen fertilizers. This is a particularly good short-term solution if the ground is too soggy to plant – or you haven’t decided exactly where this new addition will go.
That temporary potting will allow the roots some time to develop, too, while the plant awaits its new garden home. In spring, transplant it to its permanent location.
Other tasks to do this week:
▪ Remove old flowers from camellias and azaleas to avoid petal blight.
▪ Finish pruning roses. Pull off and discard any leaves that remain from last year’s growth.
▪ Start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed indoors.
▪ Besides bare-root roses and trees, plant bare-root perennials such as peony, bleeding heart, coral bells and astilbe. Plant blooming camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons.
▪ Transplant or direct seed snapdragon, candytuft, lily of the valley, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies and stocks.
▪ In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichokes, strawberries and rhubarb.
▪ Transplant seedlings of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and kale. Direct-seed radishes, beets, peas and chard.