December Garden Checklist


Carnations, digitalis, pansies, petunias, shasta daisies, and snapdragons can be planted this month.


After the holidays, poinsettias can be planted outdoors. In North Florida, replant in larger pots, and bring them indoors during freezing weather. If poinsettias have dropped lower leaves and become leggy, cut them back to 4 to 6 inches to induce new growth. Water as needed, and fertilize. Keep tips of new growth pinched until Labor Day so plants stay bushy and compact. Colorful bracts should develop by the following Thanksgiving.


Check for declining plant portions and pests. Work at this time of year should be minimal. Check bulbs in storage and remove adhering soil or damage portions.


Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, caraway,cardamom,chervil, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, ginger, horehound, lemon balm, lavender, lovage, marjoram, mexican tarragon, mint, nasturtium, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme and watercress can be planted now.


Do not apply special feeding to encourage growth. Keep mowing height the same year round. Brown patch may occur this time of year. Call your county office for advice. Change your lawn watering habits from once every 7-10 days to once every two weeks. Mow as needed. During dry weather keep the lawn watered to withstand winter freezes.

Trees and Shrubs:

Late December is the ideal time to begin transplanting plants if the weather has turned cool. If there hasn't been much cold weather, do not begin to transplant until the plants are dormant. Prune rootstwo to three months before digging by severing roots with a spade just inside the intended root ball to generate new root hairs and reduce transplant shock. Be sure to keep plants out of the ground as little time as possible.


Choices for this month include beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, Chinese cabbage, English peas, onions, and radishes. Have soil tested in December for a spring lawn to garden. Testing every three to four years usually is enough to tell if lime is needed . A good sample should be taken from the top 3 or 4 inches of soil in eight to 10 areas. Put it all together in a large bucket and mix it up well. Take 1 pint of this soil to your county extension office . This sample will give an overall view of what your lawn and garden needs may be.




Rebecca Jordi
Horticulture Agent IV
County Extension Director
Contributing Editor