What to Plant in January: The Complete Guide

Written by August Croft
Published: December 12, 2022
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Knowing what to plant in January is key to establishing a thriving garden come springtime. Depending on your region or Hardiness Zone, you may be fairly limited as to what you can plant safely in January. However, there are still plenty of things that are best established during this time of year as well as plants you can protect if the weather is still a bit cold. 

Depending on where you live, you can plant a variety of vegetables and flowers from seed indoors during the month of January. You might also have success with directly sowing some plant options, so long as you provide them with some protection from the cold. Plus, there are a number of bare-root trees and shrubs that need to be started during the month of January for optimum success. 

In this article, we will give you a complete guide as to what you can safely plant during the month of January. From vegetables to trees, there are a number of options capable of growing during this particularly frigid month. So long as you know your Hardiness Zone and your average springtime frost dates, you are ready to start planting January plants! Let’s get started. 

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What to Plant in January: Flowers

What to Plant in January

It isn’t necessarily too late to plant flower bulbs in January.

©iStock.com/Olga U

Most flowers need to be established indoors and hardened off before being planted outdoors. But January is the perfect time to start the process! Here are some flowers that can be planted in January, both indoors and out. 

Begonias

What to Plant in January

Start your begonias roughly two months before your final frost date so that they can grow strong enough to thrive outdoors. 

©Opachevsky Irina/Shutterstock.com

Establishing a healthy begonia plant from seed is easier than you might think. These versatile flowers are often used as shrubs, ground cover, and may pair well with many different other plants in a container. Start your begonias roughly two months before your final frost date so that they can grow strong enough to thrive outdoors. 

Calendula

What to Plant in January

If you live in Hardiness Zones 8 or higher, sowing calendula seeds directly into the soil outside may be the easiest way to grow these simple blooms.

©Yulia_B/Shutterstock.com

Depending on your region, you can start calendula flowers either indoors or outdoors. If you live in Hardiness Zones 8 or higher, sowing calendula seeds directly into the soil outside may be the easiest way to grow these simple blooms. Keep in mind that calendula seeds need sunlight in order to properly germinate. Be sure to avoid planting them too deep! 

Snapdragons

What to Plant in January

Snapdragons are ideal for containers as well as border planting.

©iStock.com/Borislav

Pairing well with a variety of other flowers, snapdragons are beautiful and charming in any setting. You can easily grow snapdragons from seed indoors, giving them roughly two months to develop strong stems and roots. Snapdragons are ideal for containers as well as border planting, given their tall height and striking appearance. 

Pansies

What to Plant in January

You can grow pansies from seed during the month of January if you start them indoors.

©Ken Kojima /Shutterstock.com

Pansies are perfect for planting and a variety of seasons. In fact, they thrive in just about every season besides summertime. You can grow pansies from seed during the month of January if you start them indoors. However, many people opt for established plants from their local nursery or garden center. They need a long time to establish healthy growth habits. Make sure to start them roughly three months before your final frost date. 

Did You Forget to Plant Your Spring Bulbs?

What to Plant in January

Some popular springtime bulbs include tulips, hyacinths, crocuses, and the iconic daffodil.

©Arvind Balaraman/Shutterstock.com

If you are just now realizing that you forgot to plant your spring bulbs or tubers, it isn’t necessarily too late. You may just have later blooms than you expected given that most bulbs need the entire winter in order to establish themselves. You should also ensure that your bulbs aren’t too old. Many spring flower bulbs cannot be stored for a long period of time. Some popular springtime bulbs include tulips, hyacinths, crocuses, and the iconic daffodil.

What to Plant in January: Vegetables

What to Plant in January

Most vegetables planted in January need protection.

©iStock.com/Nastco

Did you know that there are still a few vegetables to be planted during the month of January? Whether you live in a climate that it’s starting to warm up by the time January rolls around or you want to start your seedlings indoors, here are some great vegetables to consider planting in January. 

Microgreens

What to Plant in January

You may consider planting different types of lettuce and greens with the intention of harvesting them as microgreens.

©iStock.com/letterberry

If you live in a Zone that varies in terms of its temperatures and frost dates, you may consider planting different types of lettuce and greens with the intention of harvesting them as microgreens. This allows you to eat something fresh and homegrown without worrying about anything happening to your young or newly established plants. Some crops that can be grown for microgreens include arugula, spinach, broccoli, peas, and radishes. 

Onions

What to Plant in January

Some onions are started from bulbs, but it is often cheaper to simply grow them from seed.

©iStock.com/Dumitru Ochievschi

If you choose to grow onions from seed, establishing them indoors during the month of January is a good idea. Some onions are started from bulbs, but it is often cheaper to simply grow them from seed. All onions can be started inside during the month of January. Or you may be able to directly sow green onion seeds outdoors depending on your climate. 

Broccoli

What to Plant in January

January is a great time to start your broccoli crops with the intention of planting them just before your frost dates end.

©iStock.com/Quanthem

Delicious and relatively cold-hardy, broccoli needs multiple weeks to establish a strong enough seedling when grown indoors. Thankfully, January is a great time to start your broccoli crops with the intention of planting them just before your frost dates end. Start your broccoli seeds inside, roughly six weeks before this date. 

Herbs

What to Plant in January

There are many different types of herbs that you can grow in a sunny windowsill inside your home.

©iStock.com/Liudmila Chernetska

If you live in a climate that is simply too cold to consider starting your seeds during January, have you established an indoor herb garden yet? There are many different types of herbs that you can grow in a sunny windowsill inside your home. This offers you freshness and greenery year-round. Some great herbs to grow inside include basil, rosemary, lemon balm, and mint. 

Tomatoes

What to Plant in January

The average tomato plant needs roughly six to eight weeks before it can be planted outside.

©Szasz-Fabian Jozsef/Shutterstock.com

Similarly to broccoli, many tomato plants need plenty of time to establish themselves when grown from seed. However, they are extremely cold-sensitive and you cannot start tomatoes outside unless it is 50 degrees or warmer. The average tomato plant needs roughly six to eight weeks before it can be planted outside. However, some cultivars are faster than others. Be sure to plan properly if you want a large tomato harvest this summer! 

What to Plant in January: Trees and Shrubs

What to Plant in January

There are a number of trees and shrubs that do well when planted in January.

©Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz/Shutterstock.com

Many garden centers and nurseries recommend planting bare-root trees and shrubs during this time of year. January is ideal for many different plant species, and you should definitely establish your bare-root roses during this month if you haven’t already. Here are some other tree and shrub options to plant during January.

Bare-Root Fruit Trees

What to Plant in January

Bare-root cherry trees are best planted in January.

©PARICHUT WONGTHAI/Shutterstock.com

Often cheaper than container fruit trees, bare-root fruit trees are perfect for planting in January. This allows the tree to establish roots where it will be grown and thriving by the time springtime rolls around. Some great choices for you to consider planting in January include cherries, apricots, plums, apples, and peaches. 

Hawthorn

What to Plant in January

Bare-root hawthorn plants don’t transplant well, so keep this in mind when choosing a good spot for them.

©Martin Pelanek/Shutterstock.com

Both hawthorn trees and shrubs can be planted during the month of January, either from bare roots or established container plants. You should plan on planting your hawthorn tree or shrub in full sunlight, as soon as the ground is workable. Bare-root hawthorn plants don’t transplant well, so keep this in mind when choosing a good spot for them. 

Witch Hazel

What to Plant in January

Witch hazel prefers full sunlight and good drainage, but otherwise, this shrub is incredibly easy to care for!

©iStock.com/odluap

Depending on your region, you may be able to plant witch hazel shrubs during the month of January. This is a fantastic plant that has beautiful yellow leaves throughout the winter, so you may be able to fully enjoy it next year. It prefers full sunlight and good drainage, but otherwise, this shrub is incredibly easy to care for!

January Gardening: Prepare Your Outdoor Space!

Whether you choose to plant or grow anything during the month of January, this is an ideal time of year to prepare your outdoor space. Likewise, you may take this time to properly plan and lay out your garden before spring arrives. That way, you can begin your spring flowers and vegetables as soon as your soil is warm enough to work with! 

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © vaivirga/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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