December Garden Guide

gillnurseryMonthly Garden Guide4 Comments


Flowers from Seed

Carnations, larkspur, nasturtium, petunias, poppy

Garden Guide: Planting Fall & Winter Annuals

Flowers from Transplant

Pansies, petunias, alyssum, dianthus, snapdragons, ornamental cabbage and kale, geraniums

  • screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-59-09-pm Geraniums
  • screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-4-02-07-pm Pansies
  • screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-57-52-pm Ornamental Cabbage
  • screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-56-54-pm Alyssum
Hardy Trees, Shrubs and Vines

The roots of hardy plants grow during our cool months even though their leaves may be changing color or falling from their branches. This provides a better root system so they thrive in spring and can survive the long, hot summer. Live oaks, magnolia, cedar elm, hawthorns, holly, sage, junipers, roses, just to name a few, are winter hardy and would be appropriate to plant now. Read more: Plant Hardy Trees And Shrubs Now

Garden Guide: Planting Trees, Shrubs & Groundcovers, Roses

Veggies from Seed

Beets, cabbage (all types), carrots, chard, lettuce, mustard, onions, peas, radish, spinach and turnips

Christmas cactus is one of nature’s gifts for those who are gardening challenged. Just keep them dry and in very filtered light. How’s that for easy?

A beautiful holiday plant, the Christmas Cactus blooms at Christmas and also sometimes around Easter if cared for properly. Keep the plant in a well lit location (like near a window) away from direct sunlight-too much heat and light can stunt the growth and burn the leaves. It should also be away from drafts, heat vents, or other sources of hot air. Feel the soil with your fingers; if it is dry, it’s time to water thoroughly. Before watering again, check to see that the top inch of soil has dried thoroughly first. Mist leaves as well as watering the soil.

Read more: Christmas Cactus.

Fall bulbs like paper whites and amaryllis, will make a spectacular show this winter and now is the time to plant them.

Paperwhite Narcissus
1. Refrigerate for 4-6 weeks prior to planting.
(plant around Thanksgiving for holiday blooms!)
2. Fill a clear vase with a few inches of pea gravel.
3. Nestle bulbs side by side into the gravel.
4. Add water up to the bottom of the bulb and
place near a sunny window.

Plant in a pot or in the ground. If planting in the ground, place in morning sun and afternoon shade. Every three years in October, you can dig up and divide these bulbs as they multiply underground! Feed regularly with Hi-Yield Bone Meal every 4-6 weeks.

Indoor Plants

Bring fresh air and interest indoors. Houseplants like schefflera, sanseveria, pothos ivy, & philodendrons bring a clean organic feel to your home. While you move plants in from outdoor areas, be sure to check for insects and treat if needed.

Poinsettias indoors do best in cool dry areas with indirect light. An easy way to water them is with a few ice cubes every few days.


Fertilize organically with Hastagro, Medina Growin Green, or Milorganite, or conventionally with Osmocote Time Release 14-14-14.

Do not fertilize TROPICALS. They need to rest.

If you didn’t fertilize your lawn in October or November, instead of applying a chemical fertilizer, we recommend you use an organic fertilizer such as Medina Growin Green or Milorganite. These products feed the grass & soil microbes slowly and naturally.

Watch Out For

insects on hardy trees and shrubs. Spray with Neem Oil spray or Dormant Oil.

Read: What’s Bugging You Now?

LAWN FUNGUS This can be a major problem after long periods of wet, cool weather or over watering. There are two major kinds of lawn fungus – Take All Patch and Brown Patch. Treat Take All Patch organically with Nature’s Blend Organic Compost, or Peat Moss, or conventionally with Fertilome Systemic Lawn Fungicide or Scotts DiseaseEX.

Treat Brown Patch Fungus with Fertilome F-Stop Granules.


Only as needed – but dry cold fronts, high winds and low humidity can dry plants quickly.

Established lawns only need water every couple of weeks, provided we don’t get rain.

Be sure to check your sprinkler system and adjust accordingly.


  • Perennials that have finished their bloom.
  • Pick spent flowers from annuals to prolong their bloom season.

Read: To Prune or Not to Prune?

4 Comments on “December Garden Guide”

    1. If they start to yellow from cold in December you can take that as a sign to cut down. If temperatures stay very mild and tops are still green I would wait until January to cut down. Remove clippings from bed to avoid overwintering insects.

  1. Go info I have 13 fox tail..
    When to prune “powder puff” and firtilize..have in pots…

  2. Typically, Valentine’s Day in South Texas is the time to do hard cut backs (heavy pruning), but if the weather is still consistently cold, wait until it starts warming up. This would also be the time to start fertilizing the Powder Puff either in pots or in the ground, and also the Foxtail Fern.

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