While winter gardening isn’t all that eventful compared to other seasons, there are still things you can do and crops you can plant. But if you’re wondering what plants to sow in January, then we have the answers for you.
While it’s not all that different from what to sow in December, there are some newcomers to start sowing in January, while for other varieties it’s now too cold and frosty to be planted.
We've asked the experts and rounded up 5 plants to sow in January, from the purely decorative ones that will grace your garden with their pretty blooms, to the practical ones that will be ready to harvest and cook come spring.
What plants to sow in January
If you’re looking for some winter gardening ideas, then sowing some seeds for flowering plants and produce that you’ll be able to enjoy come spring is our top recommendation. However, at this time of year, you are best sowing all of our recommendations in an indoor space or a greenhouse to start them off.
1. Broad beans
Just like when it comes to the best fruit and vegetables to grow in December, broad beans are at the top of the list and consistently remain one of the easiest vegetables to grow for beginners. But don't confuse them with runner beans as the best time to sow runner beans is much later in spring.
‘If you have a greenhouse, you can sow broad beans,’ says Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench. If you don't have space indoors you will have to wait until things warm up a little in February to plant them outside.
Where to buy broad bean seeds:
Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants.
If you’re looking for some pretty winter flowers to plant, then pansies are your best bet. They look delicate but they are surprisingly hardy.
‘For flowers, try winter-blooming pansies and, similar to the vegetables, sow them indoors and transplant them later. You can expect them to bloom in early spring,’ says Petar Ivanov, gardening expert at Fantastic Gardeners.
Where to buy pansy seeds:
Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.
3. Lettuce and cold-hardy greens
‘In January, it's most suitable to sow cold-hardy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and winter lettuce. It's recommended to start them indoors or in a greenhouse for better protection and transplant them outdoors once the frost risk has passed. You can generally expect to harvest them in late winter or early spring,’ Petar advises.
You can expect to harvest your lettuce in 40 to 70-days time, while spinach usually takes about 30 to 50 days to grow to maturity.
Where to buy lettuce and cold-hardy green seeds:
- Dobies: Vailan winter gem lettuce seeds
- Sarah Raven: Giant Winter spinach seeds
- Amazon: Mr Fothergill's Nero di Toscana kale seeds
Similarly to pansies, snapdragons are another flowering plant that can be sown in January for early spring blooms in the garden.
‘Flowering plants such as snapdragons should be sown in a sunny spot with well-drained soil,’ says Jack Sutcliffe, gardening expert and co-founder of Power Sheds. ‘They can be planted in flower beds, containers, or window boxes. They should be spaced about 6 to 12 inches apart and should be watered regularly.’
It usually takes between 4 and 6 weeks for flowering plants like these to start blooming.
Where to buy snapdragon seeds:
- Suttons: Antirrhinum Seeds - F1 Madame Butterfly Mix
- Amazon: Jamieson Brothers Antirrhinum Snapdragon Mixed Flower Seeds
‘January is a great time to start planting cool-season vegetables such as turnips,’ Jack says. ‘Cool-season vegetables can typically be harvested anywhere from 2-4 weeks after planting.’
But just like with the others, turnips too will need to be sown indoors.
Where to buy turnip seeds:
Happy January sowing!
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Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.
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