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Pale-lemon Iceland poppies

What to plant in January

Published: Monday, 10 January, 2022 at 4:30 pm
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We pick 10 vegetable and flower seeds you can sow in January.

The arrival of the new year brings with it the opportunity to sow seeds indoors for the year ahead.

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For some plants, including tropical crops like chillies and aubergines, sowing as early as January means you're more likely to get a good crop.

However, early seed sowing will require some patience. Low light levels and high indoor temperatures can lead to weak seedlings, prone to 'damping off'. Prevent issues by thoroughly cleaning everything that will come into contact with seeds or seedlings. Use good peat-free seed compost – it's worth spending a bit more for a good brand.

You will need:

It’s exciting to be able to start sowing a variety of different seeds at this time of year, and to give them the best chance you might find that it's worth investing in additional kit, which we've suggested below.

  • Heated propagators: Available in a range of shapes and sizes, we’ve suggested the best heated propagators, which provide the perfect growing conditions for seedlings.
  • Cold Frames: If you’re prepared to add a bit of extra insulation, a cold frame offers protection against wintry weather and can help hardy seeds get off to a flying start too – check out our pick of the best garden cold frames.
  • Greenhouses: For those of you who have been toying with the idea of a greenhouse, we’ve got handy guides packed with information about how to choose the best greenhouse, as well as 12 of the most useful greenhouse accessories. No outside space? No problem – our round-up of the best indoor greenhouses is just for you.
  • Tools, pots and supports: Once your seedlings are ready to plant out later in the year, you'll find that a hand trowel is a great tool for the job. Our expert testers have put a range of styles through their paces to find the best garden hand trowels, so you can buy in confidence. If you're looking to create eye-catching containers with your homegrown plants, we've also selected the best eco friendly plant pots, while our pick of decorative garden obelisks and plant supports will help keep your sweet peas looking in tip top condition.

Vegetables to grow in January

Chillies

Crop of red chillis

Harvest July to October.

Sow 2-3 seeds thinly per small individual pot using seed compost. Cover to own depth with vermiculite.

Keep temperatures at 21-27°C (70-80°F), ideally in a heated propagator. Germination 3-10 days.


Aubergines

A selection of aubergine varieties on a wooden table
A selection of aubergine varieties on a wooden table

Harvest July to October.

Sow 2-3 seeds thinly per small individual pot using seed compost. Cover to own depth with vermiculite.

Keep temperatures at 21-27°C (70-80°F), ideally in a heated propagator. Germination 3-10 days.


Basil

Basil leaves

Harvest May to October.

Sow basil thinly on the surface of pots or trays of seed compost, cover with vermiculite.

Keep temperatures at 15-25°C (59-77°F), ideally in a heated propagator. Germination takes 14-21 days depending on temperature.


Flowers to grow in January

Geraniums

Red geranium flowers

Flowers June to October/November.

Sow geraniums thinly in small seed trays using seed compost plus 10 per cent grit – barely bury the seeds.

Keep temperatures at 24°C (75°F), ideally in a heated propagator. Germination takes 3-12 days.


Sweet peas

Pink sweet peas

Flowers May/June to August.

Sow sweet peas 6cm deep in 'tubes' or 7cm pots using seed compost plus 10 per cent grit.

Minimum temperature 12°C (55°F), keep in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame – germination 10-14 days.


Dahlias

Pink, single dahlias

Flowers July to October/November.

Sow 1-2 dahlia seeds in cells or small pots using seed compost plus 10 per cent vermiculite.

Minimum temperature 18-21°C (65-70°F), germination takes approximately 5-20 days.


Delphinium

Tall spires of pink and blue delphinium flowers

Flowers June and July.

Sow delphiniums thinly in trays of seed compost plus 10 per cent vermiculite, barely cover with vermiculite.

Keep in fridge for three weeks, then keep temperatures at 15-21°C (59-70°F) – germination takes 7-28 days.


Begonias, tuberous and bedding types

Yellow-orange-red begonia flowers

Flowers July to October/November.

Sow begonias thinly on the surface in trays of seed compost with a thin layer of vermiculite.

Keep temperatures at 19-24°C (66-77°F). Germination is slow, 15-60 days of light is essential.


Petunias

Crimson petunia flowers

Flowers late June to September.

Sow petunias thinly on the surface in small trays of seed compost plus 10 per cent vermiculite and lightly dust with vermiculite to barely cover.

Keep temperatures at 24-27°C (75-80°F). Germination takes 14 days, but plenty of light is essential.


Iceland poppies

Pale-lemon Iceland poppies

Flowers June to October.

Sow 2-3 Icelandic poppy seeds on the surface of each small individual pot of seed compost plus 20 per cent fine grit.

Minimum temperature is 12°C (55°F), keep in a cold frame. Germination takes 14-21 days.


Coleus

Striking deep-pink, pale-yellow and green foliage of coleus

Foliage display June onwards.

Sow coleus thinly in pots or a tray using seed compost + 10 per cent vermiculite, covering to its own depth.

Keep temperatures at 19-24°C (65-75°F), in a heated propagator. Germination takes 10-20 days, depending on temperature.

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