Choose the right spot for your festive house plants
- Indoor azaleas, cyclamen and forced bulbs last longer in a cool spot, while poinsettias like warm draught free rooms.
Water evergreens in containers
- Winter winds can draw a lot of moisture out of plants so make sure there is some water available to them.
- These fruit best on newer wood, so cut out a quarter to a third of the oldest, woodiest stems and any weak or damaged ones.
Keep an eye out for hibernating creatures
- If you are tidying up keep an eye out for hibernating frogs, toads and ladybirds and be careful not to disturb them.
- Sow mustard, cress, coriander or pea shoots in pots on a warm windowsill to use in winter salads.
Apply a winter wash to fruit trees
- This coats overwintering insect eggs in plant oils. Only use where aphids,scale insects and mites caused damage last summer.
Keep your Christmas tree watered
- If you have bought a poted tree keep it outdoors for as long as possible. Water it frequently once you bring it indoors.
Tidy up around brassicas.
- Remove yellowing foliage around winter crops such as Brussel sprouts and kale and keep the area free of weeds. Taller plants may need staking to prevent wind damage.
Take hardwood cuttings
- Use this season’s growth to propagate pencil thin cuttings about 15 to 30cm long. Good candidates are Cornus, Salix, Forsythia, Buddleja, jasmine, honeysuckle and grapevines.
Prune apples and pears
- To maintain a good shape and to maximise cropping next year prune freestanding trees now. Cut out diseased twigs and remove cankers where possible.
Improve heavy clay soils
- Unless the soil is waterlogged add well rotted