What to Plant in January in the UK

In the depths of winter, the UK's gardens may seem to be in a deep slumber, but beneath the frosty surface, there's a world of potential just waiting to spring into life, but what to plant in January? If you've got itchy green fingers, here’s a quick guide to what seeds to plant in January.

3 July 2023

As the promise of an exciting new year dawns, now is the perfect time to embark on an enchanting journey of growth and colour by discovering what bulbs to plant in January. From a dazzling display of early-blooming flowers to a veritable variety of vegetables and fantastics fruits, January offers an array of flora to transform your outdoor space into an abundant garden.

In this article, we’ll explore the perfect plants to kickstart the year, ensuring a bountiful and vibrant garden that will flourish as winter gives way to spring. So, grab your gloves and tools and let’s discover what fruit, veg and flowers to plant in January in the UK.

Tools of the Trade

Cold frame of organic vegetables and salad leaves (Credit: TonyBaggett via Getty Images)

Choosing what to plant in January is one of the most exciting jobs of the gardening calendar but it needs to be carefully considered. Here are some things that could help for a successful planting season.

Heated Propagator

They come in a range of shapes and sizes but a propagator is a modular seed tray that will help to germinate your seedlings at a constant, ambient temperature before they’re robust enough to be transferred outdoors later in the growing cycle.

Cold Frame

A cold frame sits somewhere between a cloche and a greenhouse. If you’re looking at what bulbs to plant in January, a cold frame provides a protective enclosure for your seeds and tender plants.


Choosing a greenhouse is largely dependent on two factors – cost and available space. For the more serious gardener, a greenhouse will protect plants from inclement weather as well as many pests and diseases. They can also extend your growing seasons.

Other Equipment

Ensure you’re equipped with the fundamentals of indoor growing such as seed trays, pots and a good quality soil or compost.

What to Plant in January - Vegetables

Onions being planted in soil. (Credit: Fuzullhanum via Getty Images)

If you want to know what seeds to plant in January, the answer is ‘plenty!’ You can kickstart herbs, salad seeds, spinach, cauliflower and spring onions on a windowsill for a fragrant and colourful start to the year.

Celery, celeriac, chillies and aubergines and onions can be started off in a propagator and you can start chitting your first crop of potatoes.

Broad beans can tolerate cold weather and germinate at very low temperatures, so they can be planted in pots in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. You can even plant kale straight into the soil. Some gardeners suggest that the colder the temperature in which kale grows, the sweeter it is when it’s harvested.

Sowing & Growing Fruit

An apple tree seedling in the garden is prepared for planting in the open ground. (Credit: Ольга Симонова via Getty Images)

When you’re deciding what to plant in January, fruits aren’t usually at the top of the list, but there are some that you can plant this early in the growing season.

As long as the soil isn’t frozen, the answer to the question ‘what can I plant in January’ includes bare-root trees such as apple, pear, peach and cherry as well as unusual fruits such as quince or medlar. Start them off under cloches for the best results.

In a heated propagator you can plant certain varieties of rhubarb such as Glaskin’s Perpetual and you can plant woodland strawberries in seed trays.

If you have particularly acidic soil, blueberries can be planted in January and you can also plant raspberry canes in areas with free-draining soil that catch the sun (if it decides to make an early appearance!)

What Flowers to Plant in January

Potted Geraniums, ready for planting. (Credit: Lisa Romerein via Getty Images)

There are lots of beautiful flowers to plant in January in heated propagators, cold frames or small seed trays in preparation for germination including –

Geraniums – germination takes between three and twelve days and they will usually flower between June and November.

Sweet Peas – they should be kept in an unheated greenhouse around 12°C/55°F and will germinate in around two weeks.

Dahlias – plant dahlias in small pots and keep them between 18-21°C/65-70°F. Germination can take anywhere between one and three weeks.

Delphiniums – sow delphiniums in small seed trays and some require cold stratification and should be kept in the fridge for three weeks, then between 15-21°C/59-70°F. Germination can take up to four weeks.

You can also plant snapdragons in a propagator as they need a prolonged period of growth. Outdoors, what bulbs to plant in January include varieties of begonias, petunias, coleus and delicate Icelandic poppies.


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