Things to do in December

Fertilize: Feed winter bloomers such as alyssum, dianthus and especially pansies every 4-6 weeks.

Water: Water everything well before a freeze to protect against cold injury, but avoid overwatering.

Transplant: Transplant bare root and container grown roses, shrubs, trees, groundcovers and vines so they get established before warm weather arrives next summer.

Prepare Soil: Prepare dormant beds for spring planting: clean out dead and spent plants, compost to enrich the organic content of the soil. Send in soil samples (forms available at the Extension Office). Check winter mulch and replenish if needed. Stockpile leaves for mulching and composting throughout spring and summer.

Lawn Care: Run mower and trimmer engines dry of gasoline, drain and change oil. Take them to the repair shop now to avoid the spring rush. Clean and oil ALL tools before storing for winter.

Diseases/Pests to Look for: Watch for scale, mealy bugs and spider mites on houseplants. Root rot fungus thrives on over-watered houseplants.

Things to plant in December

Flower Plants:

  • Alyssum
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Calendula
  • Candytuft
  • Cornflower
  • Dianthus
  • Daisy (African, Michaelmas and Painted)
  • Liatris
  • Nasturtium
  • Ornamental Cabbage and Kale
  • Phlox paniculata
  • Snapdragon
  • Stock

Flower Seeds:

  • Bluebonnet
  • Calendula
  • Candytuft
  • Cornflower
  • Feverfew
  • Gaillardia
  • Gayfeather
  • Larkspur
  • Nasturtium
  • Poppy
  • Sweet Pea


  • Agapanthus
  • Allium
  • Alstroemeria
  • Amarcrinum
  • Amaryllis (in container)
  • Crinum
  • Hyacinth
  • Liriope
  • Monkey Grass
  • Muscari
  • Star of Bethlehem (Orthinogalum)
  • Rain Lily
  • Society Garlic
  • Spraxis
  • Aztec Lily (Sprekelia )
  • Watsonia


  • All Month: Lettuce, Radish, Spinach

Protect cool-season vegetables from hard freezes with row covers.


  • Bare root or container-grown pecans
  • fruit trees
  • grapes
  • berry bushes

Other things to do

Time to get the garden ready for the new growing season. Clean, repair and replace garden tools. Create a garden plan to help organize your chores and planting schedules. Recycle your Christmas tree.

Contact the Extension Service Office (512) 473-9600 for more information on Christmas tree recycling. As an alternative to the traditional Christmas tree, try a container tree or shrub (conically shaped) to be planted in your landscape later. Order spring vegetable seeds now.

Courtesy of the Garden Guide for Austin & Vicinity, published by the Travis County Master Gardener Association, copyright 2000-2002.