10 Things to Do in the Garden in December

Our garden maintenance and planting calendar for the region, plus where to find inspiration

A December garden day in Southern California is quite a perk. Here’s our calendar for what to do in your garden this month, special garden events and where our garden expert is finding inspiration these days.

10 Things to Do in the Garden in December

1. Shop now for camellias.

2. Finish planting any stored bulbs.

3. Plant viola varieties for long-lasting winter color.

4. Keep holiday poinsettias fresh by avoiding temperature extremes.

5. Purchase fruit and nut trees when they are sold bare-root at nurseries later this month.

6. Begin pruning roses at the end of the month, starting with floribundas, followed by hybrid teas, miniatures and climbers.

december garden

7. Decrease watering times now that days are shorter and cooler.

8.Choose English shelling pea seeds and plant them this month for a spring treat of fresh sweet peas.

9. Prune dormant grapevines.

10. Add California poppies to your winter landscape by sowing seeds or planting seedlings.

December garden

Where you may find me this month

I love visiting San Diego Botanic Garden anytime, but especially during Garden of Lights.

After the sun goes down in December, the Garden transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland with sparkling lights. It’s a magical holiday experience every evening in December (except the 24th and 25th) from 5-9 p.m. Visit sdbgarden.org for more information.

After sundown on either December 7 or 8, my family and I will head to Balboa Park to take in the free light displays, music, dancing, food and more as part of the 41st annual Balboa Park December Nights. Visit sandiego.gov/december-nights for details and what to know before you go. 

What’s Inspiring Me Right Now

I’m ordering…The Baker Creek Seed Catalog to invest in great heirloom seeds. Get yours through rareseeds.com.


I’m reading…Protect The Pollinators by Rachael Rose Zoller (shown top left with her family) to the kiddos. This vibrant and whimsically illustrated children’s book introduces seven of the Earth’s pollinators and their importance. There’s also a great story about where chocolate comes from and, there’s a furry surprise pollinator at the end.

I’m joining…local garden clubs, and suggest that, even if you are a beginner, you should join the one in your neighborhood. It’s a great way to ask questions and learn how your neighbors’ gardens grow.

I’m following…@bigcitygardener Timothy Hammond for great before and afters and smart tips for urban gardening.

Categories: Garden Planner, Gardening