Your questions for the Plant Man included:
Q. What is the most important garden job this month?
A. January is the month for pruning. Prune carefully to encourage the type of plant growth you want. Early-flowering shrubs and trees may be pruned after they have flowered.
Q. Is this a good time to plant roses?
A. The best! Your local nurseries will have their largest selection of roses at the best prices because it is bare root season through February.
Q. I am growing Coleus in a pot at home, and I was told to pinch the tops to encourage branching. What exactly does that mean?
A. Pinching tops is simply removing the new growth that may be emerging atop a spindly, tall plant. Such pruning signals the plant to branch out with side growth, rather than growing upward.
Q. My cilantro is growing out of control. It has grown a lot but is not standing up straight.
A. Cilantro rarely stands up straight without the aid of staking. I solve that problem by constantly eating the plant!
Q. I have what I believe are called pothos plants indoors. I was told that one could take leaves off of it and replant it. Can I do this?
A. Pothos can be propagated from leaf cuttings. Simply dip the end of a leaf in a rooting compound and plant in a potting medium. Expect the plant to root within a few weeks.
Q. Is it too late for bulbs?
A. Spring bulbs, like callas, gladiolus, lilies and lily of the valley are available at your favorite nursery. If you can find them, there is time to plant daffodil, ranunculus and narcissus.
Q. My girlfriend's pansies are looking a little weak and droopy right now. Is this a normal state for them?
A. I believe that your pansies would prefer much warmer temperatures. Generally they are not set out this early in colder climes. Keep the plants moist but avoid overhead watering in freezing temperatures.
As I traveled through Baja and thought about the new year, it was not about resolutions, but rather about keeping promises to myself. The coming year brings new opportunities and challenges. We are the fortunate ones who are able to call Laguna home. Happy New Year and see you next time.
* Steve Kawaratani is happily married to local writer Catharine Cooper and has two cats. He can be reached at (949) 497-2438 or email@example.com.