December Gardening Checklist

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 07/07/24 •  7 min read

The shortest day of the year is upon us — Dec. 21 — and the time is ripe for a holiday shot in the arm.

With all the bustle, bells and buying, it can be hard to focus on making the outside of your house homey, but it’s SO worth the effort.

Even if your garden is looking December-drab, colorful decorations and a bit of maintenance and winterizing can do a lot!

And of course, you can brighten things up indoors with narcissus, amaryllis and scarlet poinsettias, plus fragrant evergreen sprigs and boughs.

But that’s just a few ideas, here’s a whole checklist of things you can do to master your December Gardening:

Holiday Stuff

Get in the holiday spirit by bringing in the outdoors: a bushy tree, holly sprigs, swags of evergreen — and mistletoe, of course. Here are a few things you can do: shop for amaryllis, Christmas cactus and poinsettias to give as gifts or to make your home holiday-cozy.

Select this year’s Christmas tree. If you buy a living tree (which doesn’t cost much more and can be planted after the holidays), give it a thorough watering before you take it indoors, and don’t keep it inside for longer than 10 days.

If you buy a cut tree, it will absorb water better if you recut the trunk; check the water level twice daily — trees may absorb up to a gallon of water per day. Take cuttings of fragrant evergreen boughs and holly branches to make wreaths, drape as garlands, or tuck around candles as a centerpiece. What better time to make your own holiday wish list of home and gardening gifts?


During the downtime of winter, you can always take measures to prolong the life of your tools, mower, hoses and outdoor pipes.

Trees and Shrubs

If you can dig, you can plant. If the ground isn’t frozen solid, trees and shrubs planted now will preserve important energy over the winter.


Although the best time for mulching and covering plants varies by type and region, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind for winter care.


With just a small helping hand, you can keep houseplants happy during these short days. They’ll need less water now, so test their soil for dryness before adding more.

Little Live Things

From slimy pests to feathered pals, small attentions must be paid this month.


Even if it’s too late to plant perennials in your climate, it’s not too early to start planning and placing orders for your spring garden.


Thankfully, watering tasks have slowed to a dribble — but is there anyone you’ve forgotten?

Precipitation will take care of the moisture needs of most plants, but do check those that might be missing out on moisture because they’re located under eaves or evergreens; they may die if they get too parched.

Lawn Care

For most of us, the days of mowing are finally over — for a while.

Almost the new year? Just Want to Keep Going?

Don’t worry, we’ve got a fresh checklist for you for January too, jump over to our January Gardening Checklist now!


At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.