Seeds to Sow in December
December is the first true month of winter and the weather can still be mild, particularly at the start of the month, allowing gardeners to get on with a range of things to make the most of short light days. These include planting hardy shrubs and hedging, and starting fruit-tree pruning. Outdoors, there is now a limited range of seeds that can be sown, but indoors and under glass, thoughts can turn to the year to come, with the first chillies and aubergine seeds now just about ready to be sown, as well as ornamentals such as pelargoniums and antirrhinums. A surprising range of microgreens and sprouting seeds can be enjoyed – all you need is a sunny window sill.
Thoughts may also turn to the festive season with seasonal house plants, particularly bulbs such as hippeastrum, hyacinth and paperwhites given and received as colourful gifts, or choose from one of Unwins top Christmas gifts below!
To see all seeds that can be sown in December, take a look here.
Top Christmas Gifts
Unwins Gardeners' Seed Box
The perfect gift for gardeners, the Unwins Gardeners' Seed Box is ideal for safely storing and organising all your seeds and sowing essentials.
Combining functionality and usability, this box has been designed by gardeners, for gardeners, to ensure it is as usable as it is beautiful.
Unwins Homegrown Chilli Growing Kit
This Homegrown Chilli Growing Kit is perfect for your kitchen windowsill garden. With a wooden decorative planter, this will look beautiful sat in pride of place in your window.
Grow these chillies direct from seed in this easy to use kit. Its the perfect solution for small space gardening. Great for adding to spicy dishes!
Unwins Homegrown Salad Kitchen Garden Kit
Unwins Homegrown Salad Kitchen Garden Kit will make a perfect addition to your kitchen, providing a delicious variety of salad leaves and a beautiful addition to your windowsill.
Ideal for a cut and come again approach to salads, these specially chosen lettuce varieties can be cut and will continue to grow. Perfect for any windowsill!,
Unwins Homegrown Gin Cocktail Garden Kit
Unwins Homegrown Gin Cocktail Garden Kit allows you to grow your own botanicals to add to your favourite gin & tonic. The kit contains everything you need to add delicious botanicals to your gin and tonic.
These fresh and tasty herbs mixed with your favourite gin and tonic flavour make for lots of tasty gin cocktail variations. Simply plant up, and watch them grow on your windowsill.
Unwins Homegrown Herb Kitchen Garden
Unwins Homegrown Herb Kitchen Garden allows you to grow your own herb garden from your kitchen windowsill, within reach when you're cooking and need to add a burst of flavour! The kit contains everything you need to add delicious herbs to your cooking.
Featuring an attractive wooden planter, this will fit into your home decor perfectly. Simply plant up, and watch your herbs grow on your windowsill.
Top Seeds to Sow in December
Microgreens & Sprouting Seeds
If you have a bright, warm window sill you can enjoy the crunchy texture and fresh tangy flavours of microgreens and sprouting seeds through winter, regardless of the weather outside.
‘Sprouting seeds’ are the just-germinated seeds of various plants such as alfalfa and chickpeas, while ‘microgreens’ are basically the next stage – young seedling plants of radish, broccoli, kale and mustard. All can be harvested after two to three weeks and enjoyed as salads and garnishes, and they are perfect if you are short on space or a beginner gardener.
Our Unwins Homegrown Microgreen Kit ideal for window sill growing and makes a super Christmas gift. Find your local stockist here.
Many keen gardeners will be familiar with the long-held tradition of sowing onions on Boxing Day. It is a job often carried out at this time of year by growers of exhibition vegetables who are aiming to cultivate the biggest, best quality bulbs for the show bench! But for any gardener, it also provides a welcome break from the tinsel and turkey and is an alternative method to growing onions from sets (young bulbs).
Seed can be sown in module trays and then placed in a greenhouse or on a bright window sill, kept at about 10-15°C. Young plants then be put out in their final positions in spring.
Go for a brilliant all-rounder such as Ailsa Craig.
Sowing the first chilli seed in December feels like a great way to look forward to the growing season that will soon be with us. These are the seeds of plants that will crop through next summer, and getting them started early means that your plants will have a longer growing season to give you good crops.
Chillies like a warm, moist, bright environment to germinate and grow, so sow them in small pots and then place in a heated propagator for best results. Once germinated, remove from the propagator and grow on somewhere warm and sunny, and pot-on singly, once they are large enough to handle.
Chillies do not need to be sown this early; you can comfortably continue sowing into March or even early April, if you do not have space under cover at this time. Be brave and try Unwins Chilli Pepper Armageddon F1 Seeds.
Other seeds to sow now
Seeds to sow
Seeds to sow inside
- Sweet peas
Seeds to sow
- Seeds to sow inside
- Mustard greens - as cut and come again
- Cauliflower for early planting next year
- Pak choi
- Winter lettuce
- Seeds to sow directly outside
- Broad beans
- Early peas
- Spring onions (best under a cloche)
- Winter purslane
- Lamb’s lettuce
Seeds to sow
- Seeds to sow inside on a window sill
Caring for Plants
December is a great time to plant new raspberry and blackberry canes. These hardy but productive fruits should now be available and will settle in well once planted, ready for cropping in the year ahead.
Rhubarb crowns are also available now and can be planted. At this time of year, they will have no foliage but winter is the best season to get them in the ground. Do not harvest from rhubarb in the first spring after planting – plants need to establish well before you crop them. Only pick a few stems the next spring, then crop as normal from the following year.
Many hardy, winter-interest shrubs such as Mahonia, Hamamelis and Sarcococca are freely available now in garden centres. Do not delay planting any impulse buys until spring if the weather is mild, because plants should establish better and need less care, the sooner you get them in the ground.
This month, many hedging plants continue to be widely available, be they container-grown, containerised or bare-root. As long as the ground is not frozen, plant new hedges now or check any recently-planted hedges for failures and replace them. Bare-root plants can be heeled-in (roots placed under the soil) until you are ready.
Indoor bulbs such as hippeastrum or hyacinths received at Christmas need planting promptly. It's worth soaking bulbs overnight before potting-up as they will have been kept in warm shops for many weeks, which means they are likely to be dry. Water will help to start them into growth.
Winter is the time to start pruning free-standing fruit trees. Examine your trees carefully before starting, by standing back and looking at them as a hole, to see what work is needed. Look out for crossing, rubbing branches and diseased stems and try to maintain the tree’s open centred, vase-like form.
Wisteria can still be pruned now. Cut stems made earlier this year back to around two to three buds, to help plants flower and stay within bounds.
Take hardwood cuttings of plants such as roses and flowering currants (Ribes).
Parsnips, leeks and the last carrots can be harvested in December. In mild years, spinach may still be cropping.
Brassicas such as Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbages will be ready to harvest this month. Many people advise leaving Brussels sprouts to go through a few frosts to improve the taste.
Thinking About Next Month
Tidying perennials and grasses such as Miscanthus.
Planning for the year ahead.