What to Plant in December in the USA

Is cabin fever wearing you down? Ready to play in the garden despite it being the coldest stretch of the year? Break out your thickest gardening gloves and a coat because there are a few plants you can start, even in December. 

Before beginning, be sure to check out the USDA Plant Zone Hardiness Map to identify your planting zone. 

What to Plant In December In Zones 1a to 3b 

bozeman montana snow in winter
Bozeman, Montana in the snowy winter.

Most of Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota. Parts of Wyoming, Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. 

For this zone, you’ll need to plant inside your home or in a greenhouse if you want to get some winter gardening accomplished.

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The issue isn’t necessarily because the cold is too harsh for seeds; it’s because the ground is usually frozen solid and unworkable. 

If, for some reason, you’re having a warm enough December that you can still stick a spade in the ground, try:

These plants won’t emerge until spring, but they’ll get a good start for when your ground starts to thaw out. 

For this region, it’s better to focus on growing plants indoors. You can technically grow any garden plant inside as long as you have the space and the lighting to provide for it. 

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What to Plant In December In Zones 4a to 5b 

wyoming winter landscape
Wyoming winter landscape

Most of Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine. Parts of Alaska, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. 

In this zone in December, you can also plant:

You can also sprinkle

Again, because this is such a cold area, it’s better to focus on indoor gardening in containers rather than outdoor gardening during December. 

Read more: Top 9 Best Fruit Trees for Zone 4

What to Plant In December In Zones 6a to 9b

raised gardens with frost covers dallas texas
Raised gardens at an elementary school in Dallas, Texas.

Most of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Parts of Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. 

In Zones 6a to 9b, you have significantly more options. 

In December, you may plant:

You can also plant the following vegetables earlier in the year, usually late fall, to harvest throughout the winter, including December.

What to Plant In December In Zones 10a to 12b 

gorgeous river with gardens louisiana
Beautiful scenery in Louisiana.

Most of Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Parts of Texas, Louisiana, California, Arizona, and Florida.

In this zone, the temperature seldom falls below freezing. Thankfully, the few times it does, it is an exceptionally light frost from which you can easily protect your plants. You can plant almost anything you want here!

All of the crops mentioned above grow here, as well as

Indoor Container Gardening in December 

Indoor container gardening is always an option too. 

The only thing that can hold you back with indoor container gardening is space and lighting. If you have a large enough pot and a bright enough grow light, anything is possible. 

If you’re a little more limited on space or artificial lighting, try keeping small containers on your windowsills. Herbs are a great option. Just be sure to check your windows for drafts. Plants, especially young ones, do not tolerate cold drafts well at all. 

Planting Microgreens in December

Different kinds of micro greens
Different kinds of micro greens

If you have a grow light and some seed trays, try your hand at raising microgreens inside your home. Microgreens grow fast, sometimes ready for harvest in as little as a week, and they take up very little space. 

Some popular microgreens to grow indoors over the winter: 

  • Sunflowers
  • Buckwheat
  • Wheatgrass
  • Radish
  • Clover
  • Peas
  • Red cabbage
  • Collards
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Alfalfa
  • Arugula
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Swiss Chard

Check out True Leaf Market for an amazing variety of organic and non-GMO microgreens seeds. They have all the varieties above and much, much more.

You can’t go past Bootstrap Farmer for your microgreens tray supplies, especially if you’re buying in bulk, but True Leaf Market has fantastic kits available as well, which include everything you need to get started.

Hydroponic Gardening in December

Vegetable garden with Water Hydroponics system
Hydroponic gardening can be done in almost any space and is very low-maintenance.

One last option to consider for indoor gardening is hydroponics. Hydroponic gardening is low maintenance and space-effective. Hydroponic towers are relatively affordable, or at least easy to make, and an excellent solution for the December gardener. 

Some easy plants to start with in your hydroponic garden are: 

  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Bok choy
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Herbs include peppermint, basil, oregano, sage, stevia, tarragon, rosemary, and lemon balm. 

Winter Gardening Frequently Asked Questions

What will you do in the garden this December? Are you decorating for Christmas? Starting seeds indoors to get ready for spring? Let us know!

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