February Gardening Tips:


Shop: Buy early flowering shrubs such as Daphne, Azalea, Camellia, and early Rhodys.

Order perennial plants and bulbs now for cut flowers in the summer. Daisy, Dahlia, Cosmos, Aster, Lily


Set out summer flowering bulbs like Amaryllis, Calla, Canna, Dahlias, Gladiolus, Lily, Tuberous Begonia.

Plant bare-root vegetables such as Artichoke, Asparagus, Horseradish, and Rhubarb

Plant spring flowering perennials. Choose from Bleeding Heart, Coral Bells, Campanula, and perennial Dianthus.

Plant bare-root ornamentals such as roses, shade trees and vines.

Handle seed packets carefully. Rubbing the outsides to determine how many seeds are inside can break the protective seed coats, thereby reducing germination.

Gardeners who want tuberous Begonias for summer-long flowering in pots, beds or baskets outside should start the tubers indoors during late February or early March. Place outside only after the threat of frost has passed.

Begonia, Marigold, and Petunia seeds can be started indoors now. Sprinkle the small seeds sparingly onto moist soil and gently press them in.


Fertilize spring-blooming flowers and fall-planted annuals and perennials. Wait to feed Azaleas, Camellias, and Rhododendrons until after bloom; use an acid based fertilizer

Finish pruning cane berries, deciduous fruit trees, grapes, roses, and wisteria by mid February.

Fertilize deciduous fruit trees two to three weeks before they flower. Feed other mature trees and shrubs as new growth appears.

Wait to prune spring-flowering deciduous ornamental such as forsythia and quince, and spring-flowering shrubs until after they flower.

Prune roses and most other deciduous shrubs.

Watch for signs of growth in early spring bulbs. When foliage is 1 inch high, gradually start removing mulch. Cloudy days are best so to not burn tender foliage

Check stored bulbs, tubers and corms. Discard any that are soft or diseased.

Repair, paint or stain outdoor furniture, and other items in preparation for outdoor gardening and recreational use.

Avoid walking on grass or groundcovers while they are frozen. The frozen leaves are brittle and easily damaged.

Weed and Pest Control

Apply dormant oil or spray neem oil on deciduous plants whose buds are still closed.

Horticultural oil kills over-wintering insects; lime sulfur or fixed copper spray controls many diseases.

Continue slug and snail control by removing their hiding places; clean up leaf litter.

As weeds germinate, hand-pull or apply a pre-emergence or weed killer.

For weed control in bulb or seedling beds apply a two inch layer of mulch.

For Fun

During the cold days of late winter and early spring try forcing branches of native trees such as dogwood, spicebush, serviceberry, and redbud which will flower indoors. Also try Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and Mountain Laurel.

Branches of Forsythia, Pussy Willow, Quince, Spirea, and Dogwood can also be forced for indoor bloom. Make long slanted cuts when collecting branches and place the stems in a vase of water. Change the water every four days. They should bloom in about three weeks.

For something unique to force for winter flower arrangements, consider Red Maple, Buckeye, Birch, Larch, or Oak branches. They will soon unfurl either flowers, foliage, catkins, or red leaves that gradually turn to green.

Posted by Michal, Lifestyle Landscapes design team.