February Gardening Tips
There’s still a lot of fun things to do in the garden in February!
It could be the best time for pruning shrubs, sowing seeds, growing vegetables, planting flowers or inspecting indoor plants for pests and insects. During this month the weather is mild with an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) and at least 10 hours of sunlight every day. Although the weather is cold, there are plenty of things to do in the garden during this time!
In this guide, we’re giving you practical gardening tips for the month of February:
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What To Plant In February
February is a great month to sow seeds of flowering plants, vegetables, and cold hardy annuals. Sowing seeds early in the season enables you to enjoy a bountiful harvest for a larger part of the year! If you have a heated propagator or a grow lamp, you can start growing warm-loving veggies and summer-flowering plants. Below are just some of the many different plants you can grow in February:
Cosmos: Grow from seed in peat-free compost on a tray or pot. Set the tray or pot in a bright, sunny spot, or use a grow light for faster germination (indoors). Once the weather warms up, you can transplant it outdoors.
Sweet pea: Easy-to-grow sweet peas can be grown individually in pots or cardboard tubes. A heated propagator or grow lights are vital to start sweet peas from seed. Wait until the seedlings have hardened off before planting outdoors.
Salvias: This flowering plant adds height and structure to the garden, and certain varieties can be started from seed quickly. Just use peat-free seed compost to grow salvias from seed, then add a layer of vermiculite. Set the pots in a spot that gets warm, bright light indoors.
Lilies: Traditionally a summer flower, lilies can be started early if grown in a bright, sunny spot. You may need a heated propagator or a grow light for this. Plant the bulb in rich, well-draining soil.
Geraniums: Hardy varieties of geraniums, called cranesbills, can be grown in the garden, either in a spot that gets bright, direct sunlight, or in shady areas. Hardy geraniums are easy to grow and adaptable – they’ll do well in most soils except for wet soils.
Other flowering plants you can grow in February are:
- Japanese anemones
Kale: This green leafy vegetable is incredibly cold tolerant, but the seeds should be started off indoors if the weather is too cold. Sow 2 to 3 seeds in every small pot, and once the seedlings sprout, thin to leave the healthiest seedlings. Pop the pots in a sunny spot, like a window sill, until they’re big enough to be planted in-ground.
Tomatoes: This fruit is a summer season staple, but it can be sown at a minimum temperature of 10ºC. If you have a heated propagator, you’ll have the best chances of starting tomatoes early in the season. A sunny windowsill is also excellent for growing tomatoes in pots or trays. Just keep the containers covered at night so the temperature won’t drop too quickly to delay germination.
Chilies: Most varieties of chilies require a minimum temperature of 25ºC to germinate. But you can start early in February using grow lights, sowing 2 to 4 seeds in a pot of soil with seed compost. Cover with vermiculite to speed up the germination process.
Eggplants: Eggplants have the same minimum temperature requirement as chilies, so grow lights are a must to start these crops early. Sow 2 to 4 seeds in a pot of soil with seed compost. Cover with vermiculite to speed up the germination process.
Basil: Warm-season plants like basil are best grown in a sunny spot like a windowsill or a heated propagator if you have one. You can buy an herb kit, so you’ll have all the materials you need to build a small herb garden, most of which include basil. Once the seedlings sprout, it will only take a few weeks before you’re ready to harvest basil.
Broad beans: Broad beans are best sown outdoors in mild weather but if the soil is still cold, cover with fleece or cloches to insulate the soil before planting the seeds. If the weather is still chilly, starting the seeds in multi-celled trays under a grow light or in a cold frame is best. Once the temperature rises, you can transfer the seedlings to the garden.
Garden Maintenance Tasks To Complete
- Cut leftover ornamental grasses before fresh sprouts appear
- Prune your flowering plants to encourage healthy buds to grow
- Use a shovel a rake to break compacted soil
- Remove congested grasses and perennials to encourage new growths
- Prune winter flowering plants after blooming to promote abundant flowers in the next season
- Using a hand pruner, cut old foliage before spring flower buds develop
- Enrich the soil with slow-release fertilizers around the base of flowering shrubs
Fruits and Vegetables
- Finish your winter pruning to promote healthy growth in the spring
- Remove weeds in the vegetable patch or raised beds before sowing the seeds.
- Add a thick layer of organic compost to vegetable beds before sowing.
- Sprinkle potash fertilizer around the base of fruit trees and shrubs to promote abundant fruiting next season
- Install cloches or fleece over temperature-sensitive plans to encourage an early crop and protect from frost and chilly winds
- Sow fruit bushes and trees if the soil starts to soften
Garden Maintenance: Getting Ready For The Growing Season
- Install bird baths and birdhouses to attract pollinators in the upcoming spring
- Knock snow off evergreen shrubs, conifers, and hedges to prevent branches from breaking
- Install a cold frame for hardening off young plants
- Use insulation like fleece or burlap sacks to protect plants from frost and chilly winds.
- Firm back plants that are affected by frost
- Enrich the soil with organic compost or well-rotted manure when the ground becomes easier to work with
- Break up compacted soil with a shovel, hoe, or rake
- Clear unwanted debris with a rake, like dead weeds, fallen leaves, bits of plant branches, etc.
- Spread manure around flowering shrubs and bushes
- Repair, repaint, or replace items for outdoor gardening like window boxes, plant pots, water containers, and lawn furniture to prepare for the next growing season.
- Organize your seed packets by starting date and make sure the seeds are still viable
Keep these gardening tips in mind if you’re thinking of doing bits of winter pruning or early seed starting in February. Many plants may lay dormant from December to February, but there is a flurry of activities to complete as you prepare for the next growing season.