Lots of people think that there’s not much to do in your garden in February, but it’s actually a time to start getting your garden ready for spring. There are plenty of things to keep you busy in your garden and greenhouse in February – read our guide to find out some of the jobs you can do to prepare your plants for the warmer weather.
February gardening tasks for your fruit and veg
1. Winter-prune your fruit trees
You might have started winter-pruning your apple and pear trees in January, but now it’s time to finish them off and also prune any soft fruits like raspberries and blackcurrants. For trees, you’ll need some long-handled loppers, a pruning saw and some secateurs. Start by removing dead, damaged or diseased branches and cut them back to a healthy bud on a stem. Thin out strong regrowth, and look for shoots towards the end of the main branches. Cut them back to half to two-thirds of their length, just above a bud.
For soft fruits, use secateurs to cut all fruited stems down to the base – but don’t cut any new, green stems at first. Once you’ve gone through all the old stems, go back and thin out any new stems that are weak or overcrowded – you want about 20cm between each stem. Then, tie them into wire supports.
2. Force your rhubarb plants
You can force your rhubarb plants to produce an early crop by covering them with a bucket or pot to stop light reaching them. Only do this with established rhubarb plants. After around eight weeks, you should get pale stems that are around 20-30cm long to use in cooking.
3. Prepare your veg beds
Give your vegetables the best chance by ensuring that your beds have enough moisture, warm air, nutrients and good drainage. Weed them thoroughly, making sure you get rid of any large stones, then add a thick layer of compost with lots of organic matter. We recommend PlantGrow’s peat-free compost, of course!
Other fruit and veg jobs
● Plan your crops for the year, ensuring you grow each crop in a different bed to last year
● Feed fruit trees and bushes with fertiliser around the base to promote fruiting
● Chit first-early potato tubers
● If the ground isn’t frozen, plant bare-root fruit bushes and trees
● Look for overwintering snails hiding in corners to reduce populations in your garden
● Encourage an early crop of strawberries by putting fleece over them
● If frost is forecast, protect the blossom of fruits like nectarines, apricots and peaches with fleece
● Check old seed packets by sowing some seeds on kitchen paper to see if they germinate
● Put netting over kale, cabbages or Brussels sprouts to protect them from birds
● Feed spring cabbages with high-nitrogen feed
● Order seed potatoes, onions and garlic bulbs ready to plant in spring
February tasks for your flowers
1. Prune climbing roses
Climbing roses are still dormant at this time, so continue pruning them. You can also plant bare-root roses and other shrubs, hedges and ornamental trees if the ground isn’t frozen.
2. Start new colonies of snowdrops
If you divide large clumps of snowdrops and winter aconites after flowering and replant them, you’ll encourage new colonies to grow. You can also buy snowdrop and hellebore plants in flower, to choose the prettiest blooms. Just make sure that you remove any hellebore leaves with black blotches to limit the spread of leaf spot disease.
3. Check for rot
There is so much moisture around at this time of year that it’s not uncommon for stored bulbs and tubers to grow mould. Check for brown rot on the base of bulbs and throw them out if it’s present. If you spot blue mould, you can cut it away with a clean, sharp knife then dust the cut with fungicide.
More February flower jobs
● Regularly deadhead winter pansies and remove leaves that have mildew
● Cut down ornamental grasses before fresh shoots appear
● Clear away soggy perennial stems and compost them
● Check that small alpines don’t get smothered by fallen leaves and debris
● Divide clumps of herbaceous grasses and perennials to get new plants
● Prune the stems of late summer-flowering clematis to buds about 30cm from the base
● Pot up containers of primroses, forget-me-nots and wallflowers
● Prune winter-blooming shrubs once they’ve stopped flowering
● Cut back wisteria side shoots to encourage flowering in spring
● Sprinkle fertiliser around the base of roses and shrubs
February greenhouse jobs
1. Sow sweet peas
Sweet peas are ideal for sowing at this time as long as you can keep them frost-free. Sow the seeds in deep pots and make sure they stay in your greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill. If you sowed sweet peas in autumn, pot on and pinch out these plants to encourage the formation of side shoots.
2. Clean and tidy your greenhouse
There’s still not much light around, so it’s important to ensure that your plants can make the most of it. Clean the inside and outside of your greenhouse panes with glass cleaner and a sponge to get rid of dirt.
If you’ve got any broken pots or old compost laying around, make sure you remove it as it could be hiding snails and other bugs that you don’t want near your newly-growing plants.
3. Cut back fuchsias
If you’ve overwintered fuchsias in your greenhouse, cut back old stems and top up the pots with fresh compost. Increase watering to encourage growth.
Other greenhouse tasks
● Sow cosmos, lobelia, dahlias and nasturtiums
● Sow tomatoes and chillies in a heated propagator
● Install a thermostatically-controlled electric fan heater to keep the greenhouse frost-free
● Monitor your greenhouse temperatures with a thermometer to make sure your heaters are working
● Plant summer bulb in pots
● Plant dahlia tubers in trays
● Remove yellowing or faded leaves from plants to prevent diseases
● Sow winter salads to harvest in a few weeks
● Check plants in your greenhouse for aphids and other pests
● Sow hardy annuals in trays
● Ventilate your greenhouse to prevent humidity
February garden maintenance tasks
● Cut back ivy and other climbers if they are outgrowing their space to prevent birds from nesting
● Clean and sharpen your tools
● Give your lawn mower a basic service so it’s ready for use in the spring
● Top up bird baths with fresh water every day and melt ice with warm water
● Remove roots of weeds from borders, whether by hand or by digging over
● Keep your guttering clear so rainwater fills up your water butts
● Clean out your bird feeders
● Ensure fleece is still in place around your plants
● If it snows, knock it off shrubs and hedges to stop branches from snapping under the weight
Got more tips for gardening in February? Let us know on Instagram @plantgrowuk!