What to do in your garden in February

Ceramic Bird Feeder from Suttons

Keep your garden ticking over through February using our handy checklist. Get started in the potting shed by making early sowings of flower seeds, and jump start the vegetable patch by sowing vegetable seeds on a sunny windowsill or in the propagator.

As winter draws to a close, there’s still time to request a free catalogue. Browse through our large collections of vegetable and flower seeds to find something new with which to fill your beds, borders and pots this coming spring.

Flowering plants in February

  • Prune wisteria this month to tidy your plants up before spring growth starts. Cut back the leafless whippy growth to leave two or three buds on the stem.
  • Divide snowdrops this month. Place the new plantlets in beds, containers, or out ‘in the green’.
  • Use a propagator, a heated greenhouse, or a windowsill (at a temperature of approximately 21ºC (70ºF)) to sow summer bedding plants like geranium, petunia, impatiens (busy lizzie) and nicotiana. Sow thinly and don’t over-water to avoid damping off.
  • Take cuttings from your overwintered chrysanthemums now.
  • Remember to regularly deadhead pansies and other winter bedding plants to prevent seed setting and prolong flowering.
  • Relocate overgrown shrubs during this month.
  • Prune back hardy summer-flowering clematis to allow rapid new growth during spring for new flowers later in the year.
  • Soak anemone bulbs overnight to hydrate them before planting in pots indoors. Alternatively, wait until March or early April plant your anemones outside.
  • Maintain a minimum temperature of 4ºC (40ºF) for overwintering tender perennials like fuchsias and pelargoniums. Check over plants at least once a week, removing any dead leaves or flowers. Trim any diseased material back to healthy growth. Keep compost almost dry and ensure good air circulation – a fan may help here.

Vegetables in February

  • Start chitting first early potatoes, by laying them out in trays until they show signs of sprouting. Keep them in a cool, light, frost-free place ready for planting towards the end of the month.
  • Make indoor sowings of seeds like cabbage (summer/autumn maturing), celery, herbs, sweet and spicy peppers, tomato, leek, onion and shallots this month.
  • Sow early varieties of carrot like ‘Amsterdam Forcing’ outdoors under cloches or in a cold frame. You can also sow broad bean ‘The Sutton’ and parsnip seeds outdoors this month.
  • Order asparagus crowns now for late March/early April delivery. Prepare the ground for planting your asparagus crowns in advance, ensuring the soil is well-dug and free of weeds.

Fruit in February

  • Plant out soft fruit plants this month.
  • Prune gooseberry side shoots back to two or three buds.
  • Cut your autumn-fruiting raspberry canes down to the ground this month, avoiding any new shoots that are just starting to emerge.
  • Cover your rhubarb crowns now with forcing covers to encourage early tender growth. Lift and separate any congested rhubarb clumps now too.
  • Prune outdoor grape vines now to reduce last year’s fruit bearing shoots and encourage new growth.
  • Prune established apple and pear trees before spring growth commences next month. Remove any dead or diseased growth.
  • Check your stored fruit and remove any that show signs of rot or deterioration.

Pots, baskets and containers in February

  • Pot up begonia tubers towards the end of the month in compost at a temperature of 15ºC (60ºF). Previously grown tubers with any dead foliage still remaining should be cleaned off and then the tubers repotted in fresh compost.
  • Plant lily bulbs in pots, five bulbs of the same variety to a 25cm (10″) pot. Choose a heavy bottomed container to support the tall flower spikes.
  • As amaryllis come into full bloom, make sure to keep watering once or twice a week. Stand the pot in a saucer of water, allowing the plant to take as much as required. Amaryllis are best kept on a windowsill as they prefer warm and light conditions.
Lily Bulbs - Pretty Woman from Suttons

Image: Lily Bulbs – Pretty Woman/Copyright: Visions BV, Netherlands

February lawn care

  • Keep an eye out for weeds before you sow your lawn seed, and remove them from existing lawns as milder weather conditions arrive.
  • On existing lawns, brush off any unsightly worm casts with a stiff broom, besom broom, or rake.
  • If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to get your lawn mower serviced.

General February garden jobs

  • Divide clump forming perennials in milder weather, and plant the healthy new plants into freshly dug soil. Dig up and reposition any shrubs or perennials that have become overcrowded too.
  • Apply a fairly thick mulch, 5-7.5cm (2-3″), around perennial plants, trees, shrubs, and fruit. Avoid covering any dwarf bulbs.
  • Cover the soil of your beds with compost or well rotted manure, as spring approaches fork this into the surface. Two weeks prior to sowing cover the soil with a single layer of polythene or fleece to warm it up.
  • Keep a lookout for pests such as whitefly. Spray any infested plants or cuttings.
  • Clean out pots and seed trays with disinfectant and rinse with clear, warm water for use later in the spring. Use a brush to remove any stubborn dirt and old compost.
  • Keep gutters on greenhouses clear of leaves and debris, and the glass clear for maximum light levels.
  • Knock any snowfall off trees and shrubs to prevent branches breaking from the weight.
  • Check that tree ties aren’t cutting into the bark and replace any worn or damaged ties. Watch out for damage after storms or high winds.
  • Wild birds will appreciate supplementary food this month, just remember to place feeders out of reach of any neighbourhood cats.

Frozen pond in garden width=

February pond care

  • Use a floating pond heater to prevent ice from forming over the entire surface of your pond, or break the ice yourself to allow birds to drink.
Lead image: Ceramic bird feeder from Suttons
More Monthly Gardening Tasks by Month