Garden Essentials logo bee

Your online garden centre

February gardening tips

A garden in autumn colours

February’s gardening essentials

  1. Tip 1 If it is particularly cold, provide protection to early flowering or tender plants by covering them with fleece or fabric. Remove the covering as soon as the weather improves.
  2. Tip 2 Prune your summer flowering shrubs now but be aware that spring bloomers produced their buds last autumn, and pruning them now will result in the loss of flowers. Pruning will improve the shape of the plant, but will also open up the centre of the plant an provide good air circulation and sun exposure. Always start your pruning by removing all dead, decayed or broken branches.
  3. Tip 3 Trim back any branches that were damaged by the ravages of winter.
  4. Tip 4 Deciduous vines such as honeysuckle should be pruned and shaped.
  5. Tip 5 Check your stored plants such as fuschias and geraniums, and if they are shrivelled water them lightly.
  6. Tip 6 Thin last year's tangled growth on your climbing roses, fruit trees and vegetables.
  7. Tip 7 Water all bulbs during times of growth and especially during foliage and bloom development. Irrigate summer-flowering bulbs during dry weather but remember to keep water off foliage and blooms.
  8. Tip 8 Rhubarb, horseradish, asparagus and artichokes can be planted this month.
  9. Tip 9 Strawberries can be planted as soon as they become available.
  10. Tip 10 Cane fruits such as raspberries and blackberries, with the exception of ever bearers should have all the canes that produced fruit last year removed.
  11. Tip 11 Weather permitting the vegetable garden should get its first tilling.
  12. Tip 12 Continue feeding the birds, you'll want them around to help with insect control when the weather warms again.
  13. Tip 13 Prepare your garden tools and check your lawnmower.
  14. Tip 14 In the event of snow, make sure you brush it off branches and shrubs.

Week-by-week gardening tips for February

Week 1

  • Use a soil thermometer to test the soil temperature. It is safest not to sow anything outdoors until the soil temperature has remained above 7°C (45°F) for a week.
  • Test the soil in your garden to see if the pH needs adjusting or if it is deficient in any major nutrients.
  • Put cloches in position to warm the soil for early sowings of vegetables next month.
  • Sow under glass slow maturing bedding plants such as African marigolds, petunias, lobelia and antirrhinums.

Week 2

  • Keep the garden free from fallen leaves and other debris over the winter both to make it look more attractive and to deprive over wintering pests of places to hide.
  • Sow under glass quick-growing perennials to flower this year.
  • Begin to feed plants in established borders using a controlled-release slow-acting fertiliser: try not to get fertiliser on the new foliage.
  • Spray nectarine and peach trees to prevent or eradicate peach leaf curl disease.

Week 3

  • Bring strawberries in containers into the greenhouse for early fruit.
  • Prune half-hardy fuchsias being kept under cover as soon as the pink eyes (embryo shoots) appear.
  • Sow seeds of tomatoes for growing in a cool greenhouse.
  • Prick out or pot up pelargonium seedlings that have grown from seeds sown last month.
  • Apply a top dressing of gravel or chippings around plants in the rock garden to suppress weeds and ensure free drainage.

Week 4

  • Sow sweet peas outdoors in their flowering position except in very cold areas.
  • Clear weeds from around the base of established hedges and cut back overgrown deciduous hedges.
  • Prune all shrubs, such as winter-flowering viburnums, which have just finished flowering in necessary.
  • Clean and oil the blades of cutting tools. Check electrical equipment before the busy spring season.