Are you looking forward to your spring garden blooming? There’s still so much to do to get your winter garden prepped for a healthy spring growing season and today I’m sharing a list of Pacific Northwest gardening tips and to-dos for February.
The month of February can be quite challenging for gardeners. First of all, this region is known for the constant rain. Not only that but we usually see some snow. Some years we even see more than just a little.
There’s a reason why many Pacific Northwesterners take vacations to tropical destinations during the month of February.
It may not feel like gardening weather this time of year with the cold weather lingering, but it’s still a great time to get your garden ready for the spring growing season. So bundle up and get started with your gardening to-dos now that February is here.
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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that have worked for me personally.
Table of Contents
- What to Order in February
- Garden Planting for February
- Monthly Maintenance in the February Garden
- Add Color to Your Home in February
What to Order in February
Bare-Root Fruit Trees and Shrubs
If you didn’t do so last month, order perennials like fruit trees and shrubs which should be planted as soon as they arrive, while still dormant. Bare-root trees and shrubs have an easier time adjusting to the native soil in your garden than potted ones.
Buy your garden seeds in February quickly if you haven’t already placed a seed order. Know your last frost date and look at the start dates on the back of the seed packets to make sure you still have time to sow the seeds.
Garden Planting for February
Plant Early-Blooming Flowers
You can still have a beautiful garden in February. Camellias and hellebores can be planted now and will add a much-needed pop of color. Local nurseries should have a great selection of these plants now.
Spring-Flowering Evergreen Shrubs and Vines
Azaleas and rhododendrons are Pacific Northwest favorites and can be planted this month.
This includes fruit trees, shrubs, roses, grapes, and berries. Bare-root and potted roses can be planted in February. Bare-root vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, and rhubarb can also be planted this month.
The best time to plant bulbs in the Pacific Northwest is in the fall, but it is possible to plant spring bulbs in February. Plant spring bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths in well-drained soil.
Begin planting annuals such as primroses, pansies, violas, calendula, and poppies in containers, hanging baskets, and borders in February.
Start seeds indoors for cool-season veggies, such as lettuce, onions, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Transplant cool-season starts such as carrots, arugula, cabbage, kale, lettuce, and onions into the garden. Plant the starts and seeds in amended soil with compost and organic fertilizer.
Sow Cut Flower Seeds
February is a great month to start sowing garden flowers such as sweet peas, snapdragons, and pansy seeds indoors.
As far as edibles, start sowing cool-season crops such as broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Now is also the time to start warm-season crops such as tomatoes and peppers
Monthly Maintenance in the February Garden
Prune Trees and Shrubs
*Don’t prune spring-blooming shrubs until after they flower.
February is a good time to prune deciduous trees and shrubs in the Pacific Northwest. Pruning can help improve the plant’s health, increase flowering, and allows sunlight to reach the plant foliage. It also works to maintain size and shape. This chore should be done when plants are still dormant.
Remove dead, broken, or diseased branches and trim for shape. Open up the structure by removing any crossing branches.
Late February is a good time to prune roses, grapes, and wisteria in the Pacific Northwest as well. I wait until President’s Day to prune mine.
Be sure to use sharp and clean tools while pruning. Remove any dead or injured canes and any suckers (branches growing from below the graft). Keep the three to five strongest canes but cut them back by about a third, making sure each cane has at least one outward-facing bud.
Prune Hydrangea Bushes
You can start pruning your hydrangea plants in the garden as early as February.
Be aware of what type of hydrangea you’re growing in the garden. Hydrangea pruning methods vary depending on the variety. If you prune them the wrong way it will lead to the flowers blooming very late in the season or even a year without any blooms at all.
- Limelight hydrangeas should be pruned in late winter or early spring. Start by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased stems. Shorten the stems of the bush, cutting them back to a side bud. Finally, remove any stems that are growing inward or crossing over other stems.
- Smooth hydrangeas, including mophead and lacecap varieties, should be cut close to the ground to ensure that strong new stems will bloom on new growth in the same season.
- Bigleaf hydrangeas should only be pruned gently, as they bloom on old wood. Remove last year’s flowers, and prune to the first or second set of buds.
- Panicle hydrangeas can be pruned to the size of the space you want and will bloom on the current season’s growth.
Cut Back Ornamental Grasses
Cut back ornamental grasses just before new spring growth begins. New growth will return soon after the weather gets warmer.
Use cutting shears to cut grass to 1 or 2 feet high. Once cut back, add a layer of compost around grasses and water them well to help stimulate growth.
Clean Up Your Perennial Plants
Cut down any remaining perennial stems while not damaging any emerging shoots.
Clean Up Garden Debris
February is one of the best times to clean up any debris in your garden beds to help prevent disease and pests. Remove any dead leaves, weeds, and plant debris from your garden.
Mulch Your Planting Beds
Organic matter is important for any garden. Mulching in February is important for retaining moisture and keeping weeds under control.
Spread mulch around your plants and trees to help protect them from the winter temperatures and the danger of frost.
Spray Fruit Trees
February is a great month to apply horticultural oils to your ornamental plants while they are still dormant for preventive pest management.
Start Treating for Slugs and Snails
Speaking of pest control, February is not too soon to start protecting the garden plants that are already sprouting up this month.
There are several ways to get rid of slugs but I use Sluggo in my garden which is pet friendly. I’ve also been known to go on evening slug hunts which can be quite rewarding.
Keep an Eye on Your Spring Bulbs
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your early spring bulb growth. When the foliage is one inch high, you can gradually start removing the mulch around the plant.
Add Color to Your Home in February
Cut Spring-Flowering Branches to Force Bloom Indoors
Bring color into your home by cutting flowering branches such as forsythia, dogwood, pussy willow, quince, crabapple, and flowering cherry.
It’s a great way to bring in that spring pop of color early and beat the winter blues.
Gardening in the Pacific Northwest in February can be a challenge, but with a little bit of effort, you can make sure your garden is ready for spring. You’ll be so glad you did!
Follow these tips to get your garden in tip-top shape this month! These February reminders of key garden chores and to-dos for the Pacific Northwest should give you a great place to start when preparing for a successful garden this year.
Be sure to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time,
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I’m no where near your zone, Kim, but these posts are always so imformative I feel like I can take the information you provide and apply it to my zone too. The weather is still fairly mild here but goodness it can change on a dime so we’ve been doing lots of clean up and prep. These posts always help me feel right on track and I can’t wait to share on my Friday Faves today. Big hugs, CoCo
This is great. I would love it if you could share this on The Fabulous Friday Link Party. https://www.peacockridgefarm.com/category/fabulous-friday-link-party/
Thanks, Renae! I’ll make a point to get over there on Friday. Thank you.
Jayne @ Chalking Up Success says
This is a great garden reminder, Kim, Thanks. I’ve ordered some seeds but it’s still snowing here so it’s hard for me to get my head around planting just yet. I did manage to get some Hellebores in the ground before this last batch of snow hit us though so that’s something I suppose! Pinned these garden tips!
Thank you, Jayne. I absolutely love hellebores. I just wish they could be planted in the sun. I have so many spots I’d like to put them. I know what you mean about the snow and sowing seeds. It’s not very motivating. Hugs.