It may not feel like gardening weather right now, but bundle up and get outdoors because there’s a lot to do this month. Here are some February gardening tips and things to work on in your Pacific Northwest garden.
The month of February can be quite challenging for gardeners. This tends to be the month where we see some snow, some years even more than a little.
And did I happen to mention that it rains ALL THE TIME? There’s a reason why many Pacific Northwesterners take vacations to tropical destinations in the month of February.
Here are some February gardening tips and things to do to get your garden ready for the next growing season.
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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 quickly if you haven’t already done so. Know your last frost date and look at the start dates on the back of the packet to make sure you still have time to sow the seeds.
Garden Planting for February
Camellias, hellebores, and primroses can be planted now and will add a much-needed pop of color.
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.
Begin planting annuals such as pansies, calendula, and poppies in containers, hanging baskets, and borders this month.
Start seeds indoors for cool-season veggies, such as lettuce, onions, broccoli, and Brussel 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 Flower Seeds
Monthly Maintenance in the February Garden
Prune Roses, Grapes and Wisteria
Late February is a good time to prune roses, grapes, and wisteria in the Pacific Northwest. I wait until President’s Day to prune mine.
Be sure to use 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.
Be aware of what type of hydrangea you’re growing in the garden. Hydrangea pruning methods vary greatly depending on the species. Incorrect pruning can lead to the flowers blooming very late in the season or even a year without any blooms at all.
- Smooth hydrangeas 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.
Prune Trees and Shrubs
Pruning deciduous trees and shrubs promote plant health, maintains size and shape, and allows sunlight to reach plant foliage and should be down while they are still dormant.
Remove dead, broken, or diseased branches and trim for shape. Open up the structure by removing any crossing branches.
*Don’t prune spring-blooming shrubs until after they flower.
Clean Up Your Perennials
Cut down any remaining perennial stems while not damaging any emerging shoots.
Spray Fruit Trees
You can help protect ornamental plants from pests and disease, while they are still dormant, by applying horticultural oil/ dormant spray this month.
Start Treating for Slugs and Snails
I use Sluggo in my garden which is pet friendly.
Keep an eye on your early spring bulbs growth. When the foliage is 1 inch high, you can gradually start removing the mulch around the plant.
Add Color to Your Home in February
Cut Flowering Branches
Bring color into your home by cutting flowering branches such as forsythia, dogwood, pussy willow, quince, crabapple, and flowering cherry.
I hope this gives you an idea of some gardening to-dos that need to be done here in the Pacific Northwest for the month of February.
Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time,