Timely Tips for Gardening in February
by Mecklenburg Extension Master Gardener Volunteers
The Yard, a Grand Plan and general landscape advice
Perennials, Annuals & Bulbs
Shrubs and Trees
- Don’t prune Azaleas, Dogwood, Gardenia, Forsythias, Loropetalum, Hydrangea macrophylla and Spirea now, other than to remove dead or damaged wood. Prune after they bloom.
- Do prune: see how to in Shrubs, pruning
- Hydrangea paniculata by 1/3 as needed and cut back Hydrangea arboresens to 10”
- Prune Buddleia, Beautyberry, and Smoke bush to the ground to encourage summer flowers.
- Prune Abelia and Elderberry.
- Prune Caryopteris back to low permanent framework as buds begin to swell.
- Prune hybrid teas, grandiflora and floribunda roses before bud break in late February. On mature plants thin out 1/3 of the old canes to the ground to open up the plants.
- Boxwood can be lightly pruned.
- Prune evergreens for shape and to encourage new growth.
- Prune fig trees.
- Prune any dead, diseased, dying or damaged wood.
- Take stems of Red Twig Dogwood down to the ground to prepare for new spring growth.
- Prune to get a desired shape or form. Severe pruning can be done now, but take no more than 1/3 of the plant’s height.
- Watch for damage to trees and shrubs from ice and heavy winds. Remove any broken branches following proper pruning techniques.
- Check for scale on Camellia and Euonymus and for spider mites on Juniper. Treat as needed following instructions on pesticide labels as directed.
- Transplant trees and shrubs so that they get settled in before the summer heat sets in.
- Start slow-developing flowers like alyssum, coleus, dusty miller, geranium, impatiens, marigold, petunia, phlox, portulaca, salvia and verbena.
- Start herb seeds now in your own indoor mini-greenhouse in a warm, bright location out of direct sunlight. check out Perennial Herb Gardens for what and how to grow herbs in the Carolinas.
- Resume a fertilizer schedule for indoor plants. Water a couple hours before fertilizing to avoid burning roots.
- Once a month, water your acid-loving house plants (gardenia, citrus) using a solution of 1 teaspoon of vinegar to 1 quart of water.
- If your house plants are not growing well, check all five growing factors: light, temperature, nutrients, moisture and humidity, which must be favorable to provide good growth
- Good air circulation is absolutely necessary for cacti and succulents. Avoid placing them in hot, stuffy areas, and be sure the indoor garden is well ventilated, yet not drafty.
Edible Gardens How to grow herbs, vegetables and fruit in the Carolinas
- Plan and purchase vegetable seeds before spring planting season. Check out vegetable suggestions here. Making an organic choice has never been easier.
- Sow seeds of cool season vegetables like kale, chard, spinach and peas after the 15th.
- Instead of buying pricey seed packet combinations, create your own culinary theme garden with seeds for the cuisine you favor. For Oriental cooking, choose snow peas, green onions, Daikon radish, Chinese cabbage, and long, thin eggplant. For French, include haricot vert green beans, Courgette zucchini, mini-carrots, Butterhead lettuce, and the herbs chervil and French tarragon. Indian cuisine needs shell peas, fiery peppers and cumin.