Jobs for February

FLOWER GARDEN

  • Early and mid-season clematis such as ‘Nellie Moser’ don’t need routine pruning; just remove dead wood, tangled growth and untidy tips
  • Stop Mahonia Japonica from getting leggy by cutting off the rosettes of leaves after flowering
  • This is the last month for planting bare-rooted plants
  • Brush away worm casts from lawns
  • Remove suckers from roses, lilacs and other grafted shrubs. If possible, pull rather than cut
  • Prune late-summer-flowering shrubs, including buddleia
  • Cheer a dull corner up by buying pots of growing bulbs from a garden centre
  • Feed emerging snowdrop and daffodil bulbs with a granular fertilizer
  • Cut back stems of herbaceous plants that you left for winter effect, such as fennel, sea hollies and eryngium

KITCHEN GARDEN

  • Plant shallots and onion sets in the open. If the ground’s too wet, plant them in pots
  • Complete your digging
  • Rake and firm seed beds for next month
  • Prune autumn-cropping raspberries down to ground level

CONTAINER GARDENING

  • Grow on some young of spider plant (chlorophytum)
  • Protect winter container plants with fleece in frosty weather

GREENHOUSE

  • Sow bedding plants in a propagator if you can grow on at about about 7C afterwards
  • Sow tomatoes for a greenhouse crop
  • Sow vegetables and herbs such as parsley for early crops
  • Cut back overwintered pelargoniums, repot and start into growth
  • Start feeding amaryllis (hippeastrum) after flowering, to build up for next year
  • Sow globe artichokes for flowers this year

NOW’S THE TIME

  • START TENDER PLANTS
    Bring out half-hardy corms and tubers from storage or buy new dahlias, chocolate cosmos, cannas and tropaeolum ‘Ken AsIet.
    Plant in pots or boxes In a warm greenhouse.
  • GRAB FREE PLANTS
    Look for self-sown seedlings of perennials and biennials, such as aquilegia, foxglove, verbascum and hellebore.
    Transplant into groups, or grow on in pots.
  • KEEP AZALEA GOING
    Repot the Christmas houseplant Azalea indica in ericaceous compost and keep it cool.
    Put it out in May to get good flower buds.
    It can come back inside in autumn.
  • PRUNE EXOTIC SHRUBS
    Cut back conservatory shrubs and climbers such as bougainvillea, passion flower and plumbago.
    Give a good soak to bring them into growth.
  • PRUNE WISTERIA
    To maximise the flowers, shorten the shoots you pruned in July to 2-3 buds, about 8-10 cm in length.
    Reduce to 15cm any long shoots that developed after summer pruning.
  • PRUNE CLEMATIS
    February is a good time to hard-prune late-flowering clematis: vltlcellas, tanguticas and hybrids such as C. ‘Jackmannhi’ and ‘Ernest PIarkham
    Cut them back to about 30-45cm.
    Apply a slow-acting fertiliser, and mulch with organic matter.
    Specialist clematis catalogues list pruning regimes for most varieties — keep one handy for reference.