February in the Garden

By Lori Murray, Cameron County Master Gardener

February’s flower is the violet. It’s associated with spiritual wisdom, humility, and faithfulness. This month’s flowers also include the primrose which has connotations of courage and youthfulness.

This is the ideal time to complete projects you have put off. There is little of major consequence to plant, but lots to get ready for. (Examples: Build a raised bed, set up rainwater harvesting, order seeds and bulbs and seedlings, research creating a backyard habitat, amend soil in certain locations, order a yard of soil to spread in low places, generally get ready for the upcoming business of planting and growing that produces a beautiful yard)

POINSETTIAS Continue January care. It will be April before any other action needs to be taken.

PLANT (but be prepared to protect if the weather turns very cold)*Amaryllis, caladium, dahlia, coleus, geranium, daylilies, gladiolas, hibiscus, lily, marigold, petunia, phlox, portulaca, roses, snapdragon, trees(including citrus) Plant Bluebonnet seedlings around Valentine’s Day.

* Beets, cantaloupe, cucumbers, okra, peppers, potatoes, radishes, tomatoes

*Some tender vegetables and ornamentals can be started in flats and containers for early season production

PRUNE Roses, especially if there is any dead wood. (Associate this with Valentine’s Day.) Prune chrysanthemums because they are fall bloomers. You will thin and separate chrysanthemums next month.

Just before spring growth begins, prune perennial flowers, trees, shrubs, roses, citrus, and other trees, but take care and do not prune spring flowering trees and shrubs such as Texas Mountain Laurel, Indian Hawthorne, viburnum, and climbing roses. Peach trees can be pruned enough so you can harvest fruit while standing on the ground or on a short ladder. You may also want to thin out some of the limbs.

FERTILIZE Begin fertilizing existing plants mid-month with 16-20-0. Fertilize fruit trees that were not fertilized in January.

TRANSPLANT those plants that need to be moved at this time.

HARVEST Continue harvesting winter green crops and root crops and citrus.

PEST Spray and dust as needed; be alert to fungus problems

WEATHER PROTECTION Keep plants in good conditioning by watering. Keep an eye on the forecasts and be ready to protect as necessary if the weather turns cold.

POSSIBLE BLOOM Azaleas, camellias, geranium, gerbera daisies, hibiscus, nasturtium, pansies, pinks, poinsettia, snapdragons, sweetpeas, alyssum, and many other cool weather bloomers.

MULCH Check the condition of the mulch in your beds. It protects against extreme temperatures and conserves moisture. Replace it if it has worn away.