February: Gardening Activities

Our Average Daily High Temp for February is 35°F

Miscanthus 'Morning Light' Provide Winter InterestFebruary is an exciting month! Before it’s finished, you may begin seeing the earliest signs of spring. For sure, winter still has some tricks up its sleeve, but Mother Nature reminds us not to give up hope and spring will be here soon.

Early bloomers, such as Lenten Rose (Helleborus sp.), are sprouting new growth and you may see some blooms, even with snow on the ground. Trim away any winter-damaged hellebore foliage, which will show off the fresh new leaves and those welcome and wonderful blooms.

Spring-blooming shrubs can be forced into flowering during February. Pussy willows, forsythia, and flowering quince are all poised for bloom when outside temperatures warm, but cut some branches and bring them inside. Smash the cut ends of the branches to allow for greater water uptake and put them in a vase of warm water. In a couple of weeks or less, you’ll have a nice bouquet of blooms. Continue to care for them, changing the water every few days, and you may find that they’ve produced roots. This means you can plant them in soil a little later and have more plants!

Now is a good time to take stock of your garden tools. If you didn’t clean them before putting them away for the winter, do so now. This way, they’ll be ready to go when you need them. If you’re missing a part of your standard set, such as a good set of hand pruners or a transplanting trowel, buy them now so you’ll be prepared.

Ornamental grasses have provided beautiful structural interest throughout the winter and should not be trimmed in the fall, but not just for that reason. As with many perennials, allowing the dead top growth to remain throughout winter many times provides additional protection for the roots from cold temperatures. But as winter begins to transition into spring, it’s time to prune those grasses. Waiting until the new growth appears makes it a much more difficult task, so cut them back by the end of the month.

Deciduous trees and shrubs should be transplanted before new spring growth begins, so as soon as the ground softens enough, move them to their new location.

Perennials can be divided and transplanted as well. If you took advantage of late fall bulb sales and didn’t get them into the ground before it froze, hopefully you’ve kept them in a cold location over the winter. As soon as the ground thaws a bit, you should plant them so you’ll be able to enjoy their blooms in the coming months. These may be delayed a bit from normal blooming times, but will adjust by the time next year comes around.


  • Trim damaged foliage from Hellebores
  • Cut some spring-flowering branches and bring inside for forcing
  • Take inventory of your tools, clean and oil as needed, and purchase those essential ones you may be missing
  • Cut back ornamental grasses
  • Transplant deciduous trees and shrubs before new spring growth begins and divide and transplant perennials
  • Plant bulbs you may not have had time to get in the ground late last fall

Watering Info:

  • Plants need very little water during the month of February since they are not actively growing.
  • The melting snow and possible rains take care of watering here in the Midwest.

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