University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
TREES AND OTHER FEBRUARY GARDENING TIPS
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension
Ordering fruit trees, propagating
African violets, and getting ready to sow seeds are some of the gardening
activities for this month.
is the time to order bare-root fruit trees, which are shipped “bare root” in
late winter or early spring (for planting time in your area) before they start
to grow. When ordering fruit trees, make
sure they are hardy for your area. Also
check the descriptions to make sure they are the best performing cultivars
(cultivated varieties) for your area.
Many need at least two different varieties for cross pollination, and
even those that don’t may fruit better with cross pollination.
violets are easy to propagate by leaf cuttings. Snip off a leaf, dip the cut
end in a rooting hormone powder, available at garden stores, and stick the
cutting in a pot filled with vermiculite or sand. Cover the pot with a
perforated clear plastic bag and keep the medium moist. In a few weeks you'll start
to see new plants forming, which you can pot up separately.
get off to a clean start with seed starting this year, disinfect any flats and
pots you’ve saved in soapy water with bleach added: one part bleach to nine
parts water. The longer you can soak them the better, then rinse well. Some prefer to use a household disinfect
product instead, as they’re safer to handle.
This is a good project for a basement or garage on a warm day.
alliums, such as leeks and onions, should be started from seed now. They need
10 to 12 weeks of growth indoors before they go in the garden. Sprinkle the
seed on top of seed-starting mix, keep it moist, and as soon as the seedlings
emerge, place the flats under grow lights so they
are several flowers that you can start from seeds the end of February as they
too take 10 to 12 weeks to grow large enough to set out. Some of these are perennials, such as
columbine and bellflower. Early in the
month start wax begonias if you have these seeds, and didn’t sow them last
month. Toward the end of the month is
the time to sow annual statice, wishbone flower, and annual vinca or
seeds that need warmth to germinate, a heat mat underneath the flat can make a
big difference. Once the seedlings are up, move them off the mat and grow them
on at a cooler temperature to encourage strong, stocky growth. If a temperature isn’t given on the seed
packet, aim for an air temperature of 65 to 68 degrees (F) for best
growth. Too warm (especially if
insufficient light) and seedlings will get tall and leggy.
you are preparing to start seeds under grow lights or fluorescent shop lights
indoors, check the tubes for signs of age. Tubes that have been used for two to
three seasons probably have lost much of their intensity even though they look
fine. Dark rings on the ends of the tubes are a sign they need to be
replaced. Look for energy-efficient
tubes, and ones that have a daylight or natural spectrum of light
wavelengths. Otherwise, you can
alternate warm white and cool white tubes.
Keep lights about 6 inches above seedlings as they grow.
tips include checking stored bulbs such as dahlias, watching for upcoming
flower shows (such as at perrysperennials.info/events), and buying cut flowers
or a pot of spring bulbs.