University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
GERANIUMS AND OTHER FEBRUARY GARDENING TIPS
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension
annual geraniums, starting the first seeds indoors, and forcing
bloom are some of the gardening activities for this month.
that you brought indoors this winter are probably getting tall and
leggy by now
if they're not growing under artificial grow lights. Prune back
and take 4- to 6-inch cuttings to root. Strip off the bottom set of
the cut ends in rooting hormone powder, and stick the cuttings in a
with moistened potting soil. Keep the soil moist, and they should
root in a few
is a good time to take inventory of your supplies for seed starting.
quantities of potting soil, containers, labels, etc. Wash any used
containers, then sterilize with
a 10 percent bleach solution (one part bleach to ten parts water) or
corrosive solution of a household disinfectant such as Lysol (one
part to 2
alliums, such as leeks and onions, should be started from seed now.
tiny wax begonias should be started this month too, as well as
pansies. Sprinkle the seed on top of seed-starting
mix, keep it moist, and as soon as the seedlings emerge, place the
grow lights. Snip the ends of the alliums periodically to keep them
about 3 to
4 inches tall and help them grow strong. A heating mat (inexpensive
ones can be
found online and in complete garden stores) under seed flats will
sowing medium warm, helping germination.
the gift of fragrance this Valentine's Day with freesias, tuberoses,
lilies, hyacinths, or any other flowers that will perfume the air.
Just make sure others in your home aren’t
allergic to their smells. Or make a fragrant
spring gift basket with small pots of hyacinths and other bulbs set
in a larger
basket, topped with Spanish moss. If not sure what a person may
on a gift certificate for fresh flower bouquets from a local
is a good time to repot any houseplants with roots coming out of the
holes. Choose a pot one size larger than the current pot, remove the
trim any errant roots, and repot using fresh potting soil that you
can buy in
bags at most garden outlets.
soon as the buds start to swell, it's time to begin pruning apple,
cherry trees. Don’t prune when bitterly cold to avoid possible
and for your own comfort. Japanese plum trees and peaches (if hardy
area) should be pruned to an open center, while apples, cherries,
other plums grow best pruned to a modified leader (center is more
tree is more upright). Remove any dead, diseased, or broken
branches, as well
as crossing branches and twiggy, nonproductive growth.
you're pruning flowering trees, such as crabapple and plum, cut some
sections of pruned limbs with flower buds on them (flower buds are
leaf buds). The best way to hydrate the stems is to lay them down in
of water overnight. If anyone in your house objects, just recut the
place them in a bucket of warm water, and keep them in a cool place
for a week
or so. When flowers begin to open, bring them into your living room
house will smell of spring even though the snow may still be flying
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).