February – shortest month of the year. There is not very much maintenance or tasks that must be done in the Southwest garden in February, just enjoy the season and any flowers you have. Tidy up some things – especially in Low or Middle Desert. Upper Elevations – you get to chill (pardon the pun).
Let’s Talk About the Weather
Please make note of the Last Frost post. Depending on where you are in our Southwest – it will guide you as to garden tasks that must be done.
Pruning & Maintenance for February
No need to prune anything except roses and young deciduous fruit trees you are training. Prune deciduous fruit trees when they are dormant in all elevations. Do NOT prune citrus until March. Yes, even in Low Desert.
In general though – don’t prune anything. Leave frost nipped branches on lantana and bougainvillea until spring. This protects from further frost damage. Seriously – No need to prune anything! Leave frost nipped branches in place until after that last frost date for your area. These dead ugly leaves will help protect the plant from further damage.
Water in the desert is a winter task that must be done, especially in Low and Middle Desert elevations. Give everything in your garden at least one good deep soak sometime this month, maybe even more it it is windy in your corner of the world. Drought stresses plants and can cause them to succumb to disease more easily as the temperatures heat up.
Fertilizer for February
Deciduous plants will start actively growing as the soils warm. The roots may be working even if you don’t see shoots. Some of these need fertilizer late in February. Avoid fertilizer on plants with tropical genes! This includes plants like cacti, citrus, yellow bells, lantana, citrus, loquat, and bougainvillea. If plants put on new growth too early in the year, a late frost can harm them.
Fertilizer After Mid-February
Fertilize established deciduous fruit trees, like plum, apricot, almond. Post about almonds coming very soon – in time for National Almond Day, February 16.
Fertilize established roses and grapes.
Optionally fertilize spring flowering bulbs (narcissus, daffodil) with a bloom fertilizer.
February Garden Tasks
Catch and remove winter weeds as they germinate. Some weeds can be eaten! That’s over on Savor the Southwest.
Plant annual color plants like pansies or carnations from the nursery.
Prune your roses.
Plant native perennial wildflowers like desert marigold, globe mallow, penstemon, evening primrose, from seedlings from the nursery. Both annual and perennial wildflower seeds should have been planted last autumn.
Fertilize your winter rye lawn once monthly.
My YouTube video on the lovely Gooddings verbena.
Plant short day onions and garlic.
Not to late to plant some of those sale flowering bulbs.
Water wildflower beds if you don’t get rain.
Plant new grape vines.
Start the spring garden vegetable seeds indoors (tomatoes, squash, sunflowers) 8 weeks before last frost in your area.
Harvest and enjoy your winter herbs like cilantro and dill.
Harvest and enjoy your winter vegetables like chard.
There is not very much maintenance to do in the garden this month, just enjoy the season and the flowers you have, and some planting you can do.
Let me be Your Southwest Garden Guide
I was told to more actively sell my “products.” I responded, “Start blowing my own horn more?! I’m a gardener and a writer, not a sales agent!” but here goes:
As well as writing about plants, I offer classes online and in person. Then there is the fun and informative Membership site the Gardening With Soule Membership Club. There are many wonderful features to the Club site – in-depth detail on topics (more than mere blog posts) – specific plant profiles – care videos – monthly live Q & A sessions, and much more.
Why do I do all this writing and teaching?
So that you will succeed with your gardening goals, and enjoy gardening here as much as I do!
Need Some Garden Help?
May I recommend my (out of print) book? The Month By Month Guide offers tips for your landscape (yes even lawns and roses) in every month of the year. I have a few copies left and am offering them to you – my loyal readers. Price is what you would pay on Amazon – only when you buy from me you get a signed copy!
From the review:
“A great reference book is key to successful gardening in the region where you live. Arizona, Nevada & New Mexico Month-by-Month Gardening takes the guesswork out of gardening for anyone residing in the Southwest. With this book, you’ll know what to do each month to enjoy a thriving garden all year, from January to December. Chronologically organized, this guide is full of critical gardening when-to and how-to advice, along with illustrated step-by-step instructions.
The book’s author is Jacqueline Soule, a Tucson-based gardening expert. She knows this arid region inside and out, and she’s written several articles and books packed with her gardening advice. Arizona, Nevada & New Mexico Month-by-Month Gardening showcases Soule’s expertise in one easy-to-read guide.”
Profits from the sale of this book go to the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute.
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