We have had some gorgeous weather recently and it feels like spring already! The earth is beginning to warm up and the daylight hours are getting longer. Spring might just be here already!
Spring flowering shrubs are in full bloom all over town (see article left). In the garden Hardenbergia and Winter flowering Jasmine vines are in full bloom, the roses and clematis are beginning to leaf out, the bluebells and daffodils are pushing their green tips through the earth, and violets are blooming.
February is the time to start thinking about planting and sowing seeds. We are still in our rainy season and we may get some rain in February or March but anything you plant or sow now will benefit from the extra water.
With the rain will come slugs and snails. They can wipe out a whole bed of seedlings overnight. Control these pests by hand-picking at dusk or dawn, or treat with an organic slug bait such as Sluggo.
If you want to get serious with your slug and snail population "That's It!" is the way to go. Formulated for flower beds it is the strongest slug bait on the market. NOT to be used near edible plants.
If you want to transplant or plant shrubs, perennials, grasses, fruit trees, citrus trees, herbs, or roses, February is the month to do it! Get these plants into the ground while the weather is still nice and cool. They will experience very little stress and have time to establish themselves before the heat of summer.
We have a large stock of fruit trees from dwarf to full size, including citrus, peach, apple and plum - and they are currently in bloom!
Deciduous plants and trees, roses, fruit trees and any other disease prone plants need spraying with dormant oil spray this month for fungal diseases before their flowers emerge. Peach trees must be sprayed for peach leaf curl, peach leaf blight and canker BEFORE the buds break.
Feed your lawns, and patch bare spaces with seed amendments, Topper or, if you are old school, Steer Manure.
You can still plant winter crops: lettuces, broccoli, greens, sugar snaps, and cabbage, and you can also still plant cool season annuals such as pansies, cyclamen, primroses, sweet peas and snapdragons. JUST ARRIVED: leafy vegetables, strawberries and lettuces in 6-packs... tomato, pepper and artichoke plants in 4" pots.
It is time to plant Natives. They need a couple of cool months to get a good root system going before the weather heats up.
Get your herb garden started! JUST ARRIVED: a comprehensive range of new season herbs in 4" pots - all can be planted or potted up now.
Finish clearing up old leaves and debris from under roses and deciduous trees. This debris is a breeding ground for insect lava and fungal diseases and should not be left on the ground.Once you have cleaned it all up, spread a generous layer of mulch to prevent weeds, and feed the soil.
Plant azaleas and camellias now while they are in bloom amending the soil with acid planter mix. Pruning winter flowering vines and shrubs like Hardenbergia and some Ceanothus after they bloom gives them a nice clean look, and a head start on next year.
If plants such as liriope (photo above) and other blade-leaf plants look ragged and unsightly, you can shear them to the ground now before new growth appears and wait for their new leaves to take over.
Cut your cannas and gingers down to the ground as soon as there is no chance of frost.
Time to give your fuchsias and begonias a hard pruning. Fuchsias bloom only on new wood and need to be cut back annually to produce new growth. Cut back hanging basket plants to container’s edge or 4 inches above the soil. Cut back shrub fuchsias by half or more. Prune begonias to keep them from getting leggy. Cut cane and angel-wing begonias to pot level or three or four nodes from the ground. Prune wax begonias 1-2 inches from the ground.
Many succulents and cacti bloom at this time of the year. February is a good time to repot them if they have out grown their pots – just make sure that they have finished blooming.
Don’t forget your houseplants… they could use a little bit of fertilizer now that it’s starting to warm up. We recommend Grow More Palm food, which is great for indoor foliage plants. Check to see if they are root bound and need re-potting. If so re-pot them into a pot that is only slightly bigger than the one it is in now. Re-potting into a much larger pot might result in the soil volume retaining too much water and the plant may die from root rot. If your pot IS much larger, use Cactus mix instead of potting soil to ensure proper drainage.
Feed your soil with Dr. Earth organic fertilizers or Gro-Power all purpose fertilizer and soil conditioner and the soil will feed your plants.
Working with nature by using organic is good for us and good for the plants. Incorporating worm castings into your soil is a great first step to going organic.