February Gardening To-Do List

The weather outside is frightful, but garden maintenance and planning can keep you busy. See what HGTV.com contributors are up to in their gardens.

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May 19, 2016

Photo By: Costa Farms

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds

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Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

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Photo By: Photo by Dee Nash

Photo By: Image courtesy of Lynn Coulter

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Photo By: Photo by Julie Martens Forney

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Photo By: Chip Wade

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Photo By: Planting plan by Susan L. Hamilton. Artwork by William Shealy

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: Terra Organics/National Garden Bureau

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Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Fertilizing Christmas Plants

I’m fertilizing my Christmas plants — a poinsettia and a couple of Christmas cactus — with half-strength liquid fertilizer and keeping them near bright windows. —Lynn Coulter/Atlanta, Georgia

Planting Sweet Pea

Toward the end of the month, I’ll plant sweet pea seeds. I’m eager to try a variety called ‘Windowbox Heirloom Cupid’ that’s recommended for window boxes and containers.—Lynn Coulter

Spring Cleaning for Bluebirds

I’ll clean out my bluebird boxes and secure any screws that are getting loose. Squirrels have been gnawing at the entrance hole of one box, so I’ll buy a metal ring to put around the hole to deter them. —Lynn Coulter

Snowy Massachusetts Garden

I will be picking up large branches that have fallen in the yard from winter storms.— Melissa Caughey/Osterville, Massachusetts

Watch for Bees

On warmer days, I will watch the beehives for bees taking cleansing flights.—Melissa Caughey

Seed Set-Up

I will place orders for seeds.—Melissa Caughey

Plan Research Trips

I will begin to plan my visit to the local garden/flower shows.—Melissa Caughey

Tend my Indoor Garden

I will tend to the houseplants and inspect for pests and need for re-potting. (Editor's Note: see how to repot houseplants here.)—Melissa Caughey

Start Planning

I will begin planning on how I will add/change and add to the garden come spring.—Melissa Caughey

Protect Plants

Between snows, I check and replace netting over Lenten roses and heuchera. If I leave them uncovered, deer and rabbits eat them to the ground.—Julie Martens/Frostburg, Maryland

Storing Garlic

A few garlic bulbs are sprouting. I peel unsprouted cloves and toss them with oil to prevent freezer burn and freeze. This year I’m also going to try freezing garlic cubes—1 part chopped garlic to 2 parts oil is the ratio the USDA recommends.—Julie Martens

Stock Feeders

I stock the birdfeeders regularly. The suet feeder especially sees heavy action at this point in winter.—Julie Martens

heated bird bath

Keeping the heated birdbath clean and full is also a key chore this month.—Julie Martens

Buy Hyacinths

I snap up small 4-inch pots of forced hyacinths when they’re on sale at the supermarket. I enjoy the fragrance in my home and move them outside once spring arrives. After the leaves die back in midsummer, I store the bulbs (still in their pots) for fall planting.—Julie Martens


During winter thaws, I wander through the yard gathering wind-thrown twigs and hauling the bigger branches to the forest. That makes spring clean-up go quicker.—Julie Martens

Transplant Bonsai

I tackle transplanting a dormant bonsai gingko—before next month’s lengthening days cause buds to break. This timing applies to any dormant deciduous bonsai. I prune roots heavily, removing about half, and add a fresh soil-compost mix to the pot when replanting.—Julie Martens

Insulate Roses

When shoveling snow, I toss salt-free shovels-full of snow around the roses to help insulate the plants.—Julie Martens

Repairing Fence

Now that my view of the fence and gate is unobscured by plants and flowers, I can see where repairs are needed. I will be nailing loose pickets into place and fixing the latch on the gate.—Felicia Feaster/Atlanta, Georgia

Painting the Porch

My front porch has shown some wear and tear so I plan to repaint the porch floor—a dark color to hide imperfections—and also the ceiling. It's the first thing—besides the picket fence—people see when they visit my home so I want it to look great.—Felicia Feaster

Work on Lighting Plan

Right now my outdoor lighting consists of security lights/floodlights and solar lighting, but I'd like to work on a more comprehensive plan that incorporates more lighting for security, but also lighting to highlight landscaping.—Felicia Feaster

Mailbox Shopping

A mishap with a car (Dad!) means my mailbox is now precariously balanced on its post. I will begin shopping for a new post and probably a new mailbox as well: thinking I might try something modern. Check out some of the fantastic mailbox options out there in this gallery.—Felicia Feaster

Planning Side Garden

After concentrating a lot of effort on my front yard garden last spring, it's time to give my side garden some love. I'll be thinking about ornamental grasses, a growing trend, and interesting specimens for part-shade. The Bed Head garden, a trend in 2015, is my inspiration. Read more about Bed Head Gardens here.—Felicia Feaster

Mailbox Plantings

I love the idea of adding flowers and plants around the mailbox to take advantage of one more planting opportunity, while hiding the uninspiring post. Image courtesy of HGTV user Jill Kinley.Felicia Feaster

Light Balls

Lights and luminaries in the garden shouldn't end with the holidays. Why not get through the dreary days of winter with some beautiful light balls to brighten things up? Find out how to make this DIY garden light decor here.—Felicia Feaster

Cut Back Grass

Cut back perennial ornamental grasses to about six inches above ground. Cut back liriope and mondo grass.—Danny Flanders/Atlanta, Georgia


Fertilize trees and shrubs very late in the month.—Danny Flanders

Plant Spring Vegetables

Begin planting sweet peas and spring vegetables unless you live in a cold climate.—Danny Flanders

Fertilize Lawn

Fertilize fescue lawns.—Danny Flanders


I'll be pruning shrub roses.—Danny Flanders

Shopping for Furniture

Since stores are making room for furniture to debut in the spring, I’ll be looking in February for outdoor furniture on sale as retailers try to clear out for new items.—Lori Johnston/Athens, Georgia

Put Manure to Good Use

Fresh chicken manure can burn plants, but tilling it into the garden now means the soil will be ready to take plants once spring arrives.—Mick Telkamp/Raleigh, North Carolina

Use a Cold Frame

Getting a head start on spring planting by germinating seeds in our cold frame. (Editor's note: Find out how to make a cold frame in this handy tutorial.)—Mick Telkamp

Plant Fruit Trees

No snow here, which makes this is a great time to get bare-root fruit trees in the ground.—Mick Telkamp

Winter Hellebores

My hellebores are beginning to bloom in spite of the frosts and freezes; I usually cut back the old foliage, especially the tattered bits, so the flowers – which typically hand downward – are easier to enjoy.— Felder Rushing/Jackson, Mississippi

Rake Moss

Decomposing fallen leaves feed moss over the winter, but I rake them in mid-winter to reveal a welcome emerald green carpet.—Felder Rushing

Winter Perennials

February is when snowdrops, hellebores, cyclamen, and dwarf Iris (reticulate) begin to bloom – helped with a small figurine to complete the scene. (Editor's note: Garden art and decor is a great way to add a sense of fun and interest to a winter garden.)—Felder Rushing

Protect Camellia

There are those that bloom in winter, including Camellia japonica. Time to spray undersides of leaves with dormant oil to reduce tea scale infestations for the rest of the year.—Felder Rushing

Tend Sempervivum

Hen and chicks sempervivum, along with sedums, are among the most cold-hardy succulents in my winter garden. I carefully remove any mushy stems and leaves to better enjoy the small textured plants.—Felder Rushing

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