With February being the rainiest month of the year in southern California and the ground already saturated by January downpours, gardeners need to take into account the wet weather when planning their garden activities this month.
Prune Rose Bushes: After the chance of frost has past, February is the time to prune rose bushes. Pruning when there is still the possibility of frost can cause damage to any new growth. Clear stems from the center of the bush to bring in light and encourage air circulation. Make sure all dead steams and wayward branches are removed and remaining stems do not touch each other or cross over one another.
Take Care of Snails Naturally: Snails like a cool, moist soil so they thrive in southern California winters. Some natural ways to keep snails at bay: add plants to the garden that snails don’t like including sage, rosemary and mint; place a layer of mulch or crushed eggshells around plants (snails don’t like the rough surface); sprinkle used coffee grounds by the base of plants (also good for the soil).
Cut Back Perennials: The advantage of perennials is they grow year round, but that also means that plants can quickly become overgrown and unruly. Cut back perennials by trimming long stems so they are no more than 10 inches long. Perennials will grow back fuller and healthier in spring.
Continue to Plant Cool Weather Vegetables: Plant all types of lettuce as well as carrots, beets, peas, potatoes and radishes.
Plant A Quick Herb Garden: Plant seasonal herbs that thrive in cooler weather: arugula, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel and parsley.
Trim Low Growing Ornamental Grasses: Low growing ornamental grasses such as blue oatgrass, purple moorgrass, blue fescue and liriope, grow slowly during winter. Take the opportunity to cut back on these grasses so they are only five to six inches tall.
Don’t Over Fertilize Houseplants: Houseplants feel the effects of winter. Their growth slows so don’t overfeed them. Instead, make sure they receive plenty of sunlight and they are kept well watered. Wash leaves to remove dust and grime that may have accumulated.
Add Color To Your Landscape: Get a jump on spring by adding colorful plants already in bloom. Long lasting blooming plants to plant in late February include pansies, violas, primrose, snapdragons and calendulas.
Update Gardening Equipment: Now is a good time to clean and update your gardening equipment so it is ready for spring.