Skip to site navigation

Important notice: by continuing to use our site you are deemed to have accepted our privacy and cookie policy

February

Advertise here
Support the RHS

Support the RHS

Get gardening tips from our magazine.
Join the RHS
Buy as a Gift

RHS Plant Shop

RHS Plant Shop

The RHS Plant Shop stocks a range of quality plants available by mail order.

More on fruit and veg at the RHS Online Plant Shop

Spring is in sight

Time to prune wisteria

This month there are signs of the approaching spring, with bulbs appearing and birds and wildlife waking up as light levels and temperatures increase. There's plenty to do indoors this month, all in preparation for the season ahead. Outdoors, the garden is coming to life again, and its time to prune shrubs, such as Wisteria.

Top 10 jobs this month

  1. Prepare vegetable seed beds, and sow some vegetables under cover

  2. Chit potato tubers

  3. Protect blossom on apricots, nectarines and peaches

  4. Net fruit and vegetable crops to keep the birds off

  5. Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering

  6. Divide bulbs such as snowdrops, and plant those that need planting 'in the green'

  7. Prune Wisteria

  8. Prune hardy evergreen hedges and renovate overgrown deciduous hedges

  9. Prune conservatory climbers

  10. Cut back deciduous grasses left uncut over the winter

Monthly Advice

Things to do in the garden this month:

Advertise here

Weather

Rain

Be aware that freezing spells (this month or the preceding winter months) may have made ground water unavailable to plant roots.

Plants could be on the dry side, despite the winter weather. Warm water makes effective irrigation in freezing conditions, especially for pots and containers. But only do this where absolutely necessary (e.g. for autumn-planted evergreens that are struggling to establish).

Sunshine

Average sunshine levels across the UK for this month on a region-by-region basis are:

71 hours in southeast and south-central England,
66 hours in southwest England,
65 hours in Wales,
64 hours in East Anglia,
61 hours in the Midlands,
62 hours in Northern Ireland,
59 hours in northern England and southern Scotland,
51 hours in northern Scotland.

Light levels are on the rise again. In mild areas it is possible to start vegetable and flower seedlings off under cover, for planting out in March.

Bulbs are appearing, and wildlife is responding to the seasonal flux.

Houseplants still need to be kept in the sunniest position available - they can be moved later in the spring to their shadier summer positions.

Temperature

Although not as cold as January, there is still a risk of frost everywhere in February. Do make sure your winter protections for the garden, for the greenhouse and for tender plants, are still securely in place.

Don’t forget that wet and windy weather can worsen conditions for gardening, and make already low temperatures feel colder than they actually are.

February can still be a useful month (in mild areas) for starting seedlings under cover and preparing the ground for spring. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to sow and plant. Seeds started off later, when the soil is warmer, will catch up and overtake those sown too early.

Wind

Gales and gustiness are frequent in February. Plants can suffer from ‘wind rock’ at the roots, which affects their health and vigour the following spring. Stakes, ties, fleece wraps, cloches, supports and wayward branches all need regular checking.