Gardening February 2021

From Mélie’s Garden

Camellias starting to bloom

As the days get gradually longer in February, I feel that the backbone of winter is beginning to be broken and that the gardening year is slowly starting. Plants inside perk up once they have ten hours of daylight. The camellias and citrus have buds opening and clivias should be watered again after three months of being dry. I also check to see what should be divided or repotted.

At this time examine your houseplants for bugs and if they are found, put the infected plant into the shower before spraying with insecticidal soap or in severer cases Pyola. If you see small scale on the plant under the leaves or along the stem, you need to be more aggressive. Take a Q-tip and dip it in a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol and remove the scale from the plant with the Q-tip.  Large plants can be fumigated with a plastic cleaning bag put over them. Tape the bottom of the bag to the rim of the pot and spray insecticide through the hole for the hanger. Tie it off and leave the plant for a number of hours and it should rid the plant of its unwanted pests. Pyola and Insecticidal Soap can be found on the Gardens Alive website.

Divided Steptacarpus

Some of the Streptacarpus plants were bursting out of their pots and needed dividing. I took a big kitchen knife and just ran it through the center of the plant and took the two halves and repotted them in pots with new soil. They now look quite happy and not in the least bit traumatized.

Once the plants are insect free, I give them a dose of fish emulsion plant food in their water. This provides a boost to start the growing year. After that first dose I feed them once or twice during the late spring and early summer depending on how they look.

Meyer lemon starting to bloom

Also this month, I bring in from the garden shed bulbs that I planted in pots last the fall. It takes about a month for growth to appear and produce blooms.  Seeds like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant and tomatoes are good to start in late February under grow lights. They will then be ready to harden off in the spring before being planted in the garden.

And finally, sharpen and oil your pruning tools because March is an excellent time to prune away damaged wood before the spring growth appears and you will be all ready when the weather is right.

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