Teresa’s What to Do in Your Garden Reminders February 2024

Teresa’s What to Do in Your Garden Reminders February 2024

Average temperature
High 74      
Low 51                             
Rainfall 2.35 inches
Central Florida’s average last frost date; February 15.


What to plant

Vegetables: Plant through mid-month; beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collards, endive, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, peas, potatoes, radishes, Swiss chard and turnips. After mid-month plant; beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, luffa, peppers, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes and watermelon.

Flowers: Alyssum, aster, baby's breath, bacopa, begonia, candytuft, carnation, calendula, coneflower, coreopsis, cosmos, dahlia, delphinium, dianthus, diascia, dichondra, dusty miller, false heather, four o'clock, gaillardia, gaura, gazania, geranium, gerbera, Johnny-jump-up, lobelia, million bells, nasturtium, pansy, petunia, rose, salvia, snapdragon, Stokes aster, sweet pea, and yarrow.

Herbs: anise, basil, borage, chives, dill, fennel, lemon balm, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram, tarragon, and thyme.

Bulbs: African iris, amaryllis, Amazon lily, Asiatic lily, blackberry lily, blood lily, bulbine, caladium, canna, crinum, day lily, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, Louisiana iris, society garlic, spider lily, rain lily.

Lawn care

  • Zoysia and bahia lawns turned brown due to cold; no special care is needed at this time.
  • Mow zoysia lawn to recommended height of two inches and remove thick thatch.
  • Those brown spots in lawns are likely weeds; remove and resod when grass is available.
  • One way to control weeds is with regular mowing to reduce them to the height of the lawn.
  • Cool season weeds can also be spot treated with herbicides as labeled for your lawn type.
  • When previous brown patch disease has been noted, apply a fungicide for lawns in February.
  • Crabgrass preventers can be applied mid-month to stop weedy grasses from germinating.
  • Do not use crabgrass preventers if you plan to resod, seed or need runner growth.
  • Seeding of ryegrass for a temporary lawn is over; most permanent lawns should recover soon.
  • Tan to brown cold damaged blades can be left or raked from lawns as growth begins.
  • Delay feedings of centipede and zoysia lawns until they regreen for spring in April.
  • Inspect irrigation systems; check for clogged or broken sprinkler heads and adjust as needed.
  • Sod or plug new lawns; begin seeding after mid-month.
  • Turf is hard to establish in shady sites; consider another ground cover.
  • Take time to have a soil acidity test made and readjust the soil pH if needed.
  • Aeration can help older and overfertilized lawns with compacted soils, nematodes or hard to wet soils.
  • Service lawn care equipment before spring arrives.

Vegetable & fruit gardening

  • Frosts and freezes have ended many warm season crops; remove declining plants.
  • Prepare gardens by tilling in organic matter with sandy and previously planted sites. 
  • Hurry to plant the last of the cool season vegetables in early February.
  • Start seeds of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants immediately to have transplants by March.
  • Prune cold damage from tropical tree and shrub type fruiting plants as needed.
  • Bananas and papayas may have been frozen and need heavy pruning or replanting
  • Pineapples may yellow their leaves and need major pruning but the plants should survive.
  • Prune all deciduous fruit trees and vines as soon as possible.
  • Learn how to thin peach & nectarine trees to obtain the best production.
  • Plant container gardens to enjoy vegetables and herbs on porches and patios.
  • Fertilize, groom and harvest herbs to keep them producing, dry and store extras.
  • Warm season vegetables planted in late February are likely to need cold protection.
  • Support vining crops by tying the vines to a stake or trellis.
  • Plant additional fruiting trees, shrubs and vines.
  • Purchase new seeds for the garden early to obtain the best selections
  • Check with your University of Florida Extension office for new and better fruit varieties.
  • Pine bark fines can be used to help adjust the soil acidity for blueberry plantings.
  • Feed all fruit producing trees, shrubs and vines in late February.
  • Use fallen leaves to form pathways, add a mulch to gardens or make compost.
  • Sharpen, shovels, hoes and pruners to have them ready for spring planting and plant care.

In the landscape

  • Take an inventory of cold damaged plants that may need to be replaced.
  • Prune cold damage plants when you cannot stand seeing the brown leaves and branches.
  • Plants may continue to decline due to cold so keep the pruners handy
  • Perennials may be dead to the ground but should begin growth with warmer weather.
  • Prune all but late winter and spring blooming trees and shrubs as needed.
  • Reshape overgrown and out of bounds plantings including hedges.
  • Only remove seed heads, small stems and suckers from crape myrtles.
  • Prune ornamental grasses to within a foot or two of the ground before growth begins.
  • Remove declining fronds and fruiting stalks from palms; leave the good green foliage.
  • Give all but climbing roses a first of the year pruning around mid month.
  • Trim climbing roses after spring blooms to only remove dead or out of bounds shoots.
  • Look for Florida bulbs to plant at garden centers to obtain the best selection. 
  • Move poinsettias to the landscape on warm days and apply a slow release fertilizer.
  • Begin landscape tree, shrub and flower feedings if needed for growth and foliage color.
  • Feed container cool season gardens every other week or use a slow release fertilizer.
  • Start seeds of warm season annuals and long-lasting perennials.
  • Add a majority of hardy drought tolerant plants to the landscape.
  • Maintain a mulch around trees starting a foot from the trunks; six inches from shrubs.
  • Prepare new flower beds; add organic matter to sandy soil.
  • Replant declining container gardens.
  • Plant bare root and container grown trees, shrubs and vines.
  • Begin every other week feedings of orchids by month’s end or apply a slow release fertilizer.
  • Start compost piles from leaves and yard debris plus thin layers of soil and a little fertilizer.
  • Divide and transplant perennials.
  • Clean lily ponds to prepare for spring growth.


Foliage and house plant care

  • Many outdoor foliage plants show signs of decline: remove affected portions as needed.
  • Replace severely cold damaged foliage plants when the weather warms.
  • Check previous indoor plant additions for mites and insects.
  • Most holiday plants can be grown outdoors when the weather warms.
  • Give Christmas and holiday cactus a bright spot in the home; water when they start to dry.
  • Remove faded flowers and stalks from forced amaryllis bulbs; add the bulbs to the garden.
  • When indoor orchid flowers fade move the plants outside to a warm shady site.
  • Groom indoor foliage to remove old leaves, faded flowers and declining portions.
  • Trim indoor topiaries and tree like plants to control size and shape.
  • Feed all container plantings.
gardener pruning trees with pruning shears on nature background.

Photo: kirisa99 / iStock / Getty Images

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