Jobs for February in the Cutting Garden

Don't be fooled. Spring isn't here quite yet, but it's close. Time to get ready, sow the first of the seeds and prepare for the season ahead. 


In the greenhouse

  • Clean the greenhouse glass to ensure that you are making the most of the increasing light levels as the days get longer. 

  • Harden off overwintered biennials like foxgloves and wallflowers if you haven't already. They should be ready to plant out in the garden now. Hold back for a few days if the ground is very wet or a very cold spell is forecast.

  • Keep potting on any smaller seedlings of any overwintered autumn sown hardy annuals like ammi, orlaya and daucus carota. Begin to harden off the larger ones to prepare them for planting to their final positions this month. Weather watch, wait for a particularly cold spell to pass or if the ground is very wet. 

  • Continue sowing slow-growing annuals like Iceland poppies, snapdragons, larkspur as well as sweet peas either in a greenhouse (ideally with a heated mat) or indoors under lights. It's a good time to start off long-season plants like Cobaea (and chilli pepper or sweet peppers if you're a veg gardener). 

  • Start off ranuculus and anemone by 'pre-sprouting' the corms in a seed tray of 50/50 compost/vermiculite in a propagator or on a heat mat (or put them in a plastic bag in the airing cupboard). Once the roots are an inch or so long, pot them on into 9cm pots or 15-cell trays in the greenhouse. 

  • If you are intending on taking cuttings from your dahlias this year to increase stock, it's time to wake them up. Put the tubers into 5L pots or a seed tray (depending on the size of the tuber).  It's much easier to take cuttings later if the top couple of inches of the tubers are above soil level, so don't submerge them completely. The pots will need to go on heat mat or propagator in the greenhouse. 

Weather & soil conditions permitting

  • Start to prepare beds for the season ahead by clearing the last of any annuals (if you haven't already) and pulling out any weeds. Perennial weeds are much easier to tackle now as the roots won't have had a chance to properly take hold yet. Once clear, mulch with a thick layer of homemade compost or manure.

  • Overwintered late summer sown biennials and autumn sown hardy annuals can be planting out into their final flowering positions. Acclimatise them well to conditions outdoors by 'hardening' them off properly to give them a fighting chance once they're out in the garden.


Bare-root plants

  • As long as the soil isn't frozen, it's a good time to plant bare root plants like roses. Give the roots a good soak in a bucket of water before planting. 


  • It's a good month to prune roses and apple and pear trees. It's worth taking a few hardwood cuttings of roses if you want to have a go at increasing your stock. If you grow Wisteria, now is the time to winter prune. 


  • Order the last of your seeds and finalise your planting plan for the season ahead. I find organising seed packets according to time of sowing as opposed to type of plant really helps.