February is usually the rainiest month in Southern California. Even if the rains fall, there will still be enough sunny days to plant bulbs, bare root trees and winter flowers and vegetables.
Plant Summer Bulbs: Bulbs that have been kept in cool, dry locations are ready to be planted. These bulbs include tulips, crocus, gladiolus, calla lily, caladium, amaryllis, daffodils and delphiniums. Some of these flowers have short bloom periods so stagger your planting so you will get new flowers throughout summer. Some bulbs do not require the cool, dormant process. Check for these bulbs at nurseries. They can be planted immediately. They include Dutch iris, lily, gladiolus and begonia. Once planted, bulbs can withstand cold and even freezing temperatures.
Bare Root Planting Time: There is still time to plant dormant bare root, potted or bagged roses and fruit trees. Make sure the roots are robust. Too few roots may mean the tree will struggle after planting. If warm weather has broken its dormancy, remove new growth before planting. New shoots will appear once the tree's roots take hold.
Care For Deciduous Trees: Deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves) like cold temperatures during winter so they can produce flowers and fruit in spring and summer. These trees include hardwood such as poplars, birches, maples and oaks, and fruit trees including apricots, peaches, plums, apples, pears and cherries. If rain is not sufficient during February, make sure these trees are well watered. Water is needed now so they can begin to produce leaves and blossoms March.
Create A Colorful Winter Garden: Flower gardens can look sparse in winter. Plant already-blooming plants such as violas, snapdragons, calendulas and primroses for instant color. Pansies will flower through summer. If you don't mind waiting for flowers, plant from seed. Flower seeds that can be planted now for spring and summer-blooms include Bachelor buttons, California poppy, Baby delphiniums, larkspur and California wildflowers.
Get A Jump On Weeds: A small amount of rain is all it takes for weeds to roar back to life. Remove them by hand or with a hoe before they get too big and go to seed. Cover the area with two or three inches of mulch to keep new weeds from growing.
Plant Vegetables For Early Spring Harvest: A number of herbs plants are currently available at nurseries: chive, cilantro, dill, fennel, mint, parsley, oregano and thyme. Plant vegetables including beets, radishes, turnips, rutabaga, Swiss chard, peas and parsnip for harvest in late winter, early spring. In warmer inland areas, plant tomatoes at the end of February. You can expect to see fruit by Memorial Day.
Water Potted Plants: The winter sun can quickly dry out plants. Water outdoor potted plants so the soil remains moist. Indoor plants can also quickly dry out, especially if exposed to sunlight or warm air from heaters or fireplaces.
Labels: gardening tips, keeping weeds down, planing bulbs, planting winter vegetables, Southern California winter gardens, What to plant in February in Southern California, winter flowers