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Long Island Horticultural Society

What's Going on in the Garden

February To Do List

Houseplant Care

Houseplants will be sensitive to overfeeding at this time of year. Provide lots of sunlight, fresh air, and frequent bathing for plants that seem a little worse for the winter. A good flush of water to wash out all the salts and minerals that accumilate, will do houseplants a world of good!

Spider mites are apt to thrive in warm, dry houses. Frequent misting under the leaves of houseplants will discourage them. A solution of 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup buttermilk, and a gallon of cool water, applied in a mist, is a good organic deterrent.

Re-invigorate your houseplants by removing the top 1/4 inch of soil and top-dressing with fresh potting soil.


Test the germination of last year’s surplus seeds before ordering new ones. Place ten seeds between damp paper towels. Keep them consistently damp and in a dark place. Check germination rates to determine how many seeds to use for your real planting.

Start plants that have super tiny seeds now, like snapdragons and coleus, they will take a long time to get to hardening off size. 

Start onions from seed now. They’ll be ready for setting out in April. Onions from seed are generally firmer and longer lasting than from sets.

Start parsley indoors now. You may think you have successfully wintered over the plant, but it is a biennial and will soon go to seed.

Shop early for seeds from catalogs and garden stores. The early shopper gets the best choice of seed varieties.

Direct sow outdoors seeds like Nigella, Poppy, and Larkspur so they get a few weeks of cold temps which will aid in their germination.

Getting Everything Ready for Spring:

Give your tools a good cleaning and sharpening.

Avoid the spring rush and take your lawn mower and any other mechanized tools you use in for service.

If you haven’t already, now is a great time to prune your fruit trees, berry bushes, and other woody ornamentals on your property. You want to complete this while still dormant and before spring growth begins.

On nice days, turn your compost pile. Or start one!

Avoid walking on the lawn during a winter thaw.

Give your Valentine a plant or a gift certificate for garden supplies.

Spread compost over beds that you will plant next month.

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