The rose garden in February

I always think of February as the month when things slowly start to happen in the garden. Bulbs will be pushing their way upwards, birds start to sing and the days are getting noticeably longer.

However, we are still very much in the middle of winter, and there is still the opportunity for freezing weather and lots of snow.

If the weather is bad then there is not a lot that can or needs to be done – sometimes less is more when it comes to timing.

Plants grown in pots can be susceptible to frost damage, not on the stems and shoots, but compost that freezes in the pots can cause root death and plant loss, so moving plants into an unheated space – such as a garage or similar if we experience a period of cold weather is advisable.

Plants grown in the soil will not be at risk from this as the roots will be safe in the soil well below the depth to which frost can penetrate.

If the weather is kind and the long term weather forecast favourable then it’s probably the month to consider winter pruning and applying fertilizer.


At this time of year we are looking at structural pruning, by this we mean removing any thin/weak, overcrowded or damaged shoots, cutting the stem cleanly off the plant back to the point at which any such stem join the main branch. Secondly reducing the size of the plant to keep it to the size that is wanted – reducing the length of the shoots by cutting the stem from the plant to an outward facing bud. Guidance on this can be found under “Pruning Roses” in the Rose Care tab at the top of the website homepage.

Feeding (fertilizers)

Feeding at this time of year only relates to established plants grown in the open ground using dry granular rose fertilizer – not plants grown in containers.

Please refer to our article “Feeding roses after planting”, also in the Rose Care tab at the top of the website homepage.

There’s no need to rush here as keep an eye on the weather as good timing is the key to success.

In February, the garden signals the start of spring with emerging bulbs and the chirping of birds, yet the lingering winter reminds us to remain cautious, especially with vulnerable plants. Whether bracing for freezing temperatures or planning for pruning and fertilizing, timing is crucial for nurturing a thriving garden.

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