By now you should have completed your full winter cut down and clear up. If you haven’t done so yet then you better get your skates on. All bushes perennials and hardy plants should have been cut back by now. This includes Spanish favourites like Bougainvillea, Dam de Noche, Plumbago etc. Failure to cut back now will mean leggy plants during the summer that are likely to flop and produce inferior flower shows. If you are lucky enough to have Roses – and I am pleased to tell you we do – then make sure they are cut back by at least two thirds for mature Roses and one third for first year plants. This again will ensure a good show of flowers later in the year.
Another important job for February is to prepare your Citrus trees after you have harvested the fruit. This is a job that you must not leave too long as failure to act now will find you interfering with the new year flowers and buds and thereby reducing your crop next year. Harvest your fruit on a daily basis where possible this applies to Oranges in particular. When all the fruit is off the tree you have a very short window of opportunity before next year’s flowers and buds start to appear. For mature trees you need to do a general tidy up and trim each year, with a major prune every third year. Be much more gentle with young trees (under 3-4 years). Start by cutting any branches that are growing vertically; aiming to ensure that there are no crossing branches in the centre of the tree. Once you have removed all the clutter from the centre of the tree you should have a nice open centre to the tree that will let in lots of light and air. Lastly, trim round the whole of the outside of the tree using your hedge trimmer to give a neat tidy finish.
The last job I would recommend in February is planting out any hardy cuttings you took last year. If like us you have dogs, then I suggest you place cross canes over your delicate cuttings or they just get trampled (see photo above).