Depending on your location and climate, you may end up adding so many plants to prune to your to-do list that may already contain shrubs and flowers to plant in February. Gardeners in cold locations, with subsequent frosts, will likely find it best to wait until temperatures warm to go out and prune or plant.
To help you get organized and prepare your backyard for the months ahead, we take a look at seven popular plants that can be pruned in February to maintain their shape and give you a stunning flower display this year.
Tips for pruning in February
It is recommended to avoid any pruning if freezing temperatures are expected in the coming week. Extreme cold can reach pruning cuts and harm the health of any trees or shrubs.
Not only will the plant be grateful to not be pruned in such weather, but it also means it doesn’t have to worry about going out and getting numb fingers and toes in the snow and sleet.
When you head out to prune, always use clean, sharp garden tools to make clean cuts and avoid spreading diseases around the garden.
Jasmine is a popular climbing plant and there are a wide range of different types of jasmine that can be grown. It can grow quickly and rampantly, so it should be pruned.
The most important aspect of pruning a jasmine plant is knowing which pruning group your plant belongs to – there are three groups and they prune differently. Not checking the type and cut would be a major pruning mistake when it comes to clematis.
February is the ideal month to prune Group 2 and Group 3 jasmine plants – the species that flower in summer. When it comes to pruning, Group 2 species are lightly pruned in February to remove dead and diseased stems – excessive pruning can result in loss of flowering buds. Group 3 clematis are heavily pruned in February and can be cut back to 30 inches above the ground.
When growing roses, pruning is a crucial annual task to keep these shrubs healthy, maintain their perfect shape, and ensure that they provide you with a large number of beautiful blooms during the summer. All roses, wandering roses, are pruned during their dormant period.
Late winter is an ideal time to prune roses of all types, but your location will determine which months are best. If you live in hardiness zones 8 or 9 in the United States, February is a good time to prune roses, and if you live in cooler areas it is best to wait until at least March.
The ideal timing is after the last frost and before the rose begins to grow actively in early spring. Timing errors are a common mistake in rose pruning and may affect their display.
Wisteria is a gorgeous flowering climber and a stunning sight when in full bloom. It can be a great plant for climbing arches, pergolas or walls, and mature wisteria should be pruned twice a year to keep its growth under control and looking its best.
Pruning is done in the summer and also during its winter dormancy – February is the perfect time to get out the pruning shears and prune them.
Pruning wisteria in winter is a simple task to complete, simply work the entire plant reducing new growth to two or three buds. Also use this time to remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches or any growth going in unwanted directions.
4. Butterfly Bush
Butterfly bushes, also known as Buddleia, are another fast-growing shrub that can become unruly if not pruned regularly. Their distinctive flowers, which attract bees and other pollinators to their swarms, can also end up blooming high on the shrub if left unpruned.
So, to prevent tangles and ensure a display of flowers that you can enjoy, it is recommended to prune in late winter or early spring.
The exact time to prune a butterfly bush depends on your location. Those who live in warmer climates can prune in February just as the bush begins active growth.
If you live in colder climates and have longer winters with later frosts, hold off on pruning until the risk of a late cold snap has passed.
5. Crepe Myrtle
Crepe myrtles are fast-growing, deciduous flowering trees or shrubs beloved for their fall color and patterned bark. It is a heat-loving plant and is popular in U.S. Hardiness Zones 7-10.
Crape myrtle plants want to be pruned during their dormant period, from fall to early spring. However, late winter is the preferred time for pruning – February is the ideal time but the ideal time depends on your climate. Pruning should be done before the tree begins to grow actively again in late winter.
Pruning during dormancy is beneficial as you can get a good view of the bare stems while pruning, aiming to gently shape the tree and remove dead, damaged, diseased branches and any crossing branches.
Campsis is a vine native to the United States that features stunning flowers in shades of red, pink, orange and yellow, and can be one of the best plants for covering a wall.
Fast-growing vines add a tropical garden vibe to a space, but they can be aggressive spreaders so require pruning to keep them under control.
It is best to cut camps hard in late winter, with February or March being the ideal time. This pruning may seem drastic, but the vine will grow back quickly and means you’ll get flowers all over the plant and not just at the ends of the long, unruly stems.
Cut the shoots back to about 12 inches high—leaving three or four buds on each remaining shoot—and remove some of the older stems each winter to encourage new, young growth.
When growing hydrangea, it is another shrub that requires you to know which type to decide when to prune. Pruning at the wrong time is one of the mistakes that can lead to missing an entire year of flowers.
Popular hydrangea types such as Hydrangea paniculata And Hydrangea bushes It flowers on new growth, so pruning in late winter can shape the shrub before this year’s growth that will bear flowers in summer. Remove dead, diseased and damaged wood and then shape the hydrangea by thinning out congested and old stems.
Hydrangea macrophylla, known as mophead or lacecap hydrangea, flower on last year’s wood. It is recommended to prune it after it finishes blooming in mid-to-late summer. Make sure you know your hydrangea before you go out with the tools in February.
A pair of premium pruning shears with aluminum handles and hardened steel blades perfect for pruning backyard shrubs.
Can I cut back perennials in February?
Hardy perennials in flower beds, borders or container gardens can be cut back in February. Many people choose to let many perennials grow as part of a conservatory for the sake of structure and to benefit wildlife, and late winter or early spring is the ideal time to cut them back.
This can help tidy up the garden and prepare it for spring and rising temperatures. If you live in an area that still experiences severe frosts in February, it may be advisable to postpone cutting back perennials until temperatures warm.
Can you prune hedges in February?
Deciduous hedges, such as beech, hornbeam and hazel, can be pruned in February when they are dormant if they need a winter tidy-up. However, do not prune if snow or frost is forecast.
When pruning in February, you will likely need a range of tools, mainly pruning shears and also some shears for cutting the thicker stems.
Keeping tools sharp will always benefit your plants, and it can be as simple as getting a compact sharpening tool, like the Altuna Pocket Blade Sharpener available at Amazon, to give your pruning shears or shears a quick sharpening before cutting. Your plants will be happy because the cuts you make will be cleaner and easier to heal.