University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
VALENTINE FLOWERS OTHER FEBRUARY
Charlie Nardozzi, Horticulturist
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension
potted bulbs, giving flowers on Valentine’s Day, and buying
some of the gardening activities for this month.
If you potted
some bulbs last fall for forcing, such as tulips or daffodils or
the calendar to see if they have received the recommended amount of
treatment (12 to 16 weeks). If so, move them into a 50-degree (F)
spot out of
direct sun until the flower shoots are about two inches tall, then
pots to a sunny 68-degree location. The warmer the temperature, the
flowering stems will be and the faster the bulbs will flower and
When we think of this month, the
holiday that often comes to mind is Valentine’s Day. Make this
holiday special for someone, or
several you care for, with flowers. You
can buy or send an elaborate floral arrangement, or merely a bouquet
single-stemmed roses. For color that
should last longer, consider a potted azalea, cyclamen, or
If you’re getting cabin fever, and
would like a trip to Florida but don’t have the budget or time for
one, bring a
little of the tropics to you. Visit a
local indoor plant retailer or greenhouse for some easy-to-grow
houseplants. Grape ivy (Cissus), Rex begonias with their
colorful leaves, and some of the
variegated philodendrons will tolerate low light and dry
conditions. The grape ivy and philodendron often are seen
in hanging baskets.
The peace lily (Spathiphyllum) likes lots of water, and will
wilt when dry, but
revives well when watered. It, too, tolerates low light as does the
evergreen (Aglaonema). The peace lily periodically has
crescent-shaped flowers on stalks above the leaves. The Chinese
evergreen, depending on selection, has various degrees and patterns
in the leaves.
February is too early to start most
transplants for your garden (except for the very small seeds such as
and perhaps some perennial flowers), but not too early to get
ready. Check to see if stored seeds are still
viable. Simply place a few between moist
paper towels, and watch to see how many germinate.
Indoor lighting makes seed starting
much easier. You can buy small or
decorative units, or simply hang shop lights in a warm basement or
room. “Daylight” or similar tubes should
suffice, hung on chains so they can be raised as plants grow. Look
into inexpensive heating mats to keep
seedling flats warm, available at complete garden stores and online.
needs for other seed starting supplies such as germination mix or
Be sure to make plans to attend the
biennial Vermont Flower Show, to be held March 1 to 3 at the
Champlain Expo in
Essex Junction. A full description of
the huge central display, listing of vendors, and schedule of talks
can be found online (greenworksvt.org).
Also consider entering the amateur floral design competition,
by the Federated Garden Clubs, with details also available online.
gardening activities for this month include keeping ice and snow
up on trees and shrubs by brushing it off after a heavy snowfall;
advantage of pre-season sales at garden stores; keeping bird feeders
daily and heated bird baths cleaned every few days; and pruning
forsythia, crabapples and apples, red maple, serviceberry, quince,
other spring flowering shrubs for forcing into bloom indoors.
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).