Plants for February
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This is the time to start introducing colour to make sure you're ready for Spring. As such, we've compiled a shortlist of some of our favourite plants to pick up in February to help with inspiration. If you're looking for something specific, then feel free to contact us on 01223 842777 as we have many more options available in our stores and will be happy to discuss these with you prior to your visit.
Mahonia – ‘Soft Caress’
1m x 1m
A relatively new introduction this Mahonia is a real star, the slender divided foliage is soft to the touch unlike other Mahonia and its growth habit is smaller reaching just over a metre in time. In winter it has vibrant yellow flower spikes which give off a delightful fragrance. The textural contrast of the evergreen foliage will provide interest in the garden all year round.
Maintenance: Remove the flower spikes once they begin to fade in late spring. Any wayward stems can be pruned out or shortened as well.
Position: A great plant for the back or middle of a dry shady border. When planting in shade which can often be quite dry, improving the soil with soil conditioner, sterile manure, homemade compost and/or leaf mould will help retain water and nutrients. Water well until established.
‘Anna’s Red’, ‘Sally’s Shell’, ‘Moonbeam’
These are just a few of the many varieties of Hellebore available to us now. New varieties have been bred to hold their heads up high so you can really appreciate the prolific and delicately beautiful flowers. Many also have attractive foliage which you can enjoy once the flowers are spent. Perfect for a shady spot in the garden and able to cope with dryer conditions once established.
Maintenance: To enjoy the flowers at their best it is good practice to remove all the old leaves before they start to flower, this would be in late autumn early winter, just as you begin to see the new flower and leaf buds emerging. Remove the flower stems once they have gone over to tidy up the plant and take it through the year.
Position: Perfect for shade. Soil improving and good watering will help them get off to a good start. In a sunnier spot they will always need more irrigation to cope.
2m x 1.5m
Walk into any garden centre in January and February and you will most likely be met by the beautiful scent of this hardy evergreen shrub. With small glossy leaves which hold all year round and scented flowers in winter. Happy in sun or shade, planted by the front door it will provide a scented welcome or farewell throughout the coldest months of the year. Its handsome, glossy, green leaves give it a presence in the garden all year round.
Maintenance: Prune to shape in spring once flowering is over. Remove any unwanted suckers from the base then too.
Position: Sarcococca are ideal for shade and they can cope with a sunnier spot if irrigated well. In shade they are virtually bomb proof, tolerating all soils and a degree of neglect.
Prunus incisa ‘Kojo–no - mai’
1.5 x 1m
Kojo-no-mai means Flight of the Butterflies which describes its blossom beautifully. It is a compact flowering Cherry with interest throughout the year, in late February/early March it is smothered in pretty white blossom, as these fall it is replaced by delicate green leaves which turn vibrant shades of orange and red in the autumn. Once the leaves have fallen, attractively twisted stems are revealed to take you through the winter.
Maintenance: These are slow growing compact plants but if you do need to prune to shape it must only be done in the summer when in full leaf. Cut back any wayward branches and go over the plant shortening the branches lightly to keep to shape. This is true for all the plants in the Prunus family including Apricots, Plum and Gage, all stone fruits essentially, Laurel is also in this family. If done in colder wetter months these plants are vulnerable to a fungal disease called silver leaf which can cause die back of branches and weaken the plant.
Position: This plant will tolerate the majority of soil types and prefers a sunny site away from strong winds which could strip its blossom.
Images courtesy of TheJoyofPlants.co.uk