If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight,
If Candlemas Day be cloud and rain,
Then Winter will not come again
-Old English Proverb
February 2nd marks the official midpoint of winter, when many cultures look to folklore and tradition for signs of the coming spring.
Both Groundhog Day and Candlemas predict how long winter will last based on the weather on that day. If skies are clear, it’s taken as a sign that winter will remain for six more weeks while cloudy weather is believed to herald an early arrival of spring.
In mid-February, Zone 9 experiences the last frost of the season, and frost-free zones anticipate all the chores that mark the beginning of the growing season.
Throughout the month, watch forecasts closely to protect new plants from surprise late frosts – February is known for unpredictable weather and seasonal indecision.
February remains a winter month, with most plants either still dormant or just beginning to stir. Many of the chores from the January To-Do List can be continued along with the following items.
Trees and Shrubs
- Continue to protect tender trees and shrubs before a freeze.
- Prune roses as soon as the buds begin to swell.
- If your roses are winterized, leave them covered until all danger of hard frost has passed.
- Prune trees or shrubs that have been damaged by winter storms.
- Zones 7 and warmer can plant bare-root trees and shrubs, and zones 8 and higher can plant bare-root roses.
Perennials and Bulbs
- Check stored tender bulbs every two weeks, discarding any rotten ones. If they look withered, lightly mist the packing medium with water.
- Look for early bulb sprouts as a sign of spring!
- Prune Group B and C clematis vines, but don’t prune Group A since they bloom early on buds produced at the end of last season.
- Prune or mow ornamental grasses if desired.
- Zones 8 and warmer can start planting ornamental grasses while Zones 9 and higher can plant summer-flowering bulbs and perennials outdoors.