February Garden Chores

Need to plant something? Anything? We’ve got hellebores and primroses to brighten your cold weather, grey sky days. Don’t grow them in your garden? Read about hellebores here and primroses here, then check out the store’s selection. Both are winter blooming perennials that start blooming now through March. You’re welcome.

Helleborus ‘Cotton Candy.’

Helleborus ‘Cotton Candy.’

If you’re not in planting fever yet, but looking for garden inspiration, follow B.B. Barns Garden Center (@bbbarns) and B.B. Barns Landscape (@bbbarnslandscape) on Instagram. A few other favorites are @clivenichols, @james_todman, and @clausdalby. Enjoy!

February Garden Chores

Spring is 45 days away. Planting isn’t high on the chore list, but prepping the garden for spring is. Let’s get started with a refresher in what garden zone means and carry on from there. Here are your February chores.

This is the plant zone hardiness map for the United States. The unique thing about this 2012 version is that is breaks areas of the country into micro-climates, taking into consideration elevation, wind, slope and bodies of water and how they affect area temperatures.

Plant zone Hardiness For your area

The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.

Asheville is Zone 7a. Western North Carolina, depending on elevation, can fluctuate from Zone 7a (downtown Asheville) to 5b (areas of Boone). The higher the elevation the lower the number. Using the interactive component of the map, enter your zip code to determine the zone of your garden.  

Flower Bulbs Never Got Planted? Do It Now.

Have a basket full of bulbs that didn’t get in the ground in the fall? Some are sprouting now? Plant them asap and there’s a chance the bulbs will bloom. But wait much longer, and they’ll dry up or rot depending on how they’re stored. Bulbs need a chilling period prior to blooming. The good news is most bulbs are pre-chilled by the distributors, but spring is coming and warmer temperatures will cause the bulb to sprout and without proper chilling hours the bulbs will produce shoots but no blooms. Most spring blooming bulbs do best if planted in early to late fall. Still, if you have leftover bulbs, plant now. You’ve got nothing to lose and possible blooms to enjoy. (This does not apply to summer bulbs such as gladiolas. Those are planted when temperatures are more consistent.)

Vegetable Gardens

Looking forward to seasonal vegetables? You reap what you sow!

First, download this pdf/brochure. It’s a chart listing what to plant when in WNC. It helps when planning for the vegetable garden. Next, prep your beds now. Begin by getting a soil test to determine what your soil needs nutritionally. Here's how to do that. We carry small soil sample kits, if you don't need the full analysis. Add amendments to your garden as suggested by the soil test. Amendments can be confusing, so ask staff to help determine which product your garden needs. We carry several that will improve soil quality. 

Start with these cool season veggies:

Adding amendments to your garden can be confusing. Which ones do you need? Be sure to test your soil before the season begins and ask staff to help you determine which product is best for your garden.

Adding amendments to your garden can be confusing. Which ones do you need? Be sure to test your soil before the season begins and ask staff to help you determine which product is best for your garden.

  • Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower plants can be started indoors now. Please read here about starting seeds inside.

  • Plant English peas, onions, Irish potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, kale, turnips, and carrots outdoors the last week of February.



  • You can fertilize trees, shrubs and emerging bulbs in February or March.

  • Cool season lawns can be fertilized so long as your zone is 7a. Higher elevation lawns wait until closer to, or during the month of, March.

Summer blooming perennial, Shasta daisy. You can transplant it when the leaves start to emerge.


Pruning is a Feb/March chore. For more information on how to prune, read here.

The store will host a pruning seminar on March 2nd. Information regarding the seminar will be published in our newsletter and calendar soon. Look for that here.

  • Prune fruiting trees, bushes and vines.

  • Prune dormant deciduous shade trees and evergreens.

  • Prune summer blooming shrubs such as 'Limelight' hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata), crape myrtles, butterfly bush and Rose of Sharon. Do not prune Hydrangea macrophyllas that blooms on old wood.

  • Wait until after blooming for all spring shrubs such as azaleas, and rhododendrons.

You will not kill a plant by pruning it—or you’d have to try very hard to do so—but it is possible to remove the blooms for this year, as many plants bloom on old wood (last season’s growth). Double check if it’s a blooming shrub or tree to make sure you’re pruning it at the right time.


Rule of thumb: Spring and early summer blooming perennials transplant in fall. Late summer and fall blooming flowers transplant in spring. Wait until you can see the green leaves emerging before transplanting and follow these instructions when doing so.  


Now is a great time for mulching if your landscape needs it, before perennials are poking up and making it difficult to mulch around. Tips on mulching.

Miscellaneous Chores

  • Cut back last year’s hellebore leaves and plant more now.

  • Add primroses to your garden (they bloom when the hellebores do).

  • Clean out blue bird boxes.

  • Wash out bird feeders.

  • Sharpen garden tools.

  • Do any needed repairs now. Fences, patios, rock walls—those projects that are forgotten the minute we can start planting.

  • Attend seminars to grow your gardening IQ. We offer them through-out the season, on a monthly basis. Check our calendar for updates on events.

  • If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cool kids next door, students, (you get the idea) we now have fun seminars for our them too. We’re calling it the Sprout Squad. Learn more about the Sprout Squad here, and sign your child up for the February 23rd event, Seed Bombs. Look for registration to open soon. We will advertise on-line and in our newsletter. Don’t get our newsletter? Sign up here.

Written by Cinthia Milner, garden coach, and blog writer.

BB Barns serves all of Western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, and Tennessee.