Low Desert Arizona Garden in February
Keep reading for garden inspiration, a February garden checklist, and a list of which vegetables, herbs and flowers to plant in your Arizona garden in February.
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“The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within.” — William C. Bryant
Vegetables growing in the low desert Arizona garden in February
Planting as early as possible after danger of frost has passed gives the greatest chance for a successful season. Harvests from fall plantings are continuing throughout February even as you are planting your spring garden and making plans for your summer garden.
- When the cauliflower head is about 6 inches across and buds are tight and unopened, it is time to harvest. Cut off below head with a sharp knife.
- Unlike broccoli, cauliflower doesn’t usually produce side stems after main head is harvested, so remove remaining plant from bed. Cauliflower will store for several weeks in the refrigerator.
- Harvest cabbage when heads are about the size of a softball and firm. Give cabbages plenty of room to spread out. Keep plants evenly moist. Feed cabbages with compost tea or compost throughout the season.
- Warmer temperatures mean many brassicas will bolt and flower. Allow them to flower to attract pollinators, or remove to make room for spring planting.
- February in the Arizona garden is all about tomatoes. If we had a mild winter, tomatoes planted back in July are ripening and doing well this month.
- February is also the best time to plant tomatoes in your Arizona garden. If temperatures are unseasonably cold, wait a bit or cover new plants.
- Plant seedlings deeply and choose early-season varieties. I recommend Pearson and Early Girl.
- Look for varieties with 60-90 days to maturity from date of transplant. For more tips read my blog post, “10 Tips for Growing Tomatoes“.
- For best flavor, water celery well the day before picking. Use a knife to harvest a single stalk from the outside of the plant when it reaches the desired height. Harvest stalks continuously as needed.
Tips for growing flowers in the low desert Arizona garden in February
- Aphids and other pests may appear this month. They like the cooler temperatures and new growth that happens in February.
- Genista caterpillars often appear on Texas Mountain Laurel (pictured here) this month. The caterpillars form loose webbing on the foliage and feed on leaves. Normally there is not significant damage done to the plant, but if control is needed, Bt (or Bacillus thuringiensis), available on Amazon, can be used when caterpillars are small and are feeding on leaves.
Fruit trees in the low desert Arizona garden in February
- If deciduous fruit trees have been slow to lose leaves, remove leaves from tree to help usher in dormancy. Spray with a horticultural oil (I use this one from Amazon) this month. You can also read this post for more ideas to prevent pests organically.
- Prune deciduous fruit trees this month before bud break and blossoms appear if possible. Once blooming finishes, fertilize and water well.
- Many different varieties of citrus are ripening this month. Best way to test for sweetness? Pick one and try it! Water established citrus once every 2-3 weeks in February.
- February (after danger of frost is past) is the best month to plant citrus in your Arizona garden. Need help deciding which type to plant? This article gives descriptions and pictures for 30 different types of citrus.
- Questions about growing citrus? This article answers 10 questions about how to grow citrus and includes guidelines for selecting, planting, watering, and fertilizing citrus.
Herbs in the low desert Arizona garden in February
Cilantro is a cool-weather loving herb. It grows quickly and should be harvested often to keep it from going to seed. Once it does seed and flower, the seed is called coriander. Learn more about how to grow cilantro here.
Dill grows as an annual in our cool winters but will begin to bolt and flower as the weather warms. Harvest as needed. Dill is also a great trap crop for tomato hornworms and a host plant for caterpillars. Let it flower to attract pollinators.
Learn more about how to grow dill in this blogpost.
- Rosemary is blooming this month. Harvest as needed. Let it flower to attract pollinators. This article shares more information about how to grow rosemary.
Low Desert Arizona Garden February To-Do List
- Amend garden beds with compost.
- Begin spring planting. As long the forecast shows warming weather, plant tomatoes and peppers around the 15th of the month. (See list of other vegetables to plant below)
- Look at your garden and make a plan for your summer garden. Research different varieties to see which do well in Arizona. A good rule of thumb is to look for short-season crops. Be sure to rotate where you plant each year.
- If you didn’t do it in January, start slips for planting sweet potatoes.
- February is a good time to propagate succulents.
- Plant spring flowering annuals this month. (See list below)
- Plant trees, bushes, and perennials, and be sure to protect new plants from freezing temperatures.
- Bare-root roses are in-stock at local nurseries – it’s a great time to plant roses.
- Plant bare-root fruit trees and berries this month. Look for trees that have low chill hours (less than 400), mature early, and self-pollinate. For more information about choosing fruit trees, see my Fruit Planting Guide.
- Wait until mid-to-late February to plant frost-sensitive plants such as lantana and hibiscus.
- Plant grapes and blackberries this month or next.
- If we get a heavy rain, trees and shrubs may not need supplemental watering. If not, water shrubs and trees no more than once every 14-28 days. Wateruseitwisely.com is a helpful resource for landscape watering guidelines.
- As temperatures begin to climb into the 80’s, water annuals more often.
- Check containers with a moisture meter or make sure top inch or so of soil has dried out before watering.
- Water established citrus trees once every 2-3 weeks.
- Water established fruit trees once every 10-14 days.
- Prune frost-tender plants such as hibiscus and lantana late in the month. When pruning frost damaged plants, wait and prune after new growth begins.
- If you didn’t prune roses in January, prune established roses this month. Clean up all fallen leaves and debris from around roses to discourage disease and insects.
- Prune dead branches out of trees and shrubs at the end of the month.
- Pruning citrus isn’t necessary but after danger of frost is past is the time for shaping citrus trees a little (if you want to). Try to let the citrus foliage grow to about knee high. Fruit production is best on the lower two thirds of the tree so it’s best not to “skirt” citrus trees. Lower branches also protect the trunk from sun damage. Clean out dead wood. Remove any suckers growing from below the graft.
- If you didn’t prune deciduous fruit trees in January, prune them this month. Prune dead, diseased, broken and crossing branches and water sprouts (branches shooting straight up from limbs of trees). Consider treating fruit trees with neem oil before bud break as well.
- Fertilize deciduous fruit trees this month if you didn’t do it in January.
- Fertilize citrus this month. Water well before and after feeding.
- Add compost to fill existing garden beds.
Protect from freezing temperatures (below 32°F.):
- Have burlap or frost cloth on hand to protect newly-planted citrus, small lemon and lime trees, and other frost-sensitive plants from frost. Our last frost date is normally February 14th, but keep an eye on the weather just in case.
- Be aware that container plantings are more susceptible to freezing temperatures than those in the ground.
- Read this article or watch this video for more information on protecting plants during freezing temperatures.
- As the weather heats up, lettuce and other cool-season crops will bolt and flower. Remove them by cutting off at the roots and add to compost or allow to flower to attract pollinators.
- As winter vegetables come to the end of their life cycle, keep an eye out for garden pests, such aphids.
- If you overwintered tomatoes and peppers, as new growth begins to appear, trim plant back and fertilize to encourage growth. If plants do not appear to be coming back as temperatures warm, replace with new plants in a different area of the garden.
What to plant in the low desert Arizona garden in February:
- Prepare beds for spring planting – Add compost and other organic matter to the soil.
- It’s important to have your soil tested at least once a year. A soil test can determine the health of your soil.
- Add a balanced fertilizer if needed.
Herbs to plant in the low desert garden in February
- Anise, *Basil, Bay, Caraway, Catnip, Chamomile, Chives, Epazote, Fennell, French Tarragon, Garlic Chives, Germander, Ginger, Horehound, Hyssop, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass, Lemon Verbena, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Rue, Safflower, Sage, Winter Savory, Summer Savory, Thyme, Turmeric, Yarrow
- Plant from seed: Anise, Fennel, Hyssop, Safflower
- Plant from seed or transplant: *Basil, Catnip, Chamomile, Chives, Espazote, Horehound, Parsley, Rue, Winter Savory, Summer Savory, Yarrow
- Plant from transplant: Bay, French Tarragon, Garlic Chives, Germander, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass, Lemon Verbena, Marjoram, Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme
- Plant from rhizomes: Ginger, Turmeric
* = Plant after February 15th
Arizona Herb Planting Guide helps you learn when to plant over 30 different herbs in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.
Vegetables and Fruit to plant in the low desert garden in February
- *Armenian Cucumbers, Artichokes (Jerusalem and Globe), Asparagus, Beets, Blackberries, *Cantaloupe, Carrots, Collard Greens, *Corn, *Cucumbers, Lettuce, Mustard, *Grapes, *Ground Cherry, Green Onions, Onions, Peas, *Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach, *Summer Squash, *Tomatillos, *Tomatoes, Turnips, *Watermelon
- Plant from seed: *Armenian Cucumbers, Bok Choy, *Cantaloupe, Carrots, Collard Greens, *Corn, *Cucumbers, Mustard, Green Onions, Peas, Radishes, Spinach, *Summer Squash, Turnips, *Watermelon
- Plant from seed or transplant: Beets
- Plant from transplant: Artichokes, Asparagus, Blackberries, *Grapes, *Ground Cherry, Lettuce, Onions, *Peppers, Swiss Chard, *Tomatillos, *Tomatoes
- Plant from potatoes: Potatoes
- * = Plant after February 15th
- If it is unseasonably warm, it may be too late to plant beets, bok choy, lettuce, peas, and spinach.
Arizona Vegetable Planting Guide helps you learn when to plant vegetables in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.
With 50 vegetables listed that grow well in the low desert of Arizona you are sure to find one to try.
Flowers to plant in the low desert garden in February
- Alyssum, *Angelonia, Bee Balm, Butterfly Weed, *Desert Marigold, Desert Milkweed, English Daisy, Gaillardia, Gazania, Geranium, Gloriosa Daisy, Hollyhock, Marigold, Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia), Periwinkle (Vinca), Petunia, Primrose, Purslane, Ranunculus, Rudbeckia, Safflower, Spilanthes, Strawflower, Sunflower, Sweet Peas, Verbena, Wild Hyssop, Yarrow
- * = Plant after February 15th
- Flowers on this list that do well started from seed are Alyssum, Bee Balm, Butterfly Weed, Desert Marigold, Hollyhock, Marigold, Mexican Sunflower, Rudbeckia, Spilanthes, Straw Flower, Sunflower, and Sweet Peas.
Arizona annual flowers planting guide helps you learn when to plant flowers in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.
Would you like the low-desert outdoor planting dates for vegetables, herbs, and flowers in a convenient calendar?
*PLANTING GUIDE: Each month has a planting guide (letter boards) for the vegetables, herbs, and flowers to plant outside in the low desert of Arizona.
*HARVEST GUIDE: Harvest guides are the harvest photos of what it is possible to harvest each month.
Want more information about gardening in Arizona? This blog post shares 7 tips for how to grow a vegetable garden in Arizona.