Timely Tendings: Rose care, bulbs and spring vegetables preparations Timely Tendings:

Published Feb. 5, 2016

Rose pruning

Roses should be pruned once each year during January or February in our area. This major yearly pruning consists of removing some healthy growth and all of the dead, injured, diseased or unsightly branches.

Leave at least half the length of each main cane that is 1 to 3 years old. The rose bush should bloom again in eight to nine weeks. Pruning cuts should be made just above an outward-facing dormant bud.

Be sure to clean up clippings from around your plants after pruning to help prevent the spread of disease. Apply a layer of fresh mulch, keeping it 2 to 3 inches away from the base of the plant.

Houseplants and light

Houseplants must have light to live. It is important to find out about the light needs for your particular plant. In general, foliage plants require less light than flowering plants. Plants not receiving sufficient light may become tall and weak-looking with pale leaves which may then drop off. Flowers also may fail to form if it is a flowering plant.

Bulb planting

Bulbs make a nice addition to the landscape, and now is the time to plant them. Some you may want to try are agapanthus, amaryllis, caladium, crinum lily, gloriosa lily and zephyr lily.

Work in a generous amount (25 pounds per 100 square feet) of organic matter, such as compost, cow manure, sphagnum peat or other types of peat moss.

Bulbs planted in large masses produce the best color display. If you had amaryllis in bloom for the holidays, these bulbs can be planted outside and will live and bloom for many years.

More information on choosing, planting and caring for bulbs can be found at

Get ready for spring vegetable gardening

Now is the time to prepare your spring vegetable garden. Warm-season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, summer squash and beans can be planted in just a couple of weeks after the middle of February.

You will want to spade up your garden area and incorporate organic matter. Add about 25 pounds of some type of organic material per 100 square feet of garden. Cow manure (already composted), compost, peat moss or any combination of materials are great organic amendments.

Some nurseries have starter plants for tender crops now.

Vegetable Gardening in Florida by James Stephens is a great reference book for growing vegetables, and the UF/IFAS Extension publication, "Florida Gardening Guide," is available online at

Fertilize citrus trees; blossom-end rot issue

Fertilize citrus and other fruit trees if this was not done in January. Frequency and amount of fertilization depends on the age of the tree. Consult the following fact sheets for more information:

"Citrus Culture in the Home Landscape,"

Deciduous fruit tree information,

Blossom-end rot can be a serious problem in the vegetable garden. The bottom ends of tomatoes, peppers or squash turn soft and dark. It is important for the soil to contain adequate calcium and for irrigation to be consistent. Correct this deficiency by using lime in the garden or treating existing plants with calcium chloride. Also, be sure to water your garden regularly so the plants do not wilt during this dry time of the year.

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Compiled by Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to