Tender and half-hardy
Check that plants packed away in peat for the winter and those remaining leafless and dormant in their pots do not become completely dry.
Spray with tepid water any early growth on plants in the light to soften the wood. Do this sparingly as the inactive roots cannot cope with heavy watering.
Overwatering plants in green leaf
Ensure plants kept in green leaf get as much light as possible and are not becoming pale and leggy. Keep the greenhouse well ventilated even in cold weather, as condensation may encourage grey mould (botrytis).
Towards the end of the month, watch for the first ‘pink eyes’ (embryo shoots) appearing on the stems. This indicates that the earliest plants are ready for pruning.
Inspect plants in pots for vine weevil larvae. These white, crescent-shaped grubs lodge in the rootball and, if undetected, will eat away entire root systems. Gently knock each plant out of its pot and pick off any weevils by hand. Alternatively, dust the soil with a suitable pesticide or use a biological control.
In severe winter conditions ensure the crown and base get some extra protection with a layer of garden compost or fine gravel.