Updated/Fact-Chacked on March 12, 2022 by John
If you are like me, you are probably bored to death of winter and can’t wait for spring to start. At least we have that long, depressing January out of the way, which felt like 6 weeks!
Now is a good time to plan; I have just taken over the kitchen table and drawn out my borders with what I want to plant and grow this year. I need to up my colour combination game, not an easy task when you are colourblind.
Here are a few flowering plants you can plant in February either as bulbs or seeds.
Bulbs to Plant in February
February is the time to plant hardy perennials. Hardy geraniums (cranesbills) and anemones bulbs can both be planted in February; you won’t see anything for a couple of weeks until things get a bit warmer – it will depend on whether we get a cold snap, currently in the North East, we are in double figures.
Lily bulbs can also be planted now and anytime up to spring. You can also start your lily bulbs off in pots so you can control the soil conditions a little better, they love well-drained, rich soil like John Innes No 3 compost.
I’ve just bought some agapanthus and red hot pokers (Kniphofia) from Tescos (with a Clubcard discount), both of which state on the box to plant out now. These kniphofias look amazing and I can’t wait to see them in bloom – unfortunately, they may not flower this season.
Dahlia tubers can be brought out from overwintering and started off somewhere warm before planting out. They cannot be allowed to fall below 10 degrees though.
Seeds to Sow in February
If you are looking to grow seeds, investing in a heated propagator can really help the process. You can buy them for as little as £23 on Amazon. They are complete tray units that your leave plugged in 24/7 to keep the soil warm enough for seeds to germinate. Once seeds have started to germinate, they can be moved out into a cold frame or greenhouse.
Sweet peas – Sweet pea seeds need to sown in cool, dark locations, so you can get away with not using a heated propagator. Check if the seeds are annuals or perennials as there are many varieties. Our in-depth guide to sweet peas will help.
Cosmos – Cosmos seeds are best grown indoors on a sunny window sill. I’ve just purchased a chocolate cosmos (cosmo astrosanguineus) which is said to actually smell of chocolate, but this is in bulb form.
Salvias – Salvia seeds can be planted indoors in a sunny location.
Begonias – Begonia seeds can be started off in a heated propagator. Begonias are on my list of long-flowering plants to grow in the UK. Begonia tubers can also be planted in a frost-free area.
Any Autumn sown seeds can also be relocated into bigger pots.
Potted Bulbs for February
If you want to add splashes of colour to your borders now, potted bulbs are the answer. You can currently buy Hyacinth and Narcissus in pots in many supermarkets – my local Sainbury’s has started selling them along with a great range of seeds by the checkout counter – more dangerous than chocolate for adding extra bits to your shopping basket.
Potted bulbs available now have been forced into life by growers who have mimicked spring in greenhouses or polytunnels. The plants basically think it’s March or April and allow people to have some spring colour now.
These hyacinths can be planted in borders or pots outside now to add some colour or kept indoors. I have some on a window sill looking out to my borders where I have some more planted.
February Colour for Borders
Along with hyacinths, you can also plant out a few primroses (primula) which you can find flowering in many garden centres – again these have probably been forced as they tend to flower slightly later.
I’ve just added 5 primroses under my bare looking hydrangeas, all of which are different colours. Primroses like a bit of shade so will thrive under a bush or away from direct sunlight, they also like wet conditions.
Primroses also work well in rock gardens or simply add to borders and pair with narcissi (daffodils) for winter colour.
John Green is a 46-year-old graphic designer living in Durham. John is RHS level 3 certified and owns an allotment in Durham.